Pixar’s Flagship – Toy Story (1995)

Turned the animation industry on its head.  So like many kids in suburbia, Andy has a lot of toys.  Unbeknownst to him, they actually come to life when he is not around and go on adventures of their own.  His cowboy named Woody (Tom Hanks) is very comfortable being Andy’s favorite toy, but his world is in for a shake up when Andy gets a cool new astronaut toy, a Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), as a birthday gift.  What can I say about this movie that hasn’t been said before?  It was the very first movie from Pixar and it showed everything that they are capable of, being the very first feature length computer animated film.  Animation has come leaps and bounds over the last two decades, and there are a couple of renderings that are a little rough around the edges, given the technological limitations of 1995, but the movie itself still holds up in the best way possible.

1Who could have guessed that these toys had so many rich stories to tell?

The reason why that this movie (and this series, for that matter) has such strong legs to stand on is because the writing is so good.  Many people probably forget that Joss Whedon has a writing credit on this for the screenplay, and even though it is toys that we are talking about, it is a very human story.  How could you not relate to a tale that is about being forced out as a favorite, or a fish out of water, trying to figure out how he fits in?  Sure, there are motivations present that are selfish, but that’s what makes it so identifiable, and that really helps to bolster the character arcs when you get to that third act.

1We all knew a kid like Sid growing up.

Hanks and Allen are perfect voices for their respective roles, and there are many creative stunts that they pull off in this world filled with toys.  It is nice and short, and when you subtract end credits, this only takes you about 75 minutes to watch.  The original score done by Randy Newman is iconic, and I don’t think there is a person out there who won’t start humming along if “You Got a Friend in Me” comes on.  It sets the groundwork for later movies, even though it may not have realized it at the time, and Toy Story is a classic for the ages.

Toy Story (1995) *****

– Critic for Hire


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