Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story (1995) — I remember seeing this movie in theaters when I was 10.  Then it’s been on TV a bunch and I own the DVD but now it was playing on the big screen again so fourteen years later I saw it again.  In 3D this time so that was cool.  What I love about Pixar 3D is that it’s not the gimmicky “throw crap at the audience” 3D you get from movie like the My Bloody Valentine remake or Final Destination 4 (although those were lots of fun) but the Pixar dudes, being true artists, just use the extra dimension to add depth to the image making it an even more fully realized world.  They did that with their first 3D movie Up, and now they’ve gone back and applied it to the Toy Story movies, which were amazing and brilliant to begin with.  Because remember when we were all kids?  This movie was true.  The toys were coming to life when we weren’t around.  It was simply a fact of life.  And the Pixar guys (John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and the late Joe Ranft) knew this.  So they made it happen on the big screen and the sentimentality of childhood came rushing to the big screen.  Every time I see this movie I feel ten years old again.  But even then there is more than enough to satisfy the snarky adult that I have become.  The movie’s villain, a budding preteen sadist named Sid, keeps an Improvised Interrogation Handbook in his room.  The Pizza Planet restaurant had a whack-a-mole game featuring the chest-burster aliens from Alien.  The screenwriters (Stanton, Joss “the Buffy guy” Whedon, and Joel “no not that Joel Coen” Cohen & Alec Sokolow) wrote a really clever script.  Buzz Lightyear’s bizarre interpretations of everyday items in a weird Spaceman context still crack me up.  Plus the movie taps into a lot of real emotion and themes like jealousy and friendship.  Another thing I like is something I seem to remember from lot of kid’s movies when I was a kid: a real sense of danger.  I see kid’s movies that have been made more recently and I don’t get that from them.  There’s a real threat that Woody and Buzz will be forever separated from the boy who loves them.  Then there’s an even realer threat that they’ll be dismembered by the young psychotic child next door.  Oh, also how about those weird mutant toys that Sid made?  Are those things freaky or what?  But then there’s another good lesson for kids: the strange and unfamiliar is not always a threat.  The reason Pixar has spent 14 years making nothing but good (and in most cases great) movies is because of the emphasis on character and story.  This is where is all began and it’s definitely well worth revisiting.

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