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dir John Lasseter
prd Bonnie Arnold, Ralph Guggenheim
scr Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
voices Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, John Morris, Erik von Detten, Laurie Metcalf, R Lee Ermey, Penn Jillette
release US 22.Nov.95, UK 22.Mar.96
3D reissue US/UK 2.Oct.09
95/US Disney 1h21
Odd couple: Woody and Buzz
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
It's amazing that 14 years after it was made, Toy Story hasn't aged at all. And the transfer to 3D is so seamless that it seems like it surely was made this way to begin with. If anything, it feels even fresher, funnier and more thrilling in today's landscape of over-studied demographically correct moviemaking.
The Pixar/Disney team clearly started off the way they meant to continue, and created a cast of identifiable characters, engaging situations and unforgettable set pieces, breaking the mould of animation in the process. It's interesting how dark and scary the film gets, as it ventures into next-door neighbour Sid's bedroom of terrors. And there's also a willingness to have the heroes do some pretty nasty things.
And then there's the 3D, which is created so naturally that it feels exactly right. Especially as it adds extra oomph to already terrific sequences like the climactic car chase. Still, 3D also reminds us how far animators have come in recreating both human skin and dog fur; they still look iffy here, and you have to give the filmmakers credit for not tidying that up. In other words, it's still the same film. And it's still a must-see, especially on a big screen.
Original review from Shadows 12:2, Apr.96:
The first feature-length film completely created on a computer, Toy Story swiftly makes you forget its high-tech pedigree with a collection of fascinating characters and a quick-moving plot. Still, it looks amazing! A computer's ability to shade, move the "camera", and refract light and images can never be matched with conventional animation, and the Pixar/Disney crew have given every scene something to take your breath away. The toys come to life with breathtaking attention to detail and personality. Meanwhile, there's a strange inability to make humans look ... well, human. They look exactly like the toys; their skin looks plastic.
But it's the toys we're concerned with here--principally a pull-string cowboy named Woody (Hanks) whose favourite-toy status in Andy's bedroom is threatened by new arrival Buzz Lightyear (Allen), a plastic spaceman with more electronic features than even the most wishful child could hope for. But, unlike the rest of the toys, Buzz thinks he's really a space commander here to save the world. He thinks his little flickering light is really a deadly laser ... and that his plastic wings will enable him to fly. As the story progresses, jealousy rears its ugly head, Woody and Buzz are kidnapped by the vile toy-torturer next door, and a madcap escape ensues.
Sure, the plot is thin, but it keeps the energy level high and even finds time to work in three nice Randy Newman songs. Bit it's in the characters that Toy Story touches a nerve, with its careful examination of purpose, identity and self-discovery. It's a warm film with a very sophisticated sense of humour--and this aspect will make it even more satisfying to adults than the kids to whom the film (and its marketing strategy) is aimed. I especially enjoyed seeing toys from my youth come to life--Mr Potato Head (Rickles, of course!), the Slinky dog (Varney), a plastic dinosaur (Shawn) and even a Barrel O'Monkeys--each with a distinct, hilarious and very pertinent personality. Fab!
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© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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