There's a Buzz About Woody
For years Woody, the cowboy, has been the favourite toy of young Andy, and with this honour comes the respect of all Andy's other toys as they look up to him and treat him as a leader. But when Andy receives Buzz Lightyear, an all singing and all dancing modern action figure, as a present, Woody's world comes crashing down.
As Woody is discarded in favour of Buzz, he becomes jealous of the new toy and after letting it get the better of him, he finds himself and Buzz in the clutches of Andy's neighbour, Sid, who enjoys sadistically mutilating toys. As Woody and Buzz have no choice to work together to try and escape, they realise that maybe they need each other.
No matter how much I dislike the trend for modern CGI animations; there is something about the original Toy Story which I love. It is by no means the animations, as I am still a champion of old fashioned cartoons, but in the case of Toy Story, it is the story itself, as it taps into the fantasy that maybe your toys, which you have played with through childhood, may have a secret life of their own.
If you look at the film as a whole, the story line isn't really much as it could be seen as an escape movie featuring toys, which in reality would not be enough to keep many peoples attentions, especially those of the adults who enjoy this movie. In reality it has two further threads which are the main emphasis of the story and the escape is purely a vehicle for carrying these threads. The first thread being the jealousy and humility which Woody suffers as he has to deal with being demoted to the realms of the other toys which once looked up to him and the second thread deals with Woody and Buzz learning that they need to work as a team and get over their differences. What is particularly good about Toy Story, and these two threads, is that they are teaching us life lessons without us really realising it, whilst managing to keep the entertainment level as high as possible. I remember hearing my sister use the second thread of toy story as way of explaining to my nieces why they should work together, and it did sink in.
What I also find enjoyable, is that although Toy Story is predominantly aimed at a young market, there is enough content in there to keep adults amused. Unlike some modern animations, which seem to drop innuendo in for no apparent reason, Toy Story manages to use enough adult references with out detracting from the story and which works on both an adult and child level.
The creators of Toy Story have done a truly magnificent job of creating characters for the individual toys and it really felt like they tapped into my own childhood as certain toys took on very similar personas to those which I had for my toys.
The best part of the characters has to be the voices, and with the likes of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles and John Ratzenberger providing the voices for many of the principle characters, I have to say they were very good. For me the best part of it, was the fact that the voices did fit the characters perfectly and after about 10 minutes of watching I forgot that I was listening to the likes of Hanks and Allen.
Its weird watching Toy Story now, as the CGI animation looks poor compared to some of the modern films, but then you have to remember that Toy Story was released back in 1995 and the world of CGI has moved on greatly since then. Even so, the animations are still pretty enjoyable and to watch toys come to life in a semi-realistic manner is a joy to watch.
In all honesty the sound track to the movie paled into insignificance, mainly due to the fact I was actually engrossed in the film, but the one song which does stick in my head, and I must admit this is now annoying me is "You've Got a Friend in Me" by Randy Newman and Lyle Lovett.
So as someone who is not over keen on CGI animations, I do admit to having a fondness for Toy Story, but this is mainly down to the enjoyable and educational story, as well as the fact it taps into your imagination that maybe your toys have a secret life. Compared to some modern CGI animations, Toy Story may seem like a relic with its much simpler animation, but for me this actually adds to its charm, as the enjoyment remains in the story not in the animation. On top of this you have the brilliant characters and great voices which make the whole film so believable.