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Overall Rating
4.64

Awesome84.27%
Worth A Look: 6.74%
Just Average: 3.37%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 5.62%

2 reviews, 77 user ratings


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Toy Story
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by brianorndorf

"They've made a friend in me"
5 stars

While helped along by an energetic marketing campaign and widespread media attention, “Toy Story” was still a major industry question mark when it opened in November of 1995. The first CG-animated feature film, “Toy Story” walked a very specific tightrope of expectation, introducing a cinematic tool and language that nobody expected much from. Upon release, the clarity was blinding: Pixar had created an instant classic set to revolutionize animated entertainment.

For the toys in Andy’s room, cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) is king. As the leader and top plaything, Woody makes it his job to keep order among the plastic distractions, which include piggybank Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (Jim Varney), Bo Peep (Annie Potts), and neurotic dinosaur, Rex (Wallace Shawn). With Andy’s birthday comes the arrival of Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), a sci-fi action figure who has no idea that he’s just a toy. Stealing Andy’s attention, Woody grows jealous of Buzz, and, in an effort to get rid of the delusional spaceman, accidently jettisons him from the house. Hoping to rescue Buzz and restore what’s left of his reputation, Woody heads out into the world, finding a horror much worse than abandonment: vicious, toy-mangling neighbor kid, Sid (Erik von Detten).

Now established as a brand name of sometimes exceptional family entertainment, Pixar was young and hungry during the first “Toy Story” years. The worry shows in the picture, which has remained the most free-spirited, hilarious, and poignant feature film to ever emerge from the studio. It’s a magnificent film, created with a then unproven playful spirit that merges broad cartoon antics with an endearing eye toward nostalgia -- the heartbreaking years when wonder turns to knowledge and maturation.

Director John Lasseter, working in a medium that had no established boundaries, shows such care for his characters, and that joy for this colorful spectrum of personalities leaps right off the screen. While tentatively luring and shaping the CG animation away from its short-film lineage, Lasseter deftly juggles the visual dexterity of the film with sucker-punch emotional content that has come to define Pixar’s touch, for better and worse. Woody, Buzz, and the gang are comedic devices with slapstick urges, but they also represent a potent nostalgic lightning strike for older viewers, inviting warm memories of afternoons lost playing with beloved toys. Lose the silliness and artful animation, and a core of crippling sentiment is left behind, nursed superbly by Pixar in a sparkling, innovative manner they’ve never matched. They lunged for the young and the young-at-heart with this one. What a brilliant way to kickstart a studio.

While the Pixar wizards supplied some amazing work here, the voice casting makes up at least 50% of the experience. A cornucopia of gracious, wry vocal performances, the cast of “Toy Story” reinforce everything Lasseter angles for with his direction. Can you imagine Woody without Hanks? Delivering some of his most cartwheeling acting as the disgruntled cowboy, Hanks makes “Toy Story” as engaging, uproarious, and convincing as humanly possible, spitting out the comedic venom and aw shucks resignation of Woody in a blustery, chirpy, projected performance that I’ve never been able to get enough of. Obviously it’s a tremendous, now-classic ensemble, and Allen is winning as the heroic, clueless space ranger, but Hanks devours the film as Woody, grabbing the biggest laughs and slam-dunking all lump-in-the-throat moments Lasseter throws into the mix.

14 years later (ouch), “Toy Story” reveals some stiff animation and wonderful faith in cartoony behaviors. Those aren’t complaints, it’s more of a yearning for simpler times when Pixar was run in a state of panic and untested creativity, pouring its heart out into the unknown, with industry-dominating success only a pipe dream. “Toy Story,” with its frantic energy, earned pathos, demented touches, and a breakneck chase finale (a truly classic final reel if there ever was one), is such a pure offering of entertainment, losing none of its appeal over the years. Even the skin-crawlingly overplayed Randy Newman songs (the ubiquitous anthem, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”) feel welcome in their proper screen placement. “Toy Story” was a surprise multiplex gift in 1995, and remains an exhilarating legend today.

And to think, all those years ago, some people swore a CG-animated film would never work.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=2472&reviewer=404
originally posted: 10/16/09 09:25:43
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

2/18/15 yulfiana stupid film 1 stars
1/06/15 brandon very childish movie 1 stars
1/05/15 gtox i asleep when i watch this movie 1 stars
8/24/13 Dr Devil One of the best CGI films ever. Budget films won't ever top this. 5 stars
10/18/11 Magic Widely known to be Pixar's masterpiece. And for good reason. 5 stars
1/09/11 Pamela White well done story with all my childhood favorite toys 5 stars
11/28/09 Aaron Commareri Awesome! 5 stars
8/30/09 Samantha Pruitt awesome movie, definitely not jsut for kids, a for sure classic! 5 stars
9/22/08 don Pixar's best 5 stars
5/27/08 PAUL SHORTT ONE OF THE FUNNIEST, EXCITING AND GENUINELY MOVING STORIES EVER COMMITED TO FILM 5 stars
3/01/08 Pamela White darling movie brought up childhood memories 5 stars
1/15/07 David Pollastrini great fx 4 stars
9/21/06 ProSneakyD The king of CG, funny & lightyears ahead for kids & adults, a classic to infinity & beyond 5 stars
8/16/06 David Cohen Brilliant, a rare example of a "family" film the whole family can enjoy 5 stars
6/10/06 Chris Hate to go with the majority but this is defintly on my top 20 list. Offers only the best. 5 stars
5/17/06 Ouchy wouchy bang bang No matter what, it's better than all the Pixar films 5 stars
4/02/06 JRE watch it. it's sooooo good 5 stars
4/01/06 chris f very good 5 stars
3/02/06 Anthony Feor Words can't describe 5 stars
12/30/05 Ronin Great, really really great :) highly recommended 5 stars
11/16/05 Mark Radburn An Absolute MasterPiece 5 stars
11/15/05 Adrian Introduces you to its world, then...you don't want to leave. 5 stars
7/21/05 Quigley a movie you will never stop loving. see it, see it, see it 5 stars
6/22/05 darick Worth watching many times over (1995, 1999, 2001, etc.) 5 stars
4/11/05 Paul A classic, one of my favorites and I recommend seeing it. 5 stars
2/05/05 clinger26 yes!!!!!! 5 stars
12/28/04 t-1000 this is the funniest pixar movie; the sequel has more action, though 5 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams made me a Disney believer again 5 stars
11/16/04 Gooey HELP! 1 stars
7/09/04 EricDSnider Brilliant, funny, nearly a perfect movie. 5 stars
6/03/04 Daveman Not as good as the second film, but still brilliant. 5 stars
6/01/04 876 To infinity and beyond!!! 4 stars
5/16/04 DM I loved it when I was 6 and I still do 5 stars
5/14/04 Read it, Seen it, Done it Pixar's first film...He shoots, he scores! 5 stars
5/07/04 gray charming 5 stars
2/28/04 Littlepurch The 2nd was better but, hey, it would never have been made if not for this!!! 4 stars
12/09/03 Ray This one is a classic 5 stars
12/07/03 john brilliant concept! 5 stars
11/12/03 jimmy d toy story was awonderful movie full of laughs until i was shot in the theater............. 5 stars
9/24/03 jimmy d the movie was very good, but i had to beat my child for screaming at the theater 5 stars
8/30/03 Double G Best one of series, didn't really like 2nd 5 stars
6/14/03 Alice Top !! YOU'R A TOY !!!! 5 stars
6/11/03 Kyle Kicks ass. 5 stars
6/10/03 Jon Lyrik I've LOVED this movie for years. 5 stars
12/07/02 Jay The best computer-animated movie. 5 stars
10/18/02 Charles Tatum Freakin' hilarious 5 stars
7/26/02 I Can't Swim Why does this site allow 6 year olds to post comments? See below! 5 stars
7/09/02 Henry Ginsberg HAG I love sex toy story 'BBBBBBBBBBBBBUUUUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ' 5 stars
6/15/02 Justin The best fucking animated movie ever! Whoever doesn't like it is a faggot! 5 stars
6/13/02 erick HILARIOUS! 5 stars
4/13/02 oldgoatmon very cute and pretty witty. 4 stars
10/27/01 Andrew Carden Why Couldn't They Just Have A Movie About The Pig??? 3 stars
8/07/01 Amy Tippett wow 5 stars
8/06/01 Ted Villavicencio good plot, funny and groundbreaking animation 5 stars
8/06/01 Joe Zappa One of the best animated movies in the history of anything. So was "Toy Story 2." 5 stars
5/07/01 Desert Eagle good, for a disney 4 stars
4/09/01 Gary This was a hilarious movie. 5 stars
3/20/01 M.C.A Easily the best movie of 1995 5 stars
3/11/01 james "bite me" womack why cant all animated movies be paced this well? i, as a parent, would appreciate more 5 stars
2/15/01 Richard Wright One the most perfect films I've seen. Better than the sequel, no question. 5 stars
2/04/01 Avenger Girl Totally Awesome, a great picture for kids and big kids at heart 5 stars
12/26/00 Turtle A wonderfully crafted movie! Disney at its best! 4 stars
11/02/00 buzz still the best Pixar film yet! 5 stars
11/01/00 viking a land mark movie !!! 5 stars
8/09/00 Carsten Sux! 1 stars
6/26/00 Guy Nameless Wallace Shawn and Jim Varney kick ass 5 stars
5/26/00 master.node Good looking, but ultimately little more than fluff. 3 stars
5/25/00 LoonyGoon True entertainment for children and adults alike. A masterpiece. 5 stars
5/06/00 Klute. An animation landmark and a tale that will still be fresh in twenty years. 5 stars
4/10/00 Elvisfan Of course it was great. I'm not a corpse, for Christs sake 5 stars
3/18/00 Skye Chapman fun and amazing 5 stars
3/08/00 David Rogers Very, very, very, (it just goes on like this) very fast. Makes you dizzy. 3 stars
3/01/00 Heather I love this movie! 5 stars
2/29/00 Mic Thoroughly entertaining and enlightening, what more could you ask? 5 stars
2/26/00 Jed One of disney's best modern animated movies 5 stars
2/12/00 Richard Wright Even better than the sequel, which was brilliant in itself. An animated masterpiece. 5 stars
10/31/99 Ann 'This is ludicrous'-nope, just a modern classic 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Nov-1995 (G)
  DVD: 23-Mar-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  John Lasseter

Written by
  Joss Whedon
  Andrew Stanton
  Joel Cohen
  Alec Sokolow

Cast
  Tom Hanks
  Tim Allen
  Don Rickles
  Wallace Shawn
  Annie Potts
  Jim Varney



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