tek's rating:

Toy Story (G)
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Caution: spoilers!

This movie, released in 1995, was Pixar's first feature film, and the first film to be entirely computer animated. So it was pretty revolutionary, leading the way for not only Pixar but other animation studios to make CGI movies, which have since become more commonplace than traditional cel animation. Of course, it's not just the animation that is highly regarded; pretty much everything about the film is considered of amazing quality.

It's about a group of toys who belong to a boy named Andy. When he's not around, the toys come to life. They all clearly love being his toys, though I thought that a bit strange, considering how roughly he plays with them; I'm surprised they don't get hurt. But then, Andy isn't nearly as rough on his toys as his neighbor, a boy named Sid, who likes to blow up his toys, when he's not performing mad scientist-style "operations" on them. But I'm getting ahead of myself. At the start of the movie, it's Andy's birthday, so all the toys are worried that he might receive a new toy that he'd like better than them. The only one really not concerned is Andy's favorite toy, a cowboy doll named Woody.

However, it turns out that the new toy is a Buzz Lightyear action figure, a much more modern and cooler toy, which quickly becomes Andy's new favorite. This makes Woody jealous; however, it's not his greatest concern. What really bugs him is that Buzz actually believes himself to be a real Space Ranger, and not a toy at all. Finally, Woody tries to trick Buzz... but the trick goes awry, and Buzz ends up getting knocked out the window. All the other toys (except Bo Peep, Woody's love interest, and Slinky Dog, his sidekick) believe Woody purposely tried to get rid of Buzz, because of his jealousy. So they turn against him (especially Mr. Potato Head).

There is a series of adventures after that, which I won't go into in detail. But basically, Woody finds Buzz, and wants to bring him home to prove to the other toys that Buzz is okay, so they'll forgive him. However, Buzz just wants to find a way to get off this "alien planet" and back to Star Command. Eventually, they both end up in the possession of Sid, who wants to use a new rocket to blow up Buzz. Woody and Buzz will have to work together to escape and get back home. And there's another problem: Andy's family is moving, so there's a time constraint. If they don't get back to Andy's house soon, they could be left behind.

Anyway... there are things about the movie that don't make much sense to me, like how if Buzz doesn't believe he's a toy, why does he let Andy and Sid treat him like one? I've read some explanations for this online, but I don't quite buy it. Because it becomes clear, in a rather awesome scene near the end... that it's not impossible for toys to act like they're alive, in front of humans, it's just sort of... against the rules. But for the most part, it's a truly great movie. It's really funny (there's humor that appeals to both kids and adults, as well as some that's clearly meant to go over kids' heads). And while Buzz's ignorance of his own nature is mostly played for laughs, the scene where he finally learns that Woody was right is actually kind of heartbreaking. He understandably decides nothing matters, after that... but eventually he comes around. And Woody and Buzz really do end up as friends (hence the great Randy Newman song, "You've Got a Friend in Me"). So... the movie has everything you could want. Great animation, great characters (including a T-Rex named Rex, a piggy bank named Hamm, and many other toys), great story, good music, humor, drama, action, some unexpected and very cool twists, and of course a happy ending. Oh yeah, and a pretty awesome cast, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, et al.

(I really should rate this movie more highly than I do... it's one of those things where my appreciation of its quality is better than my actual enjoyment of it... but my enjoyment is pretty damn high, too.)


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