Soul Review

Soul movie posterSynopsis
Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a middle school band teacher and an aspiring musician looking for his big break. When he gets the opportunity he has been waiting for, he has an accident and finds his soul heading towards the Great Beyond. Not ready to move on, he escapes to the Great Before, where he meets the young soul 22 (Tina Fey) and together they try to return Joe’s soul to his body.

Review
Over the years, Pixar has told a variety of stories that have all been unique in their own way. Keeping with that trend, Soul is unlike any film Pixar has made before; the studio continues to find new and original stories to tell. This movie manages to stand out among Pixar’s other films as a masterful study of one’s perception of their purpose in life. It might not be the most kid-accessible plot but it is approached in a way that is meaningful to all ages.

Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a musician who never quite got his big break. In between going to various auditions, Joe became a middle school band teacher. He enjoys being a teacher but nonetheless feels unfulfilled and still chases his aspirations of becoming a musician. When a former student, Curley (Questlove), calls Joe and invites him to audition for his quartet, Joe feels could finally be the break he has been looking for. At the audition, Joe gets lost in the music and makes a good impression on the quartets leader, Dorothea (Angela Bassett), who asks him to return later that night for the show.

The strength of these first few scenes is they expertly set up several characters and threads that will be important throughout the rest of the film. Just before going to the audition, we see the dynamic between Joe and his mother, Libba (Phylicia Rashad), who wants her son to find a stable job and not a career with the uncertainty that comes with being a full-time musician. It is clear that they have a strained relationship. It is also clear that Joe has respect for his mother and wants to make her happy but at the same time, wants to be allowed to follow his dreams and do what makes him happy. We see Joe’s passion for music as well when he zones out while playing the piano during his audition. His passion is seen, not just heard. We, as the audience, are pulled into his love of music and can feel how much Joe enjoys playing piano; we understand how important this opportunity is to Joe.

Excited to be offered the job he has been waiting for, Joe hurries home but in his rush, he becomes distracted and falls into an open manhole. He wakes up as a soul going towards a giant light in the Great Beyond. Not ready to pass on before getting his big break, he tries to escape from the Great Beyond and finds himself in the Great Before, the place where young souls reside before going to Earth. As Joe travels between the Great Beyond and the Great Before, we get the first glimpse at how varied the animation of this film his. The sequence of Joe falling was very Kubrick-esque to me, being both entrancing and intriguing at the same time. Once in the Great Before, the style of animation is much more fluid and abstract that the realism seen in the New York City sequences. It’s very similar to Inside Out, where there are no clear edges and the environment is very flamboyant and runs together. The appearance of Terry and the multiple Jerry’s is probably the most unique character design in all of Pixar, which is saying something.

In the Great Before, Joe meets Counselor Jerry (Alice Braga), who informs him that souls in the Great Before can reach Earth using the Earth portal. However, every time he goes through the portal, Joe is returned to the Great Before. Thinking Joe is a lost soul mentor, Terry takes him to the other mentors, who assist young souls in finding their β€œspark” to complete their personalities, displayed as a badge on the soul, before being allowed to Earth. Seeing a completed Earth Pass as his ticket through the portal back to Earth, he impersonates another soul mentor. In the mentoring program, he meets soul 22 (Tina Fey), a soul who refuses to go to Earth. The pair agree to complete 22’s Earth Pass so Joe can use it to return to Earth and 22 can stay in the Great Before forever.

Unable to find 22’s spark in the Hall of Everything, Joe and 22 go see Moonwind (Graham Norton) and the Mystics without Borders, a group who help β€œthe lost souls of Earth find their way.” When the mystics locate Joe’s body on Earth, Joe rushes to get back. In his haste, Joe accidentally brings 22 with him. When Joe wakes up, he realizes that he is in the body of a therapy cat and 22 is inside his body. Together, 22 and Joe set out to find Moonwind on Earth to help them return to their proper selves.

What follows is a extraordinarily crafted story of friendship and passion. Joe and 22’s journey throughout the course of the film sees the two discovering that there is more to life than either expected. The themes are geared more towards an older audience who might have more appreciation for the movie’s message, but I feel they are also laid out in a way that a younger viewer can understand as well. It might not be as exciting or adventurous as some of Pixar’s other films, but the characters and their journeys make the experience well worth your while.

I mentioned it previously but I can’t review an animated film and not talk about the animation. New York City is a city full of movement and excitement. Soul captures that with such realism that if the characters themselves were not caricatures, it would be hard to tell this is animation. The opening scenes provide a look at the beautiful animation to come in the film but when Joe and 22 set off in New York City together is when the animation of the bustling city becomes truly breathtaking. The sights, the sounds, the colors, the energy, everything is authentic and gorgeously rendered. Pixar continues pushing the boundaries of what is possible in animation.

I thought Soul was GREAT πŸ˜€ The story provides a fantastic and emotional study of inspiration and purpose. As we get older, we forget that there is beauty in life around us. Soul serves as a reminder that no matter how mundane things become, never lose sight of what makes life truly beautiful and worthwhile.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Pete Doctor – Director / Writer
Kemp Powers – Co-Director / Writer
Mike Jones – Writer
Jonathan Batiste – Jazz Compositions and Arrangements
Trent Reznor – Composer
Atticus Ross – Composer

Jamie Foxx – Joe (voice)
Tina Fey – 22 (voice)
Graham Norton – Moonwind (voice)
Rachel House – Terry (voice)
Alice Braga – Counselor Jerry A (voice)
Richard Ayoade – Counselor Jerry B (voice)
Phylicia Rashad – Libba (voice)
Questlove – Curley (voice)
Angela Bassett – Dorothea (voice)
Cora Champommier – Connie (voice)
Donnell Rawlings – Dez (voice)
Margo Hall – Melba (voice)
Rhodessa Jones – Lulu (voice)
Daveed Diggs – Paul (voice)

Toy Story 4 Review

Toy Story 4 movie posterSynopsis
At her first day of school, Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) creates a new toy named Forky (Tony Hale). It’s up to Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of Bonnie’s toys to keep Forky safe while on a road trip.

Review
Like many, I was skeptical when a fourth Toy Story movie was announced. Toy Story 3 had wrapped the story of Andy’s toys up to that point superbly. Several shorts have been made since then (which are perfectly okay with me) but another full-length feature felt like an attempted cash grab. Going into this movie I was torn. On one hand, I love the Toy Story films and welcome the chance to play with these characters. But on the other, as I said, the story of Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the crew felt complete. Even though it doesn’t quite hit the emotional highs as previous films in the franchise, Toy Story 4 offers a good conclusion for the characters many of us have grown attached to since 1996.

Firstly, if you thought the animation of Toy Story 3 was top-notch, then you’ll be blown away from the animation of Toy Story 4. As the toys go to different environments, from Bonnie’s room, to Bonnie’s family’s RV, to a playground, to an antique store, and many places in between, each place has its own aesthetic and feels unique. Toys are not made from the same material. Toys like Buzz Lightyear are completely plastic, Woody is a mix of fabric and plastic, and Bo Peep is porcelain. Buzz has a pretty matte look, you can see the pilling on Woody’s shirt, and Bo Peep has a shine to her Buzz and Woody do not, and all the other toys have similar characteristics. Look at the character posters to see examples of what I’m talking about. It’s honestly breathtaking the amount of detail that has gone into making these characters look as realistic as possible. The bar of what of animation is capable of just keeps going up and up.

For the first three films, or β€œAndy Trilogy” as I’m going to start calling it, the toys mostly shared the spotlight. There was more of a focus on Woody and Buzz but characters like Rex, the Potato Heads, Jessie, and Bullseye shared the screen pretty evenly. However, this time around the focus is on Woody, who becomes the sole heart and soul of the film, with everyone else being demoted to support duties. One of my favorite parts of the previous film was seeing all the different personalities of the toys together so it was disappointing I didn’t get to see as much of that in this film.

