Release year: 1995
Director: John Lasseter
Screenwriter: John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft, Joss Whedon, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
Starring (voices): Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, John Morris
Ratings: 3 Oscar nominations: Best Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Score. 2 Golden Globes nominations: Best Comedy/Musical, Best Original Song.
Andy’s (John Morris) toys are getting along perfectly fine untill one birthday where their owner gets a cool new toy: the spaceman figure Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). Suddenly Andy’s favourite toy through years, the comboy doll Woody (Tom Hanks), feels his position as number one threatened. On top of everything the family is about to move and next door lives toy serial killer Sid.
Toy Story was first at many things; it was the first feature-length computer-animated feature, the first theatrical film produced by Pixar and the first animated feature to be nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay. On top of that it also known as one of the very best animated films ever made and for good reason. Toy Story is not just a collection of jokes, though jokes are plenty, it is a film about friendship, insecurities, jalousy and about hopes and fears and how sometimes we must conquer them and stand together to reach the goal. In other words, Toy Story is a damn good story that deserved it’s Oscar nomination and that without doubt will be loved in many years to come. The animation of the film is flawless with an admiringly sense for details and characters that, despite some of them are made of plastic, contains more heart than your average human character. Woody represents the good old days and Buzz the bright future with his enthuiasm and ‘to infinity and beyond!’, but even though they at first hand are to oposites they soon realize they are not so different, as it often is. The two lead characters are almost largere than life and more than enough to satisfy which makes the wide selection of brilliant, cute, hilarious and funny side characters even more impressive. While there is coziness a lá hot chocolate with marshmallows in Andy’s room the shift to psycho Sid’s is like moving from night to day with creepy freaks, danger and even a carpet resembling that of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining (1980) adding an extra layer of tension and a clear sense of danger rarely seen in family flicks. But that is the thing with Pixar, as the showed here and has shown again and again since, they make movies that are for everyone, young, old and in between and with Toy Story they started out strong with one of the most inventive animated feature made and one of the best.
Right from the start Pixar movies started the on going tradition of releasing their feature films with one of their short films. Toy Story was released with The Adventures of Andre and Wally B:
Billy Crystal was originally offered the chance to voice Buzz Lightyear, but declined. After seeing the finished film, he said the decision was the biggest mistake of his career. Upon learning this, John Lasseter telephoned Billy’s house to offer him the role of Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc. (2001). Billy’s wife answered the telephone and said “John Lasseter wants to speak to you.” Billy took the telephone from his wife and said “Yes”.
Picture copyright: Disney