Toy Story (1995) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
25Feb/110

Toy Story (1995)

I have been called "wordy" many times with my reviews and articles since I was in college.  So when I saw Toy Story was coming up for my 30 Years at the Top series I thought I would have no problem writing the article.  I love the film and it is probably my favorite film of all time if I really had to choose.  So why have I been struggling with writing this for a week and a half now?

One of the best duos ever in film

I think the easy answer is I don’t know where to start.  I love my kids, wife, family, but if you asked me why it would be hard to put into words.  I love them now, I have always loved them, I will always love them and Toy Story is the same way.   I saw this film over Thanksgiving when I was 14 years old, when you are that age liking a “kids film” means you are not old, sophisticated or manly.  Yet, I loved this film from the start and was evangelical in spreading that love after I saw the film.  The movie was the highest grossing film in America in 1995 mainly because there were a lot of people like me out in the world that saw the movie fell in love and did their best to make sure anyone they have ever spoken to or met went to see this film.  It was a personal goal to make sure all my friends, family, acquaintances and strangers on the street knew about Toy Story and went to see the movie.  To this day I still don’t understand when people tell me they have not seen the movie. Added to that I am pretty sure that I couldn’t be friends with someone who didn’t like the film.

I have talked about the fact that I LOVE the film but I have not said how or why, and this is where I have been running into trouble.  How do I convey what is so special about this film.  I have talked in previous podcasts about how magical I find the whole series and I have even named the toy solider scene one of my favorite moments in all of film, but I still don’t think this does justice to the movie.  Before even getting to what it so great about the actual film, the impact that it has had on the film industry is staggering.  Lets break down how Toy Story really changed the movie industry.

Who doesn't love these little guys?

  1. It brought us Pixar.  At the time Toy Story was released, no one knew what Pixar was.  Here was a company which was owned by Steve Jobs before he became (again) the great tech guru and they had won some awards for their shorts.  Even when the film was released you barely heard the name Pixar mentioned and most people (I would say 9 out of 10) thought it was a Disney film and not just distributed by Disney. At the time the Disney name was the selling point.  How that has changed in the last 15 years.  Pixar is such a big company and so marketable that the company can release anything with its name attached and gross over $200 million.  Comparing the last 5 Pixar films to comparable Disney and Dreamworks animated films; it shows that Pixar is above in quality and box office numbers.  You average the numbers on the last 5 films and Pixar has a box office of $276 million and a 92% good reviews.  Dreamworks averages at $196 million per film and 73% good reviews.  Trailing both of these companies, Disney has seen their average box office plummet to $129 million average for film and a score of 73% good ratings on their films.  Without Toy Story being as successful and great, who know what Pixar would have ultimately become?
  2. It ushered in the era of computer animation.  If you look at those same 15 movies (the last 5 of each company) only ONE of them was a traditional hand drawn film and that one was seen as a disappointment.  Although I don’t think the technical marvels on display are the reason people love Pixar so much, but it has taken over the film industry.  Now instead of computer animation being a novelty as it was when Toy Story came out, it is now unique to see hand drawn animation in either movies or TV.
  3. It was one of the first movies to make celebrity voice-overs “cool”.  Before this, you might see Billy Joel in Oliver & Company or Buddy Hackett in Little Mermaid but many A-list celebrities found this beneath them.  After Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, some of the biggest names at the time, did Toy Story and promoted it heavily it became ok and cool to do voiceovers.  Now, celebrities “star” in animated features with their names being on the posters (Shrek, Megamind, Madagascar etc…) and do voices for anything from animated TV shows to video games.
  4. Toy Story took animated films from the kiddie table to respected and critically acclaimed genre.  Many people might say that this was a step in the wrong direction and it just goes to further dumb down our culture.  I disagree with this greatly.  Since Toy Story animated films have been consistently some of the best-reviewed films, most profitable and most loved.  Although Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture, it was Toy Story and all of its animated brethren at Pixar (and to a lesser extent Dreamworks and Disney) that made the Oscars designate a specific category for animated films and treat the genre with much more respect.

 

The great supporting characters this film series has is astounding.

 

I have now said what Toy Story did for the movie industry, but I still have not gotten to why I love it so much.  Well here is a list:

  • One of the best screenplays ever.
  • Great voice acting
  • Most magical film ever
  • Beautiful animation
  • It was funny
  • It was sweet
  • It was exciting
  • It was something totally new
  • I couldn’t help but smile the whole time I watched it
  • I can still put it on when I am in a bad mood and feel better afterwards.
  • The Aliens
  • The Claw
  • Don Rickles was born to play Potato Head
  • John Ratzenberger was born to play Hamm
  • “Look I’m Woody, howdy, howdy, howdy” still cracks me up
  • The childhood wonder and glee the movie captures perfectly of playing with your toys.

 

I am at over 1100 words and I feel like I have scratched the surface of why I love Toy Story so much. If you haven’t watched the first film in a while, watch it again and relive the magic.  I truly believe there has never been a more delightful film ever made.

 

"Look, I'm Woody! Howdy, howdy, howdy!

Posted by Ryan

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