Toy Story uses state of the art computer effects to tell its story
Toy Story is one of those few gems that comes around once in a decade. Last decade was Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which combined real actors with animated characters convincingly. However, Toy Story blows Roger Rabbit away. The animation in this movie is so sleek and new that Disney can put another trophy on its mantle (after a thoughtful critic (sarcasm intended) noted that Disney did produce the film, I have since changed my review). What is also different about this movie is the story. It has one of the best plots ever for a cartoon and much better than lots of the live action movies out today. Since the film is a visual experience, I won't be giving away much by telling you the story.
The movie opens with a shot of a bedroom. The room is filled with toys and, after the boy leaves, the toys come to life. When I was a kid, I always believed that toys would come to life after I had left the room. This movie uses that imagination in a very creative way. The head of all the toys is Woody, a pull-string cowboy, who is the kid's favorite toy. He is voiced by Tom Hanks.
As the boy's birthday comes about, the toys worry that they will be replaced with the new toys. So Woody sends his (toy) soldiers out to look at the gifts. They use a baby monitor to send messages back to the bedroom. They hide in the plant and watch the birthday party. The boy gets a mysterious gift, but they don't know what it is. They boy runs upstairs with it. He pushes Woody off the bed and replaces him with the new toy.
Woody climbs onto the bed and sees the new toy: Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen). Buzz comes to life and thinks that he is the actual Buzz Lightyear. Woody knows that he is a toy and tries to convince him that he is one. Buzz won't believe it and gets the admiration of the toys by showing them that he can shoot a lazer and even fly. Woody becomes extremely jealous and angry. However, when Woody pushes Buzz out a window, the toys turn against Woody. This is where the fun of the movie begins.
They both end up at a kid's amusement place where Buzz gets trapped in a crane machine with a whole bunch of aliens. They like him but then the evil kid from next door comes to the machine. He sees the Buzz Lightyear and wants it. He gets the toy and takes it home. Woody knows what will happen to Buzz if he doesn't save him.
The sequence in the evil kid's house is the most original I have ever seen. There are mismatched toys that the boy has rearranged, including an erector set with a doll's head, a fishing pole with legs, and some other crazy, but scary toys. The escape is a great one and is filled with excitement.
Toy Story, made by Pixar, is an ingenious film with wonderful visual treats for the eye and some very funny parts. You can't see the film once because there is so much to look at. I keep finding different things that I had missed the first time I saw it. It's almost like a Where's Waldo puzzle, only better. The movie took 4 years to make, but I hope they make more like it. This has to be one of the best films of the year.
Toy Story is rated G. There is nothing offensive in it, though it might be a little scary for younger kids in the evil kid's house. The movie is filled with visual gags but none are vulgar. The humor is more of an adult-type humor but kids will enjoy the visual style of the film and even, maybe, the story.
**** out of ****
Reviews by Boyd Petrie