Directed by John Lasseter
Written by John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft, Joss Whedon, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow (phew)
– this review has sat in drafts since 2014 –
What the Hell, Joss Whedon? Who knew?
Toy Story was the first all CGI feature film, and the first film to be made by an at the time unheard of studio called Pixar. It’s easy to see why this film has a spot on the list with being those two firsts.
I remember going to see this movie in 1995 when it first came out, at the Hoyts on Manners Mall. It was a big enough event for me and my friends that we also went to KFC for lunch and I got a special edition Toy Story bucket souvenir thing. I remember us all being totally blown away by this movie. In a lot of ways the 90s were a sort of rennaissance for animated films, we had Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King and this.
The story is an excellent buddy film and features awesome voice acting from Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in the two lead roles. Their sincerity sells the characters, it’d be a hard film to buy into. The story is similar to that of the Velveteen Rabbit which made me feel horribly guilty for not treating my toys with an equal amount of love and attention. This movie made it a bit worse I think, since it shows the toys feeling sad if they’re being neglected and Woody is so jealous of Buzz.. The guilt. The supreme guilt.
The animation of the human people is a bit on the ropey side, but the animation of the toys and the landscapes has held up well. I watched this on Blu ray on the new big HD tv that Wayne moved in with and it looked shiny and really good. I haven’t watched any of the Toy Story movies since the third one came out and broke my heart, and y’know, that’s coming on this list… all three of them are on the 500 list, although 3 is in top 100 so I won’t publish the review of that one for a while.
The movie also reminds me of The Brave Little Toaster, which has a similar amount of toy/object guilt and there’s also the whole creepy mutant toys Sid makes which are like the bizarre electrical goods in Brave Little Toaster. There’s a matching level of menace… I don’t know if you’ve ever seen The Brave Little Toaster but it’s fantastically traumatic and good.
Does it make me love the people? Oh yeah. This movie is full of characters with real emotions like jealousy and compassion. It’s hard not to be able to relate to Woody’s fear of losing someone he loves so much, and the fear of the change to his lifestyle. And then there’s Buzz, so sure that he knows exactly who he is but then finding out that what Woody has been saying is true and he’s not what he thought he was.
Buzz’s self esteem dive is pretty relatable too.
The existence of Sid’s experimental toys are a bit of a moral lesson as well. Woody is terrified of them, calling them cannibals, but they are ultimately friendly to them. They demonstrate how you shouldn’t judge people by how they look or their circumstances – which is a great non-xenophobic/non-racist/non-ablieist message depending on how you read them. But this is also problematic because none of them talk at all. They interact with Woody and Buzz but only with noises and gestures, they are entirely without a voice. I guess the rest of the message past ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is deemed to be irrelevant? I don’t know.
Bechdel test: No, there are female characters: Hannah, Bo Peep, ‘Mom’ and Sid’s mom but none of them are in the same scenes as each other.
Buzz: You are a sad strange little man.
Woody: There’s a snake in my boot!
State of Mind: I find it kind of sad making/hard to believe that all the other toys were so convinced Woody was evil. I mean, they did see him push Buzz out the window but the idea that your old friends could just turn on you like that is a bit chilling. On the other hand it’s a really lovely story and a good entertaining movie. Plus happy feels right at the end.