BIG SCREENING: Toy Story
To infinity and beyond!
Toy Story was a milestone in cinema; the first full-length computer generated film, and as such has spawned a whole genre of movies. It is rightly regarded as not only a cinematic trailblazer, but also a tight, well-produced, thoroughly enjoyable movie which can still hold its own, even against more recent films such as Finding Nemo.
The story begins with the idea that without humans around, toys are able to move around and interact with one another. The plot follows the adventures of Woody (Hanks), a toy cowboy owned by a young boy called Andy. His special relationship with Andy gets threatened by the arrival of a new toy, a spaceman action figure called Buzz Lightyear and the adventures of the two toys as they struggle to be Andy's favourite. Throughout the film they come into contact with many other toys (not just those in Andy's room), as well as Sid, a kid who lives next door and specialises in destroying toys.
Despite being the first full-length foray into computer-generated animation, Toy Story keeps an astonishingly high degree of quality throughout, with every scene carefully modelled to look exactly as the director intended. However, the film doesn't just rely on looks to sell itself - the voice acting throughout is excellent, creating likable characters and the chemistry between Woody and Buzz is very believable as they vie for the loyalty of Andy and the rest of the Toys.
There is sometimes a temptation to label any animated film a 'kids film' and although it is true that the film will appeal to children, it is not restricted to that age bracket, as the entertainment level of the film is by no means childish, and there are moments and jokes that will only make sense to adult viewers.
Woody's status as Andy's favourite toy suddenly comes under threat by the arrival of a new and shinier plaything, Buzz Lightyear...
Birthdays are always a scary time for the inhabitants of six-year-old Andy's bedroom. The toy soldiers are sent on their usual re-con mission to observe the present opening and - shock horror - a gadget-laiden SF toy is unveiled. Buzz Lightyear (Allen) quickly establishes himself as king of the bedroom, much to the dismay of playtime veteran Woody (Hanks - in the only role he is unlikely to win an Oscar for, thank God). One jealous shove out the window later, and the toys embark upon a bizarre adventure which takes them through the house of the toy-torturing kid next door, an arcade in which the indigenous toys worship the coin-operated claw (the funniest scene) - and all the while, Buzz and Woody learn the meaning of friendship in true Disney style.
Make no mistake - Toy Story is not totally a kids film. It's also not the result of a passing computer graphics fad. It's an impressive, incredibly funny and ultimately ageless and timeless. (It's also a masterpiece of merchandising...but that's me being cynical.) Filled with a great cast of comic toys - Rex, the screwed-up dinosaur is my favourite - and a well chosen group of voice-overs to boot, Toy Story also evokes the same kind of buzz (no pun intended) which surrounded the release of 2001 and Star Wars - a step forward in movie technology which deservedly won a special achievement Oscar. It's irresistable, and appealing - worth seeing for a second time, as it will undoubtedly become a perennial family classic.
Screenings of this film:
|2018/2019 Autumn Term – (digital)|