Toy Story Reviews
Involving and well-animated, Pixar's "Toy Story" is classic family entertainment.
Marking it as the world's first motion picture made entirely with computers and CPUs, Pixar started as an obscure high-end computer hardware company which created hardware that simulates information and data through computer graphics for hospitals and business companies, and was founded and owned by Apple founder Steve Jobs in 1986.
One of their first hardware products is the Pixar image computer. However after extremely poor sales due to unnecessary power and high cost, the graphics team decided to use their computer technology to create an animation department led by ex-disney animator John Lasseter to create cgi short films to help attract investors and interest in other computer companies. He started with Luxo Jr, and Red's Dream, both which received tremendous universal acclaim and massive success at SIGGRAPH, and would even receive oscar nominations. In 1988, Pixar created Tin Toy, the inspirational basis for Toy Story, which would win an oscar and created a brand new software called RenderMan, which is now the golden standard in CGI rendering. However the success of the 1988 short didn't attract business investors like they hoped, but filmmakers, one of them which turn out to be Disney.
Disney asked John Lasseter to join them. He refuse and Disney decided to make a deal with Pixar to make one computer-animated feature for $26 million. In 1990, friends of John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Peter Doctor, Joe Ranft, and Lee Unkrich joined Pixar to help create a christmas special for Disney to convince whether they were ready for a film. The cancelled special that was "a tin toy christmas", about the story of the special's star Tinny, who's conceptually the descendant of Buzz lightyear. However the special was cancelled, due to numerous reasons and the christmas story was retooled for the feature film with John Lasseter set to direct. As the story evolves, Tinny was accompanied by a ventriloquist dummy who would evolve to a cowboy doll named Woody, and Tinny would be completely retooled and redesigned to resemble a more modern toy, into becoming a space ranger and eventually becoming Buzz Lightyear.
In June 1992, Pixar released character animation tests of Woody and Buzz, which wowed Disney and gave the film the green-light, and the film started production on Jan 19, 1993. During production, Pixar was facing difficulties in creating a perfect script, as early drafts were deemed too childish and simplistic. So every few weeks, the team would fly to Disney and receive advice and notes to improve the script. with Jeffery Katzenberg, sending notes to help complete the script.
The Disney execs wanted the film would have adult tone, to help remove the film's juvenile tone, in the tone of an adult satire. Instead, the result was a story that was sadistic, cynical, and horrifyingly mean-spirited, but most importantly, lacking heart. Pixar released a story-boarded version of the first 40 minutes of the film to disney in thanksgiving 1993, or what everyone would call "The Black Friday Incident". The reel was played to disastrous results, which presented Woody being portrayed as a ruthless, egotistical dictator who would abuse, or in the worst case, enslave the toys, and would do anything to remain on top, even it it means by destroying the toys himself, who tries to kill Buzz to remain the top No one knows what else was playing in the screening, but it was kept secret.
After viewing the infamous reel, former Disney president Thomas Schumacher immediately demanded the film production would shut down. As a result Pixar was given full control of the film. Pixar rewrote the film into what it is now, and the film went back to production. When it released on November 22, 1995, it had revolutionize the entire film industry, establishing Pixar's long run of groundbreaking films, generating itself on many critic's top films of 1995, and became the highest grossing film of 1995, with over $360 million, and would since then be called whats arguably the greatest animated film of all time. Lets see why:
The premise is nothing less than a genius work of beauty and creativity. No other animated film before it has ever been this brilliant of an idea. It is very simple, yet sophisticatedly thought-provoking and clever. It asks you the question. What if toys come to life? It is something that has not been done on the big screen before, and thats why it got nominated for an oscar for best original screenplay. The title itself is also a work of art, Toy Story. Simple, and meaningful. 10/10
Whats a great premise without a timeless story. Toy Story features the story of a cowboy doll named Woody, who feels threatened when a new space ranger toy named Buzz lightyear show up. The two become enemies, but when they get lost and are taken by a boy that destroys toys, Woody and Buzz must work together to get back to their original owner, and prove that even the worst of enemies can become the best of friends. The story is very simple, but very effective and inventive.
Written by Andrew Stanton and Joss Whedon, they took simplicity to an advantage. This adds more room for more freedom, creativity and clever writing. What Pixar did was blend simplicity with sophistication, layered with subtle dialogue, sharp humor, and numerous mature references. The script shows noticeable influence from The Simpsons, very adult, grown-up, and extremely thought-provoking, but also told you a very entertaining, heartwarming and hilarious story that can be appreciated by anyone who has a heart. Toy Story's inventive writing, unlimited imagination and expressive yet humane characters will help it live on for years if not decades.
Another thing to consider is Pixar's passion of love, and effort put into the story and script, a and they know, successful or not, that story and characters are just as important, and they took so many risks, and they succeeded because of all their hard work. And yes, Pixar films are blockbusters, but its because they are good and people know how much effort and creativity they put, and they appreciate that. Another revolutionary move Pixar made was that is was modern.
What was really impressive or just plain daring, was its innovation. Before Toy Story, there were only two types of animated films: Disney, and Disney knock-off. And Disney animated films would be fairy tales, or would be based on books, or any form of literature. Toy Story features a completely fresh and original story with all new characters, and unlike the other films before it, the story took place in the modern world, with characterization and storytelling told as if it was taking place right now, like the Simpsons.
