Woody (Tom Hanks), a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy (John Morris), sees his position as Andy’s favorite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet. When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of maladjusted neighbor Sid Phillips (Erik von Detten) and reunite with their boy.
When you were a kid, there was probably nothing better in the whole entire world than playing with your favorite toy. It was one of the most magical feelings in the universe as a child. Maybe you’re having a bad day or maybe you’re just bored and want to do something to pass the time – playing with your favorite toy was never a bad idea.
Growing up, I played with a ton of toys whether it was action figures, cars, and trucks such as Hot Wheels sets, LEGO sets, and more. I frequently asked for toys for Christmas presents when I was a child, and whenever I got one, I was over the moon. I played with the new toys I got for months on end and never grew tired of them.
To put it simply – the joy you get as a child from playing with your favorite toys is extremely difficult to put into words. It seems the folks over at Pixar felt the same way because they made an entire movie about the joys of playing with your toys and the various misadventures these fictional toys get up to in John Lasseter’s 1995 animated classic Toy Story.
Pixar has been well-known for making movies that are filled with a ton of joy but also plenty of emotion that will make even the toughest of adults get choked up during certain scenes. Surprisingly enough, this first initial Toy Story film doesn’t go too far into the emotional section, despite the later installments fully committing to that. But just because this movie doesn’t have any serious emotional beats doesn’t make it anything less than a masterpiece.
The voices of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato Head, and company are some of the most recognizable voices in animated movie history. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Don Rickles deliver remarkable voice performances that, in my opinion, simply cannot be replaced. These actors’ voices are iconic for these characters and were partly responsible for creating such a great childhood for so many kids.
And really, those characters, in general, are some of the most recognizable in pop culture. Woody would have to be my personal favorite, but I love the things they did with Buzz Lightyear the most. When he makes his first appearance in Toy Story, he genuinely thinks that he is an actual space ranger sent from space to protect planet Earth. The reaction from the toys, Woody, in particular, is absolutely hysterical. Despite Woody making numerous attempts at trying to convince Buzz that he is just a toy, it never works. The dynamic between all of these characters is pure dynamite.
Plus, the animation on display is truly stunning, especially for a 1995 movie. Every time I watch the Toy Story movies, it boggles my mind to sit back and think about the fact that a team of extremely hard-working people actually have to spend hundreds of hours working on just a scene or two, let alone an entire feature film. Simply put, Pixar isn’t known as one of the greatest animation studios of all-time for no reason.
With its hilarious script, funny characters, great voice acting, and excellent animation, Toy Story will forever remain an animated classic.
Overall Grade: A+
MPAA Rating: G
Directed by: John Lasseter
Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Running Time: 81 minutes