Tuesday, November 2, 2010

890. Toy Story (1995)

Running Time: 81 minutes
Directed By: John Lasseter
Written By: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Peter Docter, Joe Ranft, Joss Whedon, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
Main Cast: (voices): Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn


"Toy Story 3" comes out today, but I'm holding off seeing until I'm able to revisit the first two. I revisited the first one today and loved it, as I always do, every time I watch it.

Andy is our main human character, but it's his toys who are the real stars of the movie. You see, Andy doesn't realize that when he leaves the room, his toys come to life, holding meetings, striking up conversations and acting like real people. We begin our journey at Andy's house on the day of his birthday party and the toys are a little high strung, seeing as how a new toy for Andy's birthday could replace any one of them. Woody (Hanks) is especially worried, as he has been Andy's favorite toy since kindergarten. Woody is a toy cowboy sheriff and his cohorts are: Mr. Potato-Head (Rickles), Rex the dinosaur (Shawn), Little Bo Peep, a slinky dog named Slink (Varney) and Hamm, a piggy bank. All of their worst fears come true when Andy receives a Buzz Lightyear action figure (Allen) as a last surprise gift from his mother. When Buzz is introduced to the bedroom, it doesn't take the toys long to "oooh" and "aaah" over his gizmos and gadgets and Buzz actually thinks he's a real space ranger. Woody is the only one not "ooohing and aaahing", as he is jealous of the new toy and wants things to return to the way they used to be. During a last ditch effort to get Andy's attention, Woody concocts a plan to knock Buzz behind the desk, where toys go to be forgotten. Unintentionally Woody knocks Buzz out the window and into the bushes, raising the ire of the other toys who have come to befriend Buzz. Now, if Woody wants to gain back the trust of his toy box pals, he must venture into the outside world and save Buzz Lightyear.

I've always been a big fan of Pixar movies, ever since I saw "Toy Story" many years ago. I remember watching it at school, right before one of our big breaks and being entranced by it, to the point of running home and begging my parents to rent it for me, so I could finish it. I was probably eleven or twelve then and they probably thought I was a little old to be begging to rent a Disney movie, but it was much more than any other kids movie they tried to feed me when I was younger. This one had more adult elements and themes to it and it drew my interest like no other animated movie ever had. This might sound like a silly, childish theory, but I'm going to pop it on you anyway. When my eleven year self watched "Toy Story" my first thoughts, thoughts that had me thinking for days, were: How do I know my toys aren't talking when I leave the room? Now, at eleven years old, I can't recall how many toys I was even still playing with, but the idea totally consumed me and honestly I think that's one of the big appealing sides of this story. Even as an adult, I still ask myself: I wonder if my toys did that when I left the room? Now, I'm 99.9% positive that they didn't, but it's that other 0.1% that makes this movie magical, as Pixar and John Lasseter are really kids at heart and they're giving us one of the greatest child questions ever to ponder: What if our toys talked when we weren't around? Now I can't be 100% positive that my toys laid dormant when I left the room, because I wasn't there. I can only use rational thought to assume that it wasn't possible. But what fun is rational thought when you got Sheriff Woody and Space Ranger Buzz acting out a great suspense story right in front of your eyes.

My brother used to ask me about the Pixar movies and why I was so interested in them, even as I entered my teen years and I used to respond by saying, "Well Toy Story has one of the most suspenseful scenes I've ever seen in a movie." I was, of course, referring to Woody and Buzz's final attempts to catch the moving van and make their way back into Andy's hands. I love that scene and think it's one of the most well done scenes I've ever watched. Even as a twenty-six year old adult, I can sit on the bed with my wife and still get excited, clutching my pillows and hoping to God that Woody and Buzz can catch that moving van (even though I know they will, because I've seen it countless times). It's a scene like that, that can give you just as much suspense on every viewing and even though you KNOW what happens, it can erase that previous knowledge and make you excited every single time.

In fact, the whole movie does that to you and just when you think Woody and Buzz have made it safely back into the clutches of Andy's grip, another road block is put in their way and they fail, moving on to Plan M. This movie isn't like other children's movies that I've encountered. For the most part, when I watch a children's movie today, it just isn't fun anymore. I've grown up and lost my interest in talking lions, genies and dragons. But "Toy Story" always has interested me and every time I watch it, I'm immediately transformed into a small child, no worries in the world, just watching a film and loving every minute of it. And maybe it has something to do with that question, that I proposed to myself many years ago, "What if my toys did do this when I left the room?"

RATING: 8.5/10 No reason for the deduction in points from a '10', just felt more like an '8.5'...My favorite animated movie though, or at least one of them.


November 2, 2010 5:56pm

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