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.

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. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is one of my favorite original songs in a movie. “Strange 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.


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


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!  I didn’t plan it but I couldn’t think of a better film to review for by blog’s birthday.  Thanks for everyone’s support and the likes and comments over the last two years.  I hope Year 3 is just as fun and exciting! 😀

Movie Quote of the Week – 3/27/15

Answer to MWL 3/25/15: Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) – A League of Their Own

Jimmy Dugan: Hey, Evelyn, can I ask you a question? You got a moment? Which team do you play for?
Evelyn Gardner: W-well I’m a Peach.
Jimmy: Well I was just wondering ’cause I couldn’t figure out why you would throw home when we’ve got a two run lead? You let the tying run get on second and we lost the lead because of you! Now you start using your head. That’s that lump that’s three feet above your ass! [Evelyn starts to cry] Are you crying?
Evelyn: No.
Jimmy: Are you crying? Are you crying!? There’s no crying. There’s no crying in baseball.
Doris Murphy: Why don’t you leave her alone, Jimmy?
Jimmy: Oh you zip it, Doris! Roger Hornsby was my manager and he called me a talking pile of pig shit, and that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game! And did I cry?
Evelyn: No, no.
Jimmy: No! And do you know why?
Evelyn: No.
Jimmy: Because there is no crying in baseball. There’s no crying in baseball! No crying.

 Thanks for everyone’s submissions and congratulations to the following people for answering correctly:

Dr. Humpp (Dr. Humpp’s Curious Collection)
Mark (The Animation Commendation)v
Mikey (Screenkicker)
Rob (Movierob)

Lightning Review: Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips movie posterSynopsis
Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is the captain of the MV Maersk Alabama, an American container ship bringing supplies to Mombasa, Kenya, when it is approached by Somali pirates. The pirates, led by Muse (Markhad Abdi), hijack the ship and Captain Phillips must do whatever he can protect the rest of his crew, even if that means putting his own life on the line.

Normally I don’t care too much for biopics, they aren’t that exciting to me. But Captain Phillips is different; I actually found it pretty exciting and suspenseful. Hanks was fantastic as the titular character, and is probably my new favorite non-Toy Story role of his. For their first movie, Abdi and Barkhad Abdirahman were surprising stars. Abdirahman plays Bilal, the hot-tempered pirate in Muse’s crew, and showed great intensity that made me feel like he could honestly lose it any moment. The sound and lighting really contributed to the suspense, particularly during the scene where the pirates are searching the ship. This film had a lot of tight camera angles that I didn’t care for. I understand that most of the movie takes place in corridors or tight spaces, but these shots occurred outside of those environments. A dramatic close-up every now and then in a film is fine, but the amount of close-ups here seemed a bit excessive. Although it may run a little longer than necessary, great leads and excellent lighting and sound make Captain Phillips a surprisingly intense biopic that I found myself getting in to.