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! 😀

The Incredibles Review

The Incredibles movie posterSynopsis
Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) was once the superhero Mr. Incredible and is having trouble settling down into an ordinary life with his wife Helen (Holly Hunter) and children, Dash (Spencer Fox), Violet (Sarah Vowell) and Jack Jack (Eli Fucile, Maeve Andrews). When an opportunity comes along that allows Bob to put on the suit again, he takes it. But when a mistake from his past catches up to him, his entire family must suit up to help him.

Without a doubt, Pixar tells some of the best stories about family and friendship out there. Pixar once again outdid themselves with The Incredibles. They crafted a narrative that can be appreciated by all age levels and has something for everyone. It’s not very often a studio known for movies geared towards a younger audience can successfully create a story centered around a midlife crisis, but Pixar managed to pull it off.

First thing I noticed was the fantastic music. It was very jazzy, a genre you don’t see very often in movies nowadays, and reminiscent of spy movies like James Bond or Mission Impossible. When done right, the music can add a whole other dynamic to a movie, and Michael Giacchino’s score is a perfect fit. It complements the feel of the film appropriately and raises the film to a whole new level.

Pixar did excellent job casting the voices of the characters. Craig T. Nelson fills the voice of Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible perfectly. The same goes for Holly Hunter as Helen/Elastigirl. Probably my favorite casting though is Samuel L. Jackson as Lucius Best/Frozone, one of the few superheroes Bob keeps in contact with after retiring his mask. A close second is director Brad Bird as Edna Mode, a superhero costume designer. He brings a certain energy to the character that the animation can’t portray. Sarah Vowell Violet Parr is the only one I don’t care for. Her voice is very gratey and sometime downright annoying.

As I mentioned before, the story is phenomenal. The Incredibles has a much more mature tone than previous Pixar films. It still has an appeal to the younger audience, but the focus of the story is on Bob and his relationship with his family, particularly his wife. There are many one-liners that younger viewers may not catch that are specifically focused towards the older audience. It’s easy to understand Bob’s desire to return to the “glory days” and relive his youth once more. And there is something amusing about watching a superhero go through a midlife crisis.

I wasn’t blown away by the animation, but that doesn’t mean this movie doesn’t look good. There are a wide range of environments, from the city to a jungle island and several places in between, and they are vibrant and each have a distinct feel. It looks great, but compared to Pixar’s other films, such as Toy Story or Finding Nemo, it just isn’t anything over spectacular. However, I was impressed with the effects on the superhero suits. They had a nice texture that looked like real fabric, almost like velvet. Also, the character models are very exaggerated. I like it because each character is unique, but and the same time I don’t because they seem overemphasized, drawing too much attention to their caricatured features.

No matter how old you are, there is something in The Incredibles for you. A superhero going through a midlife crisis makes for some wonderful story moments and the Parr family dynamic feels organic and real. Although the animation may be too exaggerated for my liking, the excellent voice cast and jazz score, along with the incredible story, propel The Incredibles to heights rarely seen in a more mature animated feature.