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Toy Story

Toy Story

What She said:

She

Remember playing with toys?  I don’t mean video games, I mean good old fashioned use your imagination toys—Barbies, fire engines, stuffed animals.  As a kid, toys were as important to me as my own health.  I would bathe them, take them with me places, and have full-on conversations with them.  In many ways, they were my best friends.  Ok, so maybe I wasn’t the most socialized kid, but anyway, I know I was normal because the movie Toy Story tells me I am.  Young Andy’s preoccupation with his toys equals mine at that age, and boy does it stir up some feelings of nostalgia.

Most of you are familiar with Toy Story (1995), released in the early days of Pixar, and really the movie that propelled the animation studio into the spotlight.  The film follows Woody, a cowboy toy who acts as sort of the leader of Andy’s toys.  He’s clearly the most popular toy, and he sort of has this sense of entitlement because of it.  He begins to have a meltdown when Andy gets a new toy, Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger action figure that talks, lights up, and has retractable wings.  Buzz is way cooler than Woody by 1990s kid standards, and so Woody gets very jealous.  Fast-forward to Woody and Buzz becoming separated from the rest of the family, and having to lean on each other to find their way home.  There’s some lessons learned about jealousy and friendship.

Toy Story was sort of revolutionary for animation.  It’s the standard computer generated fare that we’ve all come to get used to these days, but back when it came out, CG graphics was still a fairly new concept.  Tom Hanks voices Woody, and Tim Allen is the voice of Buzz.  There are several other notables voicing the other toys that appear throughout the film.  The story is straightforward, interesting, and meaningful, and the dialogue is filled with fresh humor.  It’s not that stale stuff that we often see—goofy characters making fart noises—the comedy in Toy Story is much smarter than that.  Some is actual social commentary, and much has to do with the histories of the toys themselves.  I forgot how short this movie actually is.  It’s less than an hour and a half, which is actually great for kids.  Why string it out into something that they’re going to get bored of?  Once the plot is wrapped up, the movie-makers ended it, just as they should have.

If you watch the newest Toy Story movie, you’ll notice some of the advances that have been made in this type of animation.  It’s clearer and more detailed now.  But that doesn’t mean that you’ll find the original movie offensive to look at.  Most will probably not even notice the subtle differences.  Toy Story is fun and full of heart.  It’s a movie that’ll probably never get old.

Thumbs up.

What he said:

He

17 years ago Pixar and Disney teamed up and made their first animated movie together. Pixar was once an animation/effects company, but ventured into making their own movies in 1995 when they produced their first feature film. That film was Tory Story and it was the start of something big. Not only did it spawn two more sequels, but Pixar made nine more movies; most of which won or were nominated for numerous awards. The two companies have had some issues over the years, but they simply know how to make a good movie.

Toy Story is the tale of a boy named Andy and his toys. There is a wonderful little opening that reminds you of what it was like to be that age and have that kind of imagination. I actually remember doing similar types of things he did in that scene. Carrying my toys everywhere and just really relishing in the enjoyment they bring you – the movie really nails that part of your childhood.

The only difference here is that when Andy’s not around, his toys come to life. Literally, they walk and talk and have feelings just like we do. Just as a child lives for his/her toys, the toys live to please their owner. All they want is to be enjoyed and loved.

Leading the way is Woody the cowboy (voiced by Tom Hanks). He is Andy’s #1 toy and official leader of the bunch. He makes sure all the toys stay in good condition, nobody gets lost, and that Andy stays happy.

Along for the ride are Rex (a Tyrannosaurus Rex), Hamm (a piggy bank), a Mr. Potato Head, Slink (a dog with a slinky for a body), Bo Peep, a bucket of army men, and many-many more. Each of the toys has their own unique personality and purpose. There is a certain harmony to the whole situation. That is until Andy’s birthday party when he gets a new crop of toys. Most of the new toys seem to be no threat to replace one of Andy’s staples, however all of that goes out the window when he gets a brand new Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen). Buzz is a space ranger with all kinds of gadgets, lights, and noises. Not only is Andy completely taken by him, so are all the rest of the toys. Naturally this causes Woody to become very hurt and jealous.

That’s not the worst of it though. Things get more complicated when these two find themselves lost. There are few things worse for a toy than being lost. The two have to work together to find their way back to Andy and company. Oh yeah and along the way they run into psycho neighbor Sid, who just happens to love tinkering with and otherwise torturing toys. Remember this kind of kid growing up? Always taking something apart that they shouldn’t be or setting some small fire?

Toy Story works for a few reasons. First, it’s really funny. The whole concept just kind of makes you laugh. Our toys are really alive and every bit as dramatic and emotional as we are; except they are usually a few inches tall and made of plastic. Genius!

It also works on a much more emotional level. Remember how into some of your toys you were growing up? Just grabbing a few of your favorites and kind of disappearing into your own world for a few hours? Well imagine that they too enjoyed this and basically lived to please you. Also, imagine their pain upon realizing you are no longer your owner’s favorite toy!

There is also the whole thing with Buzz not realizing he’s actually a toy, which is totally brilliant!

There’s a lot of different things going on here and they all work together very nicely. Pixar’s came out with a bang.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 2, 2012.