It is also just as inspiring with its use of narrative theme and tone. Disney films would feature a perfect protagonist, with a love story, and larger than life villain. Toy Story instead, presents a world based on grey morality, were the protagonist themselves have flaws and in-depth problems. And they also convey adult themes such as jealousy, fear, self-doubt, and redemption. 10/10
The greatest achievement of the story is the simple, yet sophisticated wit and charms that makes the characters lovable and charming. First we have a spectacular cast led by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, bringing you on screen one of most magnificent duos of all time, and a huge bunch of whats now many of our favorite characters, all distinctive, real, and unique, despite being a toy, such as Mr. Potato Head, Ham the Piggy Bank, Rex the dinosaur, and Slinky Dog, voiced by great actors such as Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, and the late Jim Varney.
What makes them lovable and charming is their ability to express wit and humor in a very unique way, who's personalities are based on who they are and their features. Its also fascinating for the fact they are children's toys, yet they are written and designed to be adults themselves.
However what makes the characters revolutionary is their take on realism. Disney manages to give us charming, goofy characters. Pixar gave us people, in the form of CGI playthings. Somehow they're moving fantasized plastic, but they managed to feel both real and believable as if they actually are real people on screen, making them more complex and sophisticated than they look. They even show that characters or people are not perfect, that they have flaws and that the problems could come form the characters themselves
In the end, the characters are as appealing and funny enough for children, and realistically sophisticated and believable enough for adults, to the point where these plastic animated characters pulse more realism, humanity, and believability than what most live-action characters are even capable of doing. The film does what many other films would forget: cartoon characters are not caricatures, they too can invest on human emotion, and even more than live action actors, and that is saying a lot. 10/10
Obviously the highlight of the film is the animation.I wouldn't talk about the animation, as the story is the most important part, but this is also a technical review. Toy Story is the first fully computer animated film, as it is the first of its kind. Before then, animated films were drawn by hand, this film revolutionize it, making three-dimensional animation on computers and CPU's like no other film has done before. It literally blew people away as no one has ever seen anything like it before, bringing you new visuals, textures, and techniques that no hand-drawn film is capable of doing. Of course from 1995 to today, CGI has evolved vastly, and it does look a bit dated now, but I will judge it for it's time, and for it's time, it's revolutionary. The animation is awesome in any way, from the character designs, and the structure of the settings, down to the individual scratches of the door the glossy reflections floors and metals. The plastic of the toys look realistic, and the character animation is fantastic, looking and feeling more natural and believable than 2D animated movies. Another advantage to the film than on drawings is the ability to redo and fix the mistakes. If you make a mistake on paper, you would have to redo it completely. With Toy Story, you can go back to the computer files and fix any error that was made. It does looks dated compared to later films, especially when looking at organic models such as trees, grass, and grounds, and the humans do look a bit weird, but considered all that in the first CGI movie and that it was made in 1995, thats one groundbreaking achievement. 10/10
In the end, Toy Story is a historically, revolutionary masterpiece for the industry, and to those involved in it, establishing Pixar as the greatest animation studio of all time, kickstarting their record-breaking run of groundbreaking classics, and not only has it spawn a brand new format of animation, but practically revived the golden age of animation, and is a treasure of filming that you should see. Toy Story triumphed since it's release in theaters, and will continue to do so for generations to come.
We all adore these characters because they're so memorable, so likable, each one as their own way of entertainment, and the voice cast for them is impeccable. All of the actors nailed their voice performances, particularly Tom Hanks as Woody. Some people see Woody as kind of a jerk in this movie, but you can't dislike him for it. It's understandable because it's a form of jealousy that we all know, and he eventually learns his lesson in the end. That's what I love about his character arc, he evolves to become a better person (or toy for that matter). Same thing for Buzz, he originally sees himself as a real space ranger and eventually realizes he's just a toy. This serves as a great moral that even though you're not what you think you are, your real self may be even more important than you would think. In Buzz's case, he realizes that he's not meant to protect the galaxy, but to make a child happy. It's writing like this that makes TOY STORY so good.
It's not just the toys who are great characters, the child characters are also very relatable. They may seem there isn't a whole lot to their character, but they're not supposed to. Andy is just an every day kid who loves to play with his toys, and Sid is that kid who loves blow up toys. You were either one of these two kids when it comes to having fun with toys.
For a movie that came out in 1995, that CG animation is pretty impressive. This was around the time where CGI had just been invented. Back when CG wasn't very detailed, it makes the models look more like plastic, which really works to the film's advantage when creating the models for the toys. Because of that, the animation on the toys still look great to this day. But when they needed to create the models for the humans and the dog, it does look a bit dated. I give it a pass because it was the first ever CG animated film, not everything will look perfect.
Also, when comparing to other Pixar films that came out afterwards, the story, while told exceptionally well, is pretty standard. It's not like a Pixar film where you could re-watch multiple times and get something new from it every time. You can get the whole story and morals fairly quickly upon the first viewing. It's a pretty short movie, only 81 minutes. But it's still a great start for an animation studio.
Everybody loves TOY STORY and I do too, it's a classic! I can't imagine anyone disliking it. With an animation studio that has an innovative animation style and innovative storytelling, the possibilities would seem to go to infinity and beyond!
A film that adults and kids will instantly love and treasure for years.