Toy Story (1995)
Now, almost 20 years old, its pretty safe to say that this film is a classic. Not only was it technologically groundbreaking for its time, this flick also created a new genre of films that has since become the cornerstone for companies such as DreamWorks, Blue Sky Studios, and Sony Picture Imageworks and was essential in the establishment of the now long running and almost guaranteed successful formula that has been followed by these companies. The company responsible for this seminal classic is of course Pixar and the afore-mentioned definitive flick is Toy Story.
If you are unfamiliar with this flick then, firstly shame on you, here’s a brief run down. It’s about a group of toys owned by a boy named Andy; and that’s all you need to know. If you’ve not seen it, go watch it now! With Toy Story Pixar presents one of the most original stories ever brought forth. The film works with the knowledge that, when we’re not looking, out toys are alive. They have a hierarchy, they have personality flaws and hang ups, and deal with the issues of being a toy. The story is carried forward in a remarkably entertaining way by creating definite and multi-dimensional characters with the toys. The humor that runs throughout the picture works on multiple levels allowing the movie to work for more than just kids; but the ‘adult’ humor is not too strong to separate the younger portion of the audience. Bottom line, this flick just works. The pacing is impeccable and the there never seems to be a dull or dragging moment. This flick is, in a word, again entertaining; and not just in a mindless, non-engaging way. Attention is captured early on and is kept as the toys venture through the perils of being inanimate/living objects.
The voice acting for the film is yet another aspect that is exceptionally well done. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen lead the charge as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, respectively, and the way those two work off of each other is something that cannot be missed. Their comedic timing and range do not miss a single beat yet they are still able to dial the laughs back and allow the more serious, albeit fewer, moment to come through and work strong. The supporting characters are also all cast with remarkable supporting actors. Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex, John Ratzenberger as Hamm, and Jim Varney as Slinky Dog together make up a crew off toys that play as old buddies that have worked and lived with each other for years. Although the notion of these characters being toys is inescapable, these voice actors all give their characters the type of realism that surpasses the artificial components that make them up and transform them into well-rounded and real characters.
The largest accomplishment this movie has going for it, aside from just being a good and solid flick, is that it is the first, full-length computer generated movie. Although there were a few things happening around and/or before the time of Toy Story (mostly TV shows like ReBoot), it was this flick that rocketed CG properties forward. Even with Toy Story being done during the early stages of CG features, Pixar was still able to set a high standard for how the technology would look in the future. The character models are rendered with a realistic quality but still maintain a caricature quality about them. Since the majority of the story takes place indoors, the environments all have simple structures to them but are rendered with a fairly realistic look to them. However, the characters and story in the film are so strong that the focus of the film is not so much the visual spectacle of it all, but is more about the connection the characters have with each other. It has been said before and will be said again, this flick is a classic.
- “The Force is strong with this one”, this one being Toy Story!