“Toy Story 3” is out this week so I thought I would go back and visit the first two films. “Toy Story” is the original Pixar movie. This is the one that started it all. Not only was it the first of many great films from a truly original group of animators but it was also the initial cartoon to be fully animated on computers. In 1995 this was a ground breaking notion. In 2010 this type of filmmaking dominates the animation market. But even though every major studio is pumping out computer animated films, Pixar is still the only one that is still considered an event film.
The story was so simple yet so effective. Even now, fifteen years later, the characters and the events still resonate. Imagine your a child playing with your favourite toys. Did you ever think of what they might be doing after you have gone to school or to bed? What if they loved you just as much as you loved them? Now introduce a little jealousy between the toys and you got a setup for a great comedy. But this movie didn’t stop there. That was just the starting on what would be a great adventure.
The leader of this group is a cowboy toy named Woody. Woody is voiced by Tom Hanks, who is a natural fit. The other recognizable voices include Jim Varney, Don Rickles, and John Ratzenberger. Each is assigned a toy that fits them seamlessly.
Life is good for this group. They are played with and loved by their owner Andy. Woody is Andy’s favourite as is evident by his cowboy sheets, posters and blankets. But the harmony of the room is shattered by the arrival of a space commander toy named Buzz Lightyear, voiced deliciously by Tim Allen. Now the genius of this character is that he is the one toy who does not realize his true purpose. He actually believes he is a stranded space ranger who is on a mission to destroy an alien villain named Zerg. This leads to a lot of hilarious dialogue for Tim Allen.
Now at the time this animation was cutting edge. Watching it now on bluray you can really tell how far the form has come. That’s not to say that this flim looks dated. It actually looks better with time.
I can remember seeing this film on opening weekend in the fall of 1995. I loved the film so much I ended up seeing it two more times. One of only a few films I have seen three times in the theatre. In terms of its box office performance, it’s initial weekend did not break any records but was a great success none the less. From there, word of mouth spread and the film just soared in to cinematic history from there. I can’t believe it has been fifteen years since this movie debuted. In the years since Pixar has produced many classics. I still think this is among one of their greatest achievements.