Time: 81 Minutes
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
John Morris as Andy
Erik von Detten as Sid
Director: John Lasseter
Woody, a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy names Andy, sees his position as Andy’s favourite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet. When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of a maladjusted neighbour Sid Phillips and reunite with their boy.
As the 4th Toy Story movie is out now, I wanted to rewatch the original trilogy beforehand. The first Toy Story was such a massive hit upon its release, it was really revolutionary for its time, and all 4 of the movies are known as one of the best animated film series’. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll like the other Toy Story movies more, the first one is still really good. Dated animation aside, it still holds up well today.
The Toy Story movies are some of the best examples of animated kids movies that even adults can enjoy. They do much more than you think they could with a movie about toys, it’s pretty smart and creative. It is also genuinely funny. There’s even some well placed adult humour that only older people will pick up, and it’s not done in a way that feels forced or inappropriate (like The Cat in the Hat movie for instance), it’s concealed rather well. Then there’s also some way more mature story aspects that children wouldn’t pick up until they are adults. I mean it features a toy literally having an existential crisis after realising that he’s a toy. Toy Story is like an hour and 20 minutes long and works well with its runtime, the pacing is very effective, with not any scene feeling out of place or pointless. Storywise I can’t think of a single problem with it, they keep the story pretty straightforward and simple, and effective like that.
Toy Story has a memorable cast of characters, and the voice cast work perfectly. Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) are the main lead characters and work so well, they embody their characters really well. Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger and more make up the supporting voice cast and also play their roles well, even though their characters are featured much less than Woody and Buzz.
The animations are clearly decades old, and some aspects don’t look that great. But you can tell that with it being from 1995, that it was very revolutionary for its time. Thankfully most of the attention is focussed on the toys, which look better than everything else in the movie. Sure, some of the designs and looks can look very dated (Bo Peep amongst the worst cases, especially when compared to her design in Toy Story 4), but most of them work. When it comes to more familiar looking objects like cars it looks more fake, and the worst of it is when it comes to the human characters (as well as a dog who appears a few times), who really look unnatural, especially when they are close up to the screen. However, all of this is just something that you can come to accept within the first 10-20 minutes of the movie.
Toy Story 24 years later is still an animated classic. It’s great for both kids and adults, and grown ups will probably get more from it than children. If you haven’t seen Toy Story yet, you definitely need to check it out soon, and even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth a revisit for sure. Even if some of the dated animation bothers you, the script, characters and voice work no doubt make up for it.