One of my biggest, if not my biggest, concern with creating a follow-up film to the wonderful Toy Story 3 was where the writers would take the story, as Toy Story 3 added a perfectly fitting ending to the story of Woody, Buzz, and the gang. In typical Pixar fashion, they proved that there is almost always more story to tell, and they told it well. I’m not a huge fan of how they made Woody the central character like I mentioned above, mostly because of how it shifts the narrative of the whole franchise, but I won’t get into that here. However, once again, Pixar created a story that has a lot of heart.

I thought Toy Story 4 was GOOD πŸ™‚ While I’m still not ecstatic that this movie was made in the first place, I still enjoyed it. This series serves as breadcrumbs to track how far computer animation has come, as this is one of the best looking computer animated films I’ve ever seen. Toy Story 4‘s heart is in the right place but it ultimately falls short, which isn’t too surprising given it had to follow the emotional franchise-ending of Toy Story 3.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Josh Cooley – Director / Story
Andrew Stanton – Story / Screenplay
Stephany Folsom – Story / Screenplay
John Lasseter – Story
Valerie LaPointe – Story
Rashida Jones – Story
Will McCormack – Story
Martin Hynes – Story
Randy Newman – Composer

Tom Hanks – Woody (voice)
Tim Allen – Buzz Lightyear (voice)
Annie Potts – Bo Peep (voice)
Tony Hale – Forky (voice)
Keegan-Michael Key – Ducky (voice)
Jordan Peele – Bunny (voice)
Keanu Reeves – Duke Caboom (voice)
Ally Maki – Giggle McDimples (voice)
Christina Hendricks – Gabby Gabby (voice)
Madeleine McGraw – Bonnie (voice)
Jay Hernandez – Bonnie’s Dad (voice)
Lori Alan – Bonnie’s Mom (voice)
Bonnie Hunt – Dolly (voice)
Kristen Schaal – Trixie (voice)
Jeff Garlin – Buttercup (voice)
Wallace Shawn – Rex (voice)
John Ratzenberger – Hamm (voice)
Blake Clark – Slinky Dog (voice)
Don Rickles – Mr. Potato Head (voice)
Estelle Harris – Mrs. Potato Head (voice)


Entries for the Christmas in July 2019 Blogathon are due in two weeks! To find out more, check out the post here.

The Incredibles 2 Review

The Incredibles 2 movie posterSynopsis
Helen Parr (Holly Hunter (voice)) is chosen by siblings Winston (Bob Odenkirk (voice)) and Evelyn (Catherine Keener (voice)) Deavor to help legalize heroes again. With Helen at her new job Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson (voice)), must stay home to take care of their kids.

Review
Back in 2004, the superhero craze had barely just begun. Spider-Man 2 had just hit theaters, Ang Lee’s Hulk was in theaters the year before, the X-Men franchise was just two films in and we were one summer away from the Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. Among these familiar heroes, Pixar jumped into the superhero fray themselves with their own, original family of heroes in The Incredibles. What we got was one of the best movies in Pixar’s library and a film that made the movie put as much weight on the characters being a family and dealing with familial problems as it did in the characters being heroes. It has been a long, fourteen year wait but the Parr family is finally back.

At the head of the Parr family is Bob, aka Mr. Incredible. The first film was about him dealing with trying to bring back the β€œglory days” and going through a mid-life crisis. In this one, the return of supers is just over the horizon. However, it’s his wife, Elastigirl, that gets to be one to don her superhero suit while Bob becomes a stay-at-home dad. Watching him struggle to balance between being happy for his wife and being jealous of her feels too real. My favorite part about the previous film was how accurate it portrayed the Parr family. Here was this family of superheroes who could do incredible things (pun intended) and yet they were arguing with each other, annoying each other, and supporting each other, just like a regular family. This film once again nailed those familial dynamics, bringing to screen one of the most accurate portrayal of family I have seen in film, animated or otherwise.

One of the best supporting characters from The Incredibles is Samuel L. Jackson’s Frozone. He gets an expanded part and much more integral role this time around and you won’t see me complaining! Besides seeing more Frozone, many more supers are introduced as well. The powers introduced are pretty unique and were fun to see interact with each other. Screenslaver, the villain of the picture, was good. If compared to the villain of the last film, Syndrome, I think I liked Syndrome better as a villain. However, Screenslaver felt fleshed out and had believable motivations behind their actions.

