Toy Story (1995)

Even though I’m a recovering film snark, I am glad I have a wealth of decently-written reviews to re-post because I said what I want to so succinctly the first time.  Here is another instance of that.  My original review:

It never fails to amaze or depress me how many CGI-animated movies are made these days that pay almost no attention to the lessons that Toy Story taught us. With a relatively unproven newcomer in John Lasseter directing Pixar’s very first full-length motion picture, the film turned out to be a critical darling and a monster financial success. As well, it ushered in a seemingly new genre of animated film, those that adults and children alike end up loving for many reasons. Upon writing this paragraph and re-reading it, it feels as though this is the conclusion to my full review. Or – for those of you that have never watched the film (and why the hell not?) – it seems like it’s giving away my entire review right off the bat. Duh. Toy Story is one of the most phenomenal movies of all time, never mind just animated movies, and if you don’t think it’s a 5 / 5 movie, I feel sorry for you.

I mean that in all seriousness. If you’re an adult and you watch Toy Story and don’t have a little longing in your heart for the days when you were a kid, playing with your toys, killing hours and hours of time with nothing but your own derivative imagination, well I pity you. Especially if you can’t even remember those days, how dead inside do you have to be to be like that? I’m starting to get a bit off-topic there, so back to the movie. Toy Story is generally the template that most animated movies (CGI or hand-painted) that were made after it’s 1995 release have applied to their productions. Big name celebrity voices, a look into the world of something we humans generally take for granted, and amazingly realistic animation, which are all aspects of the so-called “Pixar formula”.

Generally though, Pixar films tend to have celebrity voices that fit their characters, not create characters to fit celebrity voices like SO many other animated films have done in the intervening years. The Pixar films have a great mix of A-list celebrities and reliable and talented character actors to voice the wonderful creations. This is in stark contrast to something like Shark Tale, which had an enormously bloated cast of A-listers basically voicing fish versions of themselves in a film that was basically a hacked-up-rip-off of Pixar’s Finding Nemo. What I’m saying here is that I can’t picture anyone other than Jim Varney as the voice of Slinky Dog, but if you cosmetically change the appearance of the lead fish in Shark Tale, it could easily be Ben Stiller, or anyone else enormously famous.

Yet another aspect of Toy Story that gets bastardized in almost every animated film nowadays is the overall premise of the tale. Yes, it’s about the world of toys and what they do when humans aren’t around, but the toys don’t live in a world that is only populated by toys because that would not make any sense and it would make my head hurt and my heart angry. You should probably just read my review of Robots so I don’t end up repeating myself yet again. Pixar has only been guilty of that premise once with Cars, and even then they still somehow made a “good” movie, rather than the usual greatness we’ve come to expect. There is actual substance behind all that pretty style.

There’s so much to love about Toy Story, whether it be the wonderful performance Tom Hanks puts on, or that it actually gave me an appreciation for Tim Allen. The animation is amazing even now, with small little details that you don’t fully appreciate until you’ve seen the movie a few times and finally notice. The score and songs by Randy Newman are whimsical and fit absolutely perfectly. There are enough visual gags to keep the kids entertained, and a multitude of pop culture references from the comments the toys make to the toys themselves that adults will enjoy it just as much, if not more.

5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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