Toy Story (DVD, 2010, Special Edition; Spanish)

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Toy Story - For Melinda, Janine & Danny, My 1500th Review

Jan 5, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:everything

Cons:nothing

The Bottom Line: My family's favorite animated movie. Great for quality snuggling time.


What do you get when you combine a great story with some well-known actors voicing the animated characters in a setting that is familiar to children everywhere? You have the formula for a hit animated movie. It’s a formula that Pixar has built on over and over again to create a series of spectacular films. I still believe Toy Story was probably their best, and by the number of times my son asks to watch it, he does too.

Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) is the favorite toy of Andy (voiced by John Morris). He's a cloth cowboy with a pull-cord that lets him say some cute phrases. It's the day of Andy's birthday party, which is being held a little early due to the family's impending move. All of the toys from Andy's room are nervous about what presents he will receive. Woody is pretty confident and relaxed, having bee Andy's favorite toy for quite some time. His room is definitely themed to the western motif.

All of that changes when Andy receives a very special present from his mother. Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) is a Space Ranger. He's roughly the same size as Woody, but much more advanced and modern, with lights and buttons that work. He also has wings that pop up.

The wrinkle here is that Buzz doesn't get that he's a toy. He thinks he's a real Space Ranger, sworn to protect the galaxy from the evil Emperor Zurg. He treats Woody like local law enforcement. It seems that all of the other toys in the room get along with Buzz real well. The room rather rapidly changes over to a space motif (why the parents would do this when they are about to move is something of a mystery). The changes don’t sit well with Woody, who is feeling displaces in his role as Andy’s favorite toy.

Next door to Andy's house is probably the answer to why the parents are so eager to move. Sid (voiced by Erik von Detten) is a destructive, undisciplined, wild-child. He routinely blows things up in his yard.

In a fit of jealousy, Woody pushes Buzz out the window, hoping Andy will choose him instead to go with him on a trip to Pizza Planet. However, this crime is not without witnesses. Woody does get what he wants, but Buzz follows him into the family minivan on the way to Pizza Planet. During a stop to get gas, the two toys fight and fall out of the van which leaves them behind. The rest of the movie is primarily about the two trying to get back to Andy before the family moves. There are side-trips to Sid's house and the world of the mutant toys Sid has created, while Woody must find a way to redeem himself in the eyes of other toys in Andy's room.

The story itself is fantastic. How many of us as kids swore our toys were alive? Sometimes children give their toys personalities, and sometimes it’s just swearing that you know you left that someplace else and have no clue how it managed to get to the middle of the room. For a long time, I thought Toy Story would give every child an excuse for why their rooms were so messy.

Once you have a bunch of toys together with all their personalities, putting them in this situation works so well. It creates a range of emotions for the toys as well as some mild peril. At the same time it flows quite naturally, although you would think if the toys were really as alive as they seem, at some point that would get picked up on by someone. They have an awful lot of close calls, it would seem.

The comedy works real well and works for both children and adults in the audience. Some of the funniest jokes have to do with Buzz thinking and acting like he is a real Space Ranger. There are some funny sequences where things happen to the toys that make them fall apart, such as Mr. Potato Head trying to lift a Tinker-Toy weight and his arms pop up. These little details are what really help the movie be as endearing and holding up well to repeated viewings.

The voiceovers are great. All of them seem to infuse the characters with their own personalities a bit and it works. Tom Hanks voices Woody as confident, moving into a neurotic jealousy, frustrated that he can see that Buzz is in denial while everyone else goes along with him. Tim Allen is as boisterous as he was in his television show, and that overconfidence translates well when Buzz is asserting that he is, in fact, a Space Ranger and not a toy. Annie Potts, Don Rickles. Jim Varney, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, and Laurie Metcalfe all round out the voices for the supporting characters quite nicely.

Choosing toys that are familiar from our own childhood, especially to the adults in the audience, such as Mr. Potato-Head , Slinky-Dog, and Etch-a-Sketch was a stroke of genius. Practically everyone I know had an Etch-a-Sketch at some time and a Mr. Potato Head. Toy Story went a long way to helping to bolster sales of these toys in the ensuing years. However, Pixar and Disney both missed the boat in not creating a line of toys from the mutant versions in Sid’s room that everyone seemed to take to a whole lot more than anyone expected them to.

The music is great which also keeps the tone of the movie going so well. Randy Newman did the music as well as original songs such as You've Got a Friend In Me and Strange Things. Who knew after his mediocre recording career that he would go on to create so many terrific soundtracks? I think Toy Story is one of his best.

Toy Story was a landmark in terms of computer-generated animation. The animation is crisp with distinct lines. This marked a turning point with no more static backgrounds with the action taking place in front of it. Everything seems to flow, and watching it over and over means catching details missed previously or forgotten. All this keeps Toy Story very fresh.

I have watched Toy Story many times over the years with all three of my children. It appealed equally to the boys and girls and is a family favorite. Bring it home and it will be one for your family too.


Other "Family" movie & DVD reviews:

Aladdin ~ Cars ~ Corpse Bride ~ Finding Nemo ~ Ice Age ~ The Love Bug ~ Monsters, Inc. ~ Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams ~ The Three Musketeers ~ The Wild Thornberrys Movie ~ Yellow Submarine ~ Young Indiana Jones: Attack of the Hawkmen ~ Young Sherlock Holmes

Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White ~ Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White Volume 2 ~ Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color ~ Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color Volume 2 ~ Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald Volume One ~ Walt Disney Treasures: The Complete Pluto ~ Walt Disney Treasures: Behind the Scenes at the Walt Disney Studios ~ Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies ~ Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland USA


© 2008 Patti Aliventi


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