Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995)


[Voices] Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head), Jim Varney (Slinky Dog). Screenplay by Josh Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow. Directed by John Lasseter. Rating: PG. Running time: 83 minutes.

Fun this intense should be outlawed, for fear of driving kids senile in their excitement. Toy Story really is, quite simply, a film of pure, ecstatic joy. How else can I describe the scenes in Andy’s bright, playful bedroom, where his toys hang out and bicker over who will be joining them next when their owner’s birthday arrives, and with it brand new presents? Woody, a loveable cowboy Sheriff voiced by an amazingly lively Tom Hanks, is the leader of the pack, revered not only by Andy as top toy but also by Mr. Potato Head, a slinky dog, an anxious dinosaur and little Bo Peep amongst many others. The arrival of gizmo-galore action figure and space ranger Buzz Lightyear, who’s utterly convinced he can actually fly and has landed on some foreign planet, disturbs the camp somewhat as Woody jostles for Andy’s attention, and his pride hurts when the target for favouritism is altered. The adventure is created by a regretted trick on Woody’s part – to ensure Andy takes him to Pizza Planet for dinner one night, he gets Buzz knocked out of the window. Needless to say the other toys now turn on him, and Woody and Buzz end up out in the real world of fast cars and strangers, together but alone, Buzz intent on finding a spaceship and Woody desperate to get back.

The journey that unfolds is marvellous, from the Pizza Planet arcade where they’re picked up by Andy’s next door neighbour, a vicious kid named Sid who has a disturbing tendency to torture toys, to that boy’s Nazi-experiment style bedroom and finally out onto the street for a chase after the removal van (Andy’s moving house). Of course they make it back safe, and of course after all they’ve been through, they put their differences aside. Then they’re left clowning around at Christmas in Andy’s bedroom again, as the army of green soldiers spies downstairs on who will be joining them next. The ending credits roll up to the sound of ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me,’ and even here we remain in complete bliss. I realise all I’ve done is take you loosely through what happens. It was intentional. If any film defies analysis and asks you to just shut up and enjoy, it’s the original Pixar film, the original Toy Story. We really are all kids at heart.

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