Of course I can’t talk about an animated film without bringing up the animation itself. The animation of the first didn’t feel as impressive compared to Pixar’s other films around that time and I feel the same way again about this film. While it’s great to see how animation has improved in the fourteen years between the two films, the animation didn’t wow me like other recent films.

I thought The Incredibles 2 was GOOD πŸ™‚ Once again, Pixar brings one of the most real portrayal of a family in cinema. While the animation wasn’t mind-blowing, the story and characters more than make up for it. Was it worth the fourteen year wait to get a sequel to The Incredibles at last? Absolutely.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Brad Bird – Director / Writer
Michael Giacchino – Composer

Craig T. Nelson – Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible (voice)
Holly Hunter – Helen Parr / Elastigirl (voice)
Sarah Vowell – Violet Parr (voice)
Huck Milner – Dashiell Parr (Dash) (voice)
Eli Fucile – Jack-Jack Parr (voice)
Samuel L. Jackson – Lucius Best / Frozone (voice)
Bob Odenkirk – Winston Deavor (voice)
Catherine Keener – Evelyn Deavor (voice)
Brad Bird – Edna Mode (voice)
Michael Bird – Tony Rydinger (voice)
Sophie Bush – Voyd (voice)
Phil LaMarr – Krushauer / Helectrix (voice)
Paul Eiding – Reflux (voice)
Bill Wise – Screenslaver / Pizza Guy (voice)

Inside Out Review

Inside Out movie posterSynopsis
Riley (Kaitlyn Dias (voice)) and her family have moved from Minnesota to their new home in San Fransisco. Inside her head, her emotions Joy (Amy Poehler (voice)) , Sadness (Phyllis Smith (voice)), Anger (Lewis Black (voice)), Disgust (Mindy Kaling (voice)), and Fear (Bill Hader (voice)) are trying to help Riley with their new home. Things take an unexpected turn when Joy and Sadness accidentally fall out of headquarters, leaving the other emotions to control Riley until they return.

Review
First, Pixar asked, β€œwhat if toys had feelings?” Then they asked, β€œwhat if robots had feelings?” Now they ask, β€œwhat if feelings had feelings?” Inside Out tells the story of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias (voice)) and what goes on inside her head and emotions during her move to her new home in San Francisco. Leave it to Pixar to literally jump inside our imagination and dream up what that world would look like. If anyone is up to the task, it’s Pixar.

I am beginning to feel like a broken record because every time I watch a newer animated film, I always seem to say that it is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. Inside Out‘s animation is simply gorgeous. It is colorful, it is expressive, and it is unique. I liked that the real world and the world inside the characters’ heads had two very distinct styles. The real world was more muted and toned back, whereas the inside world was bright and cheerful. I really liked the design of the emotion characters. They didn’t have solid outlines, rather they were fuzzy and not quite clear. Their aesthetic matched the world around them perfectly.

Something I didn’t really think about until after the film was over but appreciated once I thought about it was that the emotions didn’t actively work against each other. They are all friends and work together because they love Riley and want what is best for her. There are disagreements between them on several occasions (one is even central to the story) but it is the same as you having squabbling with your best friend.

Many movies have a clear antagonist, someone the characters are actively working against or someone we, as the audience, are supposed to dislike. This movie does not have anyone like that. Instead, the conflict comes from two friends trying to learn from and understand each other. I think this is a great concept, especially for a younger audience, because it allows the characters to grow since we see them have to face more of an internal challenge rather than an external one. Sometimes our greatest antagonist can be ourselves.

These challenges the characters faced are very much adult problems but shown in a way that can be understood and relatable to a younger audience as well. Pixar has pulled this before on other films, like the Toy Story series, which is why their films are almost universally loved and endure rewatch after rewatch, even years later. They touch such a wide audience that virtually everyone, from any age group, can find something to enjoy and take away from the film.

