I am very excited to be doing a Pixar series, in which I discuss each of Pixar’s 13 feature animated films.
First up? Toy Story.
Toy Story is the first animated feature film from Pixar, which was released in 1995, and directed by John Lasseter. Following the success of their short Tin Toy in 1988, Pixar agreed to make adapt this story in to a feature-length production having been approached by Disney.
I am sure everyone reading this has already seen Toy Story, but for fear you have not, here is a basic plot summary (spoiler free).
Toy Story follows the adventures of Andy’s anthropomorphic toys. It is Andy’s birthday party and the toys eagerly await to hear what new toys Andy has received. The soon discover that Andy was gifted a Buzz Lightyear space ranger toy, which all of the toys are mesmerised by, all apart from Woody the cowboy, Andy’s favourite toy and leader of the toys. Woody quickly becomes jealous of Buzz and all the attention he is receiving, and is devastated when he is replaced by Buzz as Andy’s new favourite toy. In a bid to win back Andy’s affections, Woody semi-accidentally pushed Buzz out the window, and the story quickly becomes a rescue mission.
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
John Morris as Andy Davis
Erik von Detten as Sid Phillips
I love the fact that he is one of the main focuses of this film and yet his character is flawed. He is completely jealous of Buzz, and is a very proud character.
Buzz Lightyear, whose name was inspired by Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, is a space ranger, who believes he is the Buzz Lightyear. However, having seen an advertisement on the television, he realises he is just a toy.
Again I love the fact that Buzz is slightly egotistical and I love the love/hate relationship he and Woody experience throughout this film.
Rex is a Tyrannosaurus Rex who is constantly in a worried or anxious state, and is insecure about his lack of scariness. This causes him stress when Andy is opening his birthday presents, that he will be replaced by a scarier dinosaur.
I love Rex, he has some great one-liners as provides a great majority of comic relief in this film.
I love Mr. Potato Head. He is so sarcastic and cynical which again provides great comic relief. Just like Rex he has some great one-liners.
Sid Phillips is Andy’s next door neighbour who destroys toys for his own amusement.
It is interesting to note that he is the only person in this franchise who knows that the toys can talk.
A very important aspect of a film for me is the soundtrack, and Pixar did not fail to deliver when they gave us Randy Newman.
Interestingly, Disney wanted Toy Story to be a musical, but John Lasseter (director and writer) and Joss Whedon (writer) thought Toy Story would make a terrible musical (and I have to say I agree with them). So Disney and Pixar reached a compromise by having music in the film in order to further express the characters emotions, however, the characters themselves would not be the ones singing.
Randy Newman was solely responsible for the score of this film, which includes a very famous number you may have heard of…i.e. ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’. If someone were to make a soundtrack for my childhood this song would definitely be on there, and I’m sure many others would agree with me.
This is really tough. Pixar really outdid themselves with these characters. Every one of them has a different character and very witty lines.
Honestly, I can’t decide my favourite character in this film. It’s a two-way toss-up between Mr. Potato Head and Rex.
Mr Potato Head has some fantastic one liners, and he is very sarcastic, which I find very alluring and hilarious. His face at the end when (mini spoiler alert) Molly gets a Mrs. Potato Head for Christmas was priceless. Very strong character. Love him. I think my love for Mr. Potato Head also stems from my own childhood toys, I had four Mr. and Mrs. Potato heads and they were one of my favourite toys.
Then we come to Rex. How can anyone not love Rex? He may be the obvious choice for everyone’s favourite character, but hey, let’s face it, there is a very good reason for this. Not only is he a dinosaur, (because hey, dinosaur’s are awesome), he is oh so loveable when he worries Andy will replace him for a scarier dinosaur, and also he is anxious a lot of the time which makes me love him even more. Like Mr. Potato Head, Rex has some great one-liners.
Toy Story has a lot of very funny one liners, with a lot of puns, which made it very difficult to choose just one favourite quote, but since I was cheeky enough to pick two favourite characters, I’ll only pick one quote. I have to say my all time favourite has to be this one by Mr. Potato Head. Maybe it’s just the artist in me, I don’t know, but it gets me every time!
I think my favourite scene of this whole movie is actually at the beginning when Andy is having his birthday party and the toys are listening in on the baby monitor to hear what other toys will be joining them (or if any of them have to worry about getting replaced).
Not only is it a great scene for the animation side of it (what with close-ups of all the wood grains and the movement of the plastic soldiers), it also settles us into the characters of these toys, and overall I just really enjoyed this scene.
Similarly, I also really enjoyed the closing scene when Andy and Molly are opening their Christmas presents and Molly receives a Mrs. Potato Head.
If you are unaware as to what A113 is, it is an Easter egg (inside joke) that is present in all 13 of the Pixar animated feature films.
A113 stands for the number of the classroom used for graphic design and character animation in the school used by John Lasseter and Brad Bird.
A113 appears in Toy Story on Andy’s mom’s car licence plate.
- There is a hidden Mickey Mouse on a wall clock in Andy’s room.
- Pixar wanted Jim Carrey to play Buzz Lightyear but couldn’t afford him due to their low budget.
- Billy Crystal was approached by Pixar to voice Buzz Lightyear but declined. He later said this was the biggest mistake of his career.
- The original title of the movie was ‘You Are A Toy’. All I can say is thank goodness they changed it!
- Buzz Lightyear’s original name was Lunar Larry
- Many of the books on the shelf in Andy’s room are titles of Pixar shorts.
- The carpet in Sid’s house is modeled after the carpet in the hotel in the film The Shining.
- All of the cars in Toy Story have a licence plate of November 1995, when the movie was released.
- This is the only Pixar film to have full opening credits.
- The toolbox on top of the milk crate that Woody is trapped in is a Binford, the same type of tool that Tim Allen used on his television show Home Improvement.
- When Woody is sitting on the bed talking with Slinky, there is a drawing of him on the wall behind them. This is actually an early sketch of the Woody character.
I loved this film, it’s pretty much the film of my childhood seeing as I was 3 when this film was first released, I grew up with Toy Story. If you have not seen this film, you need to check it out. You don’t know what you’re missing!
Next in this series: A Bug’s Life