If you go back and look at it you can see just how far cgi animation has come, too. The most notable difference is the humans. In Toy Story they are obviously not real and their time on screen was minimized. By the time Toy Story 3 was done, the animation had advanced greatly and Pixar gave more screen time to human characters.
The thing that many studios overlook when pumping out animated movie after animated movie, is that it wasn’t the animation that made people watch Toy Story over and over; it was the writing. Pixar had already won an Academy Award for short form animation because of their writing and they decided to move into the feature movie realm. One of the credited writers on Toy Story was Joss Whedon, even though he did not work for Pixar. The writing team received an Academy Award nomination for Toy Story.
The premise of the movie is that toys are actually alive. They just pretend to be lifeless when humans are around. Once humans are gone they have their own get-togethers, games, relationships, etc. When the movie opens there is an established pecking order with Woody (a cowboy) being the favorite toy and therefore the leader. This is disrupted when a new spaceman toy, named Buzz Lightyear, is given to the boy. He’s popular with the other toys, too. A running joke is that he thinks he’s a real spaceman, not a toy, and Woody can’t convince him otherwise.
They both end up in a perilous situation with the awful kid next door. They also have to get back to the house they started in because the whole family is moving to a new house. It’s a little scary, but nothing that the little kids can’t handle.
The movie produced lines that entered the public consciousness like “To infinity and beyond”, “This isn’t flying; this is falling with style”, and “The clawwwwwwww”.
There were several toys that appeared in the movie that were designed to appeal to grownups who had had them when they were kids. Among these were Mr. Potato Head and the little green army soldiers. Showing just how shortsighted a lot of executives are, the company that owned Barbie refused to let her appear in the movie. By the time the second movie was being made they were falling all over themselves to get Barbie into it. By the third movie there’s a whole Barbie meets Ken subplot.
Pixar found it almost impossible to work out a toy deal for the new toys they had created, too. They finally found a man who financed part of the production himself. In the second Toy Story movie there’s a line referring to the shortage of Buzz Lightyear dolls because of shortsightedness of retailers – spoken by none other than Tour Guide Barbie.
This movie also featured a pizza delivery truck from Pizza Planet which has since appeared, in one form or another, in every single Pixar movie that has been made.
Toy Story was followed four years later by Toy Story 2, a movie that was even better than the original. Finally, Toy Story 3 followed in 2010 and is the best of the three. (You can read my reviews of them by clicking on the titles in the previous sentences.)
I highly recommend Toy Story to anyone who has not seen it. You should definitely watch all three movies, actually.
Chip’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars