003797Reviews & Counting
Toy Story (SE)
DVD disk
10.04.2005 By: Adam J. Hakari
Toy Story (SE) order
John Lasseter

Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Don Rickles


star Printer-Friendly version
Cowboy doll Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has enjoyed a life of being the most prized toy in his owner Andy’s collection, as well as the de facto leader of the other toys. But on Andy’s latest birthday, in comes Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen), a cool-ass astronaut action figure who quickly takes Woody’s place as the coolest toy ever. Woody becomes filled with jealousy, but his attempts to take Buzz out of the picture end up getting both toys lost, forcing them to put their differences aside in order to make it back home before Andy moves away.
Back when it was first released in 1995, TOY STORY really was something, and ten years later, it’s still as awesome as it ever was. I remember seeing the flick for the first time when I was 11 and being blown away by not just the crisp animation but by how sharp the writing was and how un-pandering the story was. It was around that time THAT I started my metamorphosis into the schlubby cinephile I am now, so I was pleased as punch to see a Disney movie that didn’t have cutesy, hyperactive animals putting on twenty-minute musical numbers. TOY STORY has at its foundation a very keen sense of humor, inspiring childhood memories with the mere sight of its cast of toy characters and getting good laughs by applying the question, “What kind of lives do the toys lead when they’re not being played with?” Every second of the film flows with creative energy, the home viewer sensing the idea that the filmmakers weren’t on autopilot and fully committed themselves to making as perfect and enjoyable a film as they could. There’s liveliness through any angle you look at the film, whether it be the eye-catching animation or the pitch-perfect voice casting. The actors do a great job of capturing the essence of their characters and helping their performances really come through their animated personas, especially Hanks and Allen in their respective iconic roles of Woody and Buzz (see, Tim Allen really did put in an effort before CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS crushed the last of his dignity).

The best part about TOY STORY, though, is that not only did Pixar Studios make history by creating the first feature-length computer-animated film, they made a wholly appealing film filled with equal parts humor, action, drama, and sheer awe that had an effect on people of all ages. Kids will enjoy the adventures the bickering toys embark on and get a little taste of darkness in terms of story direction, (the introduction to the mutated toys in a nasty kid’s room is as dementedly inventive as ever), while adults can admire the quality of the animation and how well-organized the story is. Very intriguing was the hierarchy given to Andy’s toys, how each of them had an assigned role, which served as surprisingly touching plot conflict once the worn-out cowboy Woody found his thunder being stolen by Buzz, a pricey piece of plastic with all the bells and whistles you can think of. TOY STORY surprises the viewer with how easily it can draw you in with how colorful the characters and settings are, then turn around and tug on your ol’ heartstrings a little with a plot more interesting than most animated films are given.

Almost ten years ago, TOY STORY excited me and entertained me as a kid, and today, it’s still a flawless, funny, and nostalgic wonder to behold. It remains one of the highest-profile films of its kind to prove that feature-length cartoons weren’t just for kids only; no matter how small a touch it may be, TOY STORY provides a little something for everybody, which is what has helped the film hold up so well after a decade and will continue to do so for years to come.
F*ck me sideways with a chainsaw, because if you want extras, this puppy has ‘em…


Intro: TOY STORY director John Lasseter gives a quick introduction to the flick.

The Legacy: An 11-minute featurette that provides a rather swift rundown of the cultural impact TOY STORY had over the past decade.

We also get a handful of trailers (including a look at the upcoming Pixar project CARS) and a commentary track with director John Lassester, co-screenwriter Andrew Stanton, co-screenwriter Pete Docter, art director Ralph Eggleston, animator Bill Reeves, and producers Bonnie Arnold and Ralph Guggenheim.


Now this is where the good stuff is at…

Making Toy Story: A 20-minute making-of documentary filmed back around when TOY STORY first came out.

Filmmakers Reflect: A 16-minute talk amongst Lasseter, Stanton, Docter, and the late, great Joe Ranft, reflecting on the process of making the film.

Deleted Scenes: An interesting selection of deleted storyboard ideas and animated sequences that almost made it to the final TOY STORY product, but not quite (the extended Sid/torture scene was pretty brief, but fun).

Behind the Scenes: Want to know something about TOY STORY? If you can think of it, you’ll find it in this section, which breaks down the film’s design, story development, production, music/sound, and publicity into their own series’ of mini-documentaries and galleries. There’s also a six-minute “Designing Toy Story” featurette that talk about making the flick look like it did. This section heavily focuses on the technical aspects of making TOY STORY, so there’s enough so that you can take an afternoon off and explore (though the Randy Newman music demos had me going nuts after a few minutes).

“The Claw!” Game: A fun little game where you pick up various TOY STORY characters with the legendary, quarter-stealing Claw Machine.

Also scattered throughout this disc are little cartoons featuring the TOY STORY characters. They can be found by highlighting and clicking on one of the little sheriff stars located in every menu. But if you’d rather not hunt for hours, just go to the Index menu, and there’ll be a list of all the vignettes.
I’m always glad to see a favorite movie of mine get treated like a king on DVD (though Universal could’ve done a better job on their re-issue of THE STING…I won’t stop writing you guys…), and TOY STORY is no exception. The film itself looks as sharp as ever and remains just as entertaining, and the extras do a damn fine job of allowing the viewer to poke around every nook and cranny of the production. That’ll do, Disney. That’ll do.
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