That being said, I don’t think I would have appreciated Inside Out‘s message were this to have come out when I was younger. At its core, this movie is about understanding the emotions that we feel and that every emotion is necessary really hits hard and is relevant to everyone. I have no doubt I would have come to appreciate it eventually, but I think being able to fully understand it right out of the gate allows me to enjoy it that much more.

I thought Inside Out was GREAT πŸ˜€ Pixar has proven themselves time and time again that they are skillful storytellers. With Inside Out, they show their expertise once more. Who else could have made a movie about emotions so emotional? Stunning animation and great storytelling with relatable characters and a strong message propelled this movie high on my favorite Pixar films.

Favorite Quote
Fear: What the heck is that!?
Joy: Who puts broccoli on pizza?
Disgust: That’s it, I’m done.
Anger: Congratulations San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza! First the Hawaiians, and now you.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Pete Doctor – Co-Director / Story / Screenplay
Ronnie Del Carmen – Co-Director / Story
Meg LeFauve – Screenplay
Josh Cooley – Screenplay

Amy Poehler – Joy (voice)
Phyllis Smith – Sadness (voice)
Lewis Black – Anger (voice)
Mindy Kaling – Disgust (voice)
Bill Hader – Fear (voice)
Richard Kind – Bing Bong (voice)
Kaitlyn Dias – Riley (voice)
Diane Lane – Mom (voice)
Kyle MacLachlan – Dad (voice)

Toy Story 3 Review

Toy Story 3 movie posterSynopsis
Andy (John Morris (voice)) is preparing to leave for college and must choose what to do with his toys. He decides to keep Woody (Tom Hanks (voice)) and put the rest in the attic. However, the toys are mistakenly delivered to Sunnyside Daycare. Thinking that Andy was throwing them out, Buzz (Tim Allen (voice)), Jessie (Joan Cusack (voice)), and the rest of the gang choose to stay at Sunnyside where the will be played with everyday. They soon discover than Sunnyside isn’t as cheerful as they thought and try to return home.

Review
When I heard Pixar was making a third Toy Story film, I was filled with excitement. I had grown up with Woody, Buzz, Rex, Hamm, Mr. Potato Head and the rest of the gang. And Andy was about to head off to college, an experience I went through a few years earlier. Basically, I had been waiting 11 years for this moment. But the question was could Pixar deliver a third fantastic outing with these characters? You bet they can!

One thing I think is interesting about all three of the Toy Story movies is that Andy doesn’t appear much in any of the films, but he is the heart and soul of them. Everything the toys do is for Andy. Why does Woody need to get back to Andy’s house after getting lost? To be there for Andy. Why does Buzz want to rescue Woody from Al? So he’s there for Andy. Why does Buzz tell Woody going into a museum is a terrible idea? Because Andy can’t play with him behind glass. Why does Woody want the other toys back home instead of at Sunnyside Daycare? To be there for Andy when he needs them. Why doesn’t Woody want to stay with Bonnie even though Andy doesn’t play with anymore? To be there for Andy. I didn’t realize how this ran through all the movies. Like, I understood it was there, but not how prominent Andy is despite his limited presence until watching them so close together.

Another thing I noticed from watching all the films together is that each movie builds on the theme of the movie preceding it. I also mentioned this in my review of Toy Story 2. Toy Story was about building friendship, Toy Story 2 was about accepting that everything has an end and to be there for your friends while it lasts. Now, Toy Story 3 is about letting go. The message has grown up with the franchise’s audience.

Pixar single-handedly created the computer animated film with Toy Story in 1995. In the fifteen years since, it has come along way. One of the benefits of revisiting these characters and this world is it acts as a great measuring tool to see how far computer animation has come in that time. Toy Story 3 is absolutely stunningly gorgeous. The animation is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was a decade and a half earlier. Everything is so colorful and full of life. The daycare especially with all its colorful walls, paintings, and furniture. Even the dark contrasts, such as the toy’s gambling area inside the vending machine or rainy scene with Lotso, which are up there with How to Train Your Dragon. It’s breathtaking to think how far animation has come and that it still is only going to get better.

You’ve done all this reading and I haven’t even gotten into talking about the film itself yet. Sunnyside Daycare is one of the most unique places created in the Toy Story universe. There are so many toys it’s ridiculous. Lots-O-Huggins Bear, voiced by Ned Beatty, may be my favorite Toy Story villain. I think his motivations were deeper than Stinky Pete’s from the previous film. Although he did feel similar to Pete in that he hid his true self under a fun, happy visage. His inner circle were all unique, too. The popular Ken, a stretchy octopus, and a few others for muscle round out the group.

Bonnie’s toys were all enjoyable as well. I found it hilarious that Jeff Garlin voiced the unicorn Buttercup. His voice isn’t what I would expect to come out of the mouth of a unicorn, which may be why it works so well. Timothy Dalton was the perfect fit for the Shakespearean Mr. Pricklepants. Another favorite of mine was Kristen Schaal as Trixie, another dinosaur toy. She was so full of energy and spunk.

The story feels like a natural progression of Woody and Buzz’s journey. We all have been through (or will go through) a time when we have to let something, or someone, go that we dearly love. In typical Pixar fashion, this was handled with care and in a way that all audiences, young and old, could understand. For many of the kids who grew up with Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and the parents forced to watch them too, the ending was very powerful, not leaving a single eye dry. It was an organic and very fitting conclusion to the characters’ story arc.

I think the only knock I have against this film is that the ending gets very dark. I had the same problem with Up, except that was in the beginning. It just wasn’t a place I expected the movie to go and took me out of it for a little while.

Toy Story 3 perfectly closes the story of Woody and Buzz. There are a ton of fun, new characters and places. Every time I go into a Pixar movie, I expect to be torn apart emotionally. There have bee many tear jerking moments that have happened because of Pixar, but the final scene between Andy and Bonnie hit me the hardest. The Toy Story series is such an emotional journey and I’m proud to say I’ve been there very step of the way.

Rating
4.5/5

Also read my reviews for Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Lee Unkrich – Director / Story
John Lasseter – Story
Andrew Stanton – Story
Michael Arndt – Screenplay
Randy Newman – Composer

Tom Hanks – Woody (voice)
Tim Allen – Buzz Lightyear (voice)
Joan Cusack – Jessie (voice)
Don Rickles – Mr. Potato Head (voice)
Wallace Shawn – Rex (voice)
John Ratzenberger – Hamm (voice)
Estelle Harris – Mrs. Potato Head (voice)
Blake Clark – Slinky Dog (voice)
Jodi Benson – Barbie (voice)
Ned Beatty – Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear (voice)
Michael Keaton – Ken (voice)
John Morris – Andy (voice)
Laurie Metcalf – Andy’s Mom (voice)
Beatrice Miller – Molly (voice)
Emily Hahn – Bonnie (voice)
Lori Alan – Bonnie’s Mom (voice)
Teddy Newton – Chatter Telephon (voice)
Timothy Dalton – Mr. Pricklepants (voice)
Kristen Schaal – Trixie (voice)
Jeff Garlin – Buttercup (voice)
Bonnie Hunt – Dolly (voice)
Bud Luckey – Chuckles (voice)
Charlie Bright – Pea-in-a-Pod / Young Andy (voice)
Amber Kroner – Pea-in-a-Pod (voice)
Brianna Maiwand – Pea-in-a-Pod (voice)
John Cygan – Twitch (voice)
Whoopi Goldberg – Stretch (voice)
Jack Angel – Chunk (voice)
Jan Rabson – Sparks (voice)
Richard Kind – Bookworm (voice)
R. Lee Ermey – Sarge (voice)

Toy Story Review

Toy Story movie posterSynopsis
Woody (Tom Hanks (voice)) has been the favorite toy of Andy (John Morris) for years. When Andy receives the latest toy Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen (voice)) for his birthday, Woody fears he is going to be replaced as Andy’s favorite toy.

Review
Toy Story is shares the honor with Aladdin as being THE movie of my childhood. I watched it repeatedly for months on end. The imagination and creativity really drew me in in a way that few movies did or have since. It helped too that I share the same name as the main human character, but that didn’t matter that much. Some films we watch from our childhood don’t hold up years later and we realize that the only reason we enjoyed it so much was because we didn’t know any better. Thankfully, Toy Story doesn’t have that problem at all.

Right away, the film establishes Andy’s relationship with his toys. It begins with Andy playing with Woody, Hamm, Bo Peep, Mr. Potato Head, and the rest of the gang. Clearly, Woody is Andy’s favorite toy. Then, once the toys are alone, it becomes evident how imaginative the film is. When we are kids, our toys are alive to us. They have back stories and personalities, but that is all in our head. Toy Story is our childhood imagination come to life. That’s one of the reasons it can connect across generations; Kids see their imagination coming alive and adults go back to when they were children and when their imagination ran wild.

Another reason why it is universally enjoyed is because everyone can relate to something in the film. Like just mentioned, the younger audience can visualize themselves in Andy’s position, loving his toys, playing with them all day, as well as being enticed with the idea that their toys have a life when they aren’t around. Older viewers, on the other hand, can relate to the toys on a personal level. These are children’s toys who are going through very adult problems. It’s a very clever storytelling and character building technique used by Pixar that gives the film a wide audience.

I have no doubt that no matter what, Toy Story would have been considered a technological marvel. It is the first fully computer animated film, but it is starting to show its age. It is very flat compared to much of today’s computer animation. However, it has stood the test of time because it also tells a great story. Another twenty years from now, I can almost guarantee that this movie will be enjoyed just as much then as it is now and just as much as it was twenty years ago.

There is no way I could talk about Toy Story without talking about the voice cast. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are absolutely perfect as Woody and Buzz. The role of Buzz was almost voiced by Billy Crystal instead of Allen, which I feel would have been a huge mistake. Hanks and Allen have such great chemistry together. Besides Hanks and Allen, each actor has a unique voice that makes their character stand out. A few of my favorites are Pixar staple John Ratzenberger as the piggy bank Hamm, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as the low self-esteem Rex, and the perfectly well cast R. Lee Ermey as the toy soldier sergeant.

Randy Newman adds a positively brilliant score. β€œYou’ve Got a Friend in Me” is one of my favorite original songs in a movie. β€œStrange Things” is another enjoyable tune, even if not as memorable.

Toy Story is the definition of a timeless classic. Even twenty years later, it is considered one of the best animated films ever and is responsible for kick starting Pixar as the emotional storytelling powerhouse they are known for. Movies about friendship are a sure fire way to tug at my heartstrings and I think Toy Story is one of the reasons for that. When I was younger, I enjoyed this movie for the concept and characters. Now, I can also relate and empathize with Woody and Buzz. The great story and characters are easily relatable and allow this movie to soar to infinity and beyond.

Rating
5/5

Also read my reviews for Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
John Lasseter – Director / Story
Andrew Stanton – Story / Screenplay
Pete Doctor – Story
Joe Ranft – Story
Joss Whedon – Screenplay
Joel Cohen – Screenplay
Alec Sokolow – Screenplay
Randy Newman – Composer

Tom Hanks – Woody (voice)
Tim Allen – Buzz Lightyear (voice)
Don Rickles – Mr. Potato Head (voice)
Jim Varney – Slinky Dog (voice)
Wallace Shawn – Rex (voice)
John Ratzenberger – Hamm (voice)
Annie Potts – Bo Peep (voice)
John Morris – Andy (voice)
Erik von Detten – Sid (voice)
Laurie Metcalf – Mrs. Davis (voice)
R. Lee Ermey – Sergeant (voice)
Sarah Freeman – Hannah (voice)


And with that, Drew’s Reviews officially turns two!Β  I didn’t plan it but I couldn’t think of a better film to review for by blog’s birthday.Β  Thanks for everyone’s support and the likes and comments over the last two years.Β  I hope Year 3 is just as fun and exciting! πŸ˜€