Toy Story (1995)

"You are a cool toy."
              - Tom Hanks to Tim Allen

Before the Ninja Turtles, the Transformers, and the Masters of the 
Universe; before the Micronauts, the five-inch G.I. Joe's, and the 
STAR WARS-action figures; before Sega, Nintendo, and Atari, there 
existed a world of stranger, simpler things such as Slinky, Mr. 
Potato Head, and Etch-a-Sketch.  Mostly plastic, sometimes with a 
battery or two, these were the *real* toys, the toys of our youth, 
and the toys "brought to life" by Pixar Animation (in conjunction 
with Disney) in the appropriately titled TOY STORY.  Both jaw-
dropping and heart-warming, the first fully computer-animated 
feature film is *the* holiday movie to see.  

The animation is nothing short of stunning.  Plastic has never 
looked so good, nor seemed as real.  *More* surprising are the 
story dynamics, which raise the film above the level of a novelty 
piece, or just another children's picture.  You know, for kids.  
The charming premise is that, when nobody's around, toys have lives 
all their own.  They fight, they frolic, and even suffer the 
occasional identity crisis, especially when they think they *are* 
the action-figure that they've been molded in the likeness of.  
Like Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), the gleaming spaceman 
with an impressive wingspan and a chin to rival Jay Leno's.  
He's the new arrival in Andy's bedroom; a birthday gift that has 
cloth-cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) worried about losing the 
much-coveted position of Andy's Favorite Toy.  So they bicker and 
feud, and through a very amusing set of circumstances, end up 
*outside* and lost in the "real world."  I won't say much more, 
except that a portion of the plot involves a vicious next-door 
neighbor who tortures toys.  Deceptively simple and straight-
forward, yet as adult as any of the issues in CASINO or THE 
AMERICAN PRESIDENT.  There's also plenty of activity on the fringe.  
Small jokes pepper the film, such as a box of "Binford Tools" that 
falls on Woody.  Just pay attention.

Given the dubious moral messages that season the season's seasonal 
releases, many may find themselves disarmed by the purity of 
essence (POE?) in TOY STORY.  The tale is told from the viewpoint 
of someone who loves toys.  Before the tie-in's were discussed; 
before the marketing could be mustered; even before the ace casting 
was completed, the gang at Pixar were creating the code that built 
the art that brought their favorite toys to life.  The result is a 
such an overwhelmingly fun movie, both so bold and so harmless, 
that it deserves praise in any circles.  Even Bob Dole (and Baby 
Newt) could enjoy this one.

Grade: A

Copyright 1995 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies

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