There is greatness in film that can be discussed, dissected, and talked about late into the night. Then there is genius that is right in front of our faces—you smile at the spell it puts you into and are refreshed, and not a word needs to be spoken. This kind of entertainment is what they used to call “movie magic” and there is loads of it in this irresistible computer animation feature. Just a picture of these bright toys on the cover of Toy Story looks intriguing as it reawakens the kid in us. Filmmaker John Lasseter’s shorts (namely Knickknack…
There is greatness in film that can be discussed, dissected, and talked about late into the night. Then there is genius that is right in front of our faces—you smile at the spell it puts you into and are refreshed, and not a word needs to be spoken. This kind of entertainment is what they used to call “movie magic” and there is loads of it in this irresistible computer animation feature. Just a picture of these bright toys on the cover of Toy Story looks intriguing as it reawakens the kid in us. Filmmaker John Lasseter’s shorts (namely Knickknack and Tin Toy, which can be found on the Pixar video Tiny Toy Stories) illustrate not only a technical brilliance but also a great sense of humour—one in which the pun is always intended. Lasseter thinks of himself as a storyteller first and an animator second, much like another film innovator, Walt Disney.
Lasseter’s story is universal and magical: what do toys do when they’re not played with? Cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Andy’s favourite bedroom toy, tries to calm the other toys (some original, some classic) during a wrenching time of year—the birthday party, when newer toys may replace them. Sure enough, Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is the new toy that takes over the throne. Buzz has a crucial flaw, though—he believes he’s the real Buzz Lightyear, not a toy. Bright and cheerful, Toy Story is much more than a 90-minute commercial for the inevitable bonanza of Woody and Buzz toys. Lasseter further scores with perfect voice casting, including Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head and Wallace Shawn as a meek dinosaur. The director-animator won a special Oscar “For the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film.” In other words, the movie is great. —Doug Thomas
Barnes and Noble
Witty, inventive, and just a little bit offbeat, this high-tech salute to the charm of low-tech playthings will easily win over adults as well as kids. Not your average children’s movie, Toy Story was written by Joss Whedon, creator of the critically acclaimed hit TV series Buffy, who shades his sophisticated sense of humor with dark undertones. That said, any child will relate to the simple plot, reminiscent of the children’s classic The Velveteen Rabbit, about a favorite toy who fears being replaced in his owner’s affections by one that’s brighter and newer. And the sadistic bully across the street will send a delightful shiver of recognition down practically everyone’s spine. What distinguishes Toy Story is its amazing and groundbreaking computer animation, which creates a realistic world where old-fashioned toys and humans seamlessly interact, as well as a sharp script filled with sly references to everything from Picasso to Star Trek. This truly is a family movie, one great enough to endure the inevitable repeated screenings of understandably spellbound children. Karen Backstein
While Andy is away at summer camp, Woody is toynapped by Al, a greedy collector who needs Andy’s favorite toy to complete his Roundup Gang collection. Together with Jessie, Bullseye, and the Prospector, Woody is on his way to a museum where he’ll spend the rest of his life behind glass. It’s up to Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, Rex, and Slinky Dog to rescue their friend and remind him what being a toy is all about.
The creative minds behind Disney•Pixar’s groundbreaking animated blockbusters invite you back inside the toy box for a heartwarming and hilarious High Definition movie experience you’ll never forget. In Toy Story 3, Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) and the rest of the Toy Story gang return for an all-new adventure, along with a few new faces. It’s “the biggest, best, most exciting Toy Story of them all,” raves Access Hollywood’s Scott Mantz.
As Andy prepares to depart for college, Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the rest of Andy’s faithful toys wonder what will become of them.