best films: #20: TOY STORY (1995)
You know, it seems only fitting with the re-igniting of Toy Story mania thanks to its most-recent, stellar outing and the incoming DVD release of Toy Story 3 next week that it would be high time to honor one of the all-time greatest kids movies. The original Toy Story was the advent of what has truly become the modern animated movie. Though many have attempted to re-create that first-time, magical feeling of the full-length, computer-animated movie, the genre has mostly been filled with wannabes. Toy Story was a simple premise – when a new, fancier toy descends upon Andy’s bedroom, top dog Woody’s reaction is sour at best. And when Woody and new toy Buzz get lost in the city, their travails back to Andy’s room are nothing short of legendary. Reminiscing back a bit to the more imaginative movies of my childhood – namely Honey I Shrunk the Kids – in Toy Story, we’re taken to an entirely new perspective where a child’s globe becomes the terrifying boulder from Raiders of the Lost Ark and the dismembering of dolls and action figures becomes the start of a disturbing toy torture chamber. Pixar made the trivial seem larger than life, and they did such a vividly colorful job of depicting it. And thanks to an expertly written story with dialogue way better than most animated films were willing to offer up to children and their not-typically-enthused parental drag-alongs and a host of delightful characters and nostalgic throwbacks (Mr. Potato Head! Etch-A-Sketch! Speak & Spell!) Toy Story becomes an virtually unending feast for the eyes and mind.