Since “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs” of 1937 and “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939, there has not been any great children, family or animation film until “Toy Story” that in 1995 broke the silence and traditions of filmmaking by being the first entirely computer generated animation feature film. The film deserted the animated cartoons and started a new trend of computer generated animation as a new fashion in cinema that was repeated in so many future films such as “Finding Nemo”, “The Incredibles”, “Brave”, “Coco”, “Monsters Inc.”, “Cars”, “Monster University”, “The Good Dinosaur”, “Finding Dory”, “Up” and three more editions of “Toy Story” including the most recently “Toy Story 4” currently on the screen. The above short list all produced by the “Pixar Animation Studios” and mostly nominated or winners of academy awards.
Pixar that started in 1974 in New York Institute of Technology by Alexander Schure who established a computer graphic lab to create the first computer-animated film. But the task was ambitious and the science of computer had not developed much then, even with the financial help of Lucasfilm, then Apple Inc. and its founder Steve Jobs who invested his own money in Pixar, after being fired from Apple. It was not until the major assistance and investment by Disney Studios that made possible the total computer-generated animation beyond experimental and short films in a major feature film of “Toy Story”. Created by John Lasseter as his feature film debut who also co-wrote the script, “Toy Story” has used the voice of veteran actors such as Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Don Rickles (Potato Head), John Morris (Andy), R. Lee Ermey (Sergeant, the leader of a large troop of plastic green army men) among others. “Toy Story” brought animation more to life and while the human figures in the film such as the boy Andy and others look unreal or dolls like, enlivening the toys to have lives of their own, walk, talk, getting into actions, fight and having emotions, was a total innovation and novelty.
Toy Story: A New Beginning
The film opens with Andy, a young boy on his birthday playing and torturing his toys. When on their own, the toys have their own free lives and under the leadership of the cowboy sheriff Woody have daily meetings and manage their errands as much as they could. All worried to be replaced with the new toy gifts brought by the guest at the birthday party, Woody sends a troop of plastic green army men under their leader, Sergeant to carry downstairs a baby monitor to find out about the new toys and if they will be replaced. At the end no toys have been replaced, but a new toy, the Buzz Lightyear who believes to be a real space ranger joins the bunch and becomes Woody’s rival in the leadership.
The other toys seeing Buzz Lightyear, having so many electronic gadgets attached to his spacesuit get the second thought about changing the old fashioned Woody as their leader. Woody throws Buzz out of the bedroom window that angers the toys and they protest against him as they are also afraid to be terminated by him next. When Andy boy takes Woody with him in his mom’s car leaving the house for a pizza dinning, Buzz fallen in the bushes downstairs jumps in the back of the car and leaves with them. The car Stopping at a gas station, Buzz and Woody get into a fight and out of the car and when finally making peace, the car has already left them stranded. Both toys soon find a pizza delivery truck and jump on to get to the restaurant and Andy, but they are picked up by his neighbor, Sid who’s sadistic with his toys.
While both are stuck in Sid’s house and trying to go back home to Andy, Buzz Lightyear who still believes to be a real space ranger and would like to go back to his real home in space and joins his kinds, watches a commercial on TV about his toy kinds and realizes that he’s not real, but a toy like the others. Depressed and disappointed with himself and trying to fly, he falls and breaks his arm. Now Woody empathetic, trying to take both back home across, is not believed by Andy’s other toys who when see him holding Buzz’ arm suspecting that he has been killed by him. Woody still tries to comfort Buzz that after all being a toy is not a bad thing and that he’s a cool toy with many gadgets and loved and wanted more than him who’s a simple and old toy. Woody with the help of Sid’s other toys arranges a mission to return home, so when Sid is about to burn Woody on a barbecue, all the toys in a concerted effort attack the boy and rescue him.
As soon as Woody and Buzz are freed to go back home across to Andy’s, the family is on the move to a new house as their house has already been sold. Jumping on the back of the moving truck where all Andy’s toys are in boxes following the family’s car, they are chased by Sid’s vicious dog. In an action packed series of events, first Buzz tries to help Woody who’s grabbed by the dog, then Woody helps Buzz who’s in the process of rescuing him, has fallen off the truck and at the mercy of the dog. Woody falls of the moving truck in the attempt of rescuing Buzz, but both finally manage to fly and land inside the family car in a box right beside Andy. In the final scene, the toys are in Andy’s bedroom of the new house at Christmas time, where Woody is approached by the female doll toy with a happy season kiss.
With a budget of $30 million, the film earned more than 10 times at the box office $373.6 million, and became the highest grossing domestic film of 1995, beating “Batman for ever”, “Apollo 13”, “Pocahontas” “Casper” and James Bond’s “Golden Eye”. Considered by many as one of the best animated films ever made, “Toy Story” has won a special achievement academy award and is one of the rare films to have 100% approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes site out of 84 reviews and similarly on the other sites and by the most film critics. Ranking 99 at AFI’s second edition in 2007, it has been hailed as the greatest animated film of all time by “Online Film Critics Society” in 2003, “Toy Story” is the prototype of a new generation animated films for all ages from young children to elderly. Beyond the first computerized animation film, the idea of enlivening toys, creating action, rivalry, jealousy and competition, cooperation, even emotions, and above all so many years of many people’s efforts to finalize a dream, “Toy Story” deserves to be one of the greatest films of all time.
In closing remarks “Toy Story” one more time will be redefined based on the following criteria:
- Originality: “Toy Story” is original in being the first totally computer-generated animated feature film.
- Technicality: While “Toy Story” is all technicality by scientists and technicians behind computers, it is also an idea of enlivening the lifeless objects such as toys with actions and emotions.
- Impact Factor: The influence of “Toy Story” has been on any computer-generated animated films released on the screen after their frontier.
- Survival: “Toy Story” has survived well to this very day so that it has made it successfully to its 4th edition currently on the screen and still being lauded by most film critics, historians and above all by the audience across the world as one of their most favorite films of all time.