Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios
Director: John Lasseter
Writers: Pete Docter, Joss Wedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, Jon Morris,
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Twenty years later, Toy Story still remains a Disney animation classic. From children to adults, this films remains in the hearts of countless people and will for the years to come.
In the Disney/Pixar classic, imaginations soar as the toys of Andy come to life in their own little community under the leadership of Woody, a Sheriff Cowboy Doll. On Andy’s birthday a new toy is added to the family: Buzz Lightyear, a highly popular intergalactic spaceman. As he becomes very well-liked by the toy community, Andy also begins to play with him more than Woody.
Consumed by jealousy, Woody begins to plot a way to get rid of Buzz, but during his master plan, he causes both of them to be left behind by Andy at a gas station far from their house. To return home, they must brave a kid’s play park, a toy-mangling dog, and a sadistic neighborhood child all before Andy moves away. Only if they can work together can they reunite with their dream owner before they lose him forever.
Violence/Scary Images: Woody and Buzz fight physically a few times. Sid, a sadistic neighborhood kid, likes to violently destroy, take apart, and basically torture toys by explosives or other means. This can be a bit frightening to some young children as his room is dark with Heavy Metal posters and skulls. He also intends to blow-up Buzz and he burns Woody’s head with a magnifying glass.
Language/Crude Humor: No language in particular, but there are small moments of crude humor in the first half.
Sexual Content: None.
Drug/Alcohol References: None.
Spiritual Content: None.
Negative Content: Certain moments of jealousy to the point of backstabbing.
Positive Content: For children especially, the portrayal of friendship, trust, and understanding strongly come into play.
Let us be reminded of the importance of Toy Story not just as a classic, but in its execution of animation. This was the first full-length animated film to be completed with computer graphics rather than traditional animation. Not only was this the first, but it also set the tone for Pixar and for the entire field of animation in the years to follow. While you can tell the difference between the Toy Story sequels in regards to quality, the original still holds up to this day.
Aside from the successful and memorable animation, the plot and characters themselves are what make this film worth passing down in movie history. It has a classic feel of what it means to bond together during a time of great difficulty, even with people one would not be fond of. It gives children a great understanding on the importance of friendship, trust, and even admitting to wrongful acts and facing the consequences.
Not only does it contain valuable lessons, but also contains many fun and witty scenes of dialogue and adventure. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, the voices of Woody and Buzz, play so well off of each other’s dialogue that it is impossible to think any other voice actors who could pull off the connection they had between their characters. This is not just of the lead cast, but also of the supporting cast as well, a.k.a. other Andy’s toys. Everyone connected well, whether the scenes were funny or serious.
With every Disney/Pixar film, there are moments where audience members get “the feels” as characters face hardships when the mood of the film changes due to character development. We feel this for Woody when he realizes that Buzz is cooler than him as a toy and we see this when Buzz comes to the realization that he not a space ranger, but just a toy. Disney/Pixar never fail to disappoint when it comes to making audience members feel sympathy for their characters and even cry over them.
Unless I were to pointlessly nitpick this film to the bone about every small detail, it is hard to find any flaw within Toy Story. This is not to say that the film is 100% pure, but it does set the bar very high on how well an animation film should be if it were to be positively recognized and remembered among critics and general audiences.
As Toy Story reaches its twentieth anniversary, it is a good reminder for us of just how powerful and memorable the film was for those who grew up in the early and mid 90’s and how the greatly are the imaginations of the Disney and Pixar writers and creators. This upcoming Thanksgiving break, enjoy a good time rewatching an enjoyable classic with your family, friends, and children.
Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.
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