Toy Story: The Story that Never Grows Old

Stephen James Johnson

When Toy Story first showed in theaters in 1995, it was a critically acclaimed film. Both adults and children thoroughly enjoyed the fresh and new animation style generated by Pixar. The film did not sacrifice plot for impressive animation, but mastered both aspects of the film making Toy Story successful and truly one of Disney/Pixar’s best pictures. Toy Story 2, released in 1999, was just as successful as Pixar’s 1995 original masterpiece. Disney/Pixar added new characters to the Toy Story family including Jessie (Joan Cusack), a female cowgirl counterpart to Woody (Tom Hanks), winning the hearts of young girls across the country.

To promote the June 18, 2010 release of Toy Story 3, Disney/Pixar has released double feature in theaters for only two weeks. For the price of one film, audiences can watch both films in 3D with a ten minute intermission between each film. After its first weekend in theaters, the film placed third on movies charts with $12,500,000 in tickets sales.

Toy Story captures Woody, Andy’s (John Morris) cowboy toy, as he struggles to remain Andy’s favorite toy compared to the new, highly advanced Space Ranger toy Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). The competition between Woody and Buzz sends them on a journey to the outside world, where they are forced to overcome their personal insecurities and differences between them. Toy Story 2’s plot features Woody as he realizes that Andy is growing older and will eventually lose the desire to play with him. Woody is faced with two choices: stay with Andy and his other toy friends or travel to Japan to be featured in a children’s museum with other toys, where he will be loved and adored by children eternally.

Fourteen years after its original release, Toy Story has not lost its magic. The plot is still relevant to young viewers and can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. The movie’s humor, which is appealing to all ages, aids the advancement of the plot as the audience adventures towards a pleasing conclusion. Toy Story 2 is equally as enjoyable. The audience is able to view a toy store when it “comes to life” as Tour Guide Barbie leaves a pool party to provide the viewer with a tour of the store. At the end of the film, a gag reel plays so the audience can laugh with the characters as they make obviously staged blunders.

The 3D effects are not as impressive as expected. With the exception of a few scenes, the term 3D could easily be replaced with HD. The graphics of both films are better than those found in a majority of other animated films not because of the 3D effects, but because of the original animators’ skills. A warning to audiences with young children: be weary of the length of the double feature. Despite the intermission of humorous on-screen trivia questions, the showing is about three hours long. Children become restless and babies will cry, so please be sure to do the audience a favor: when the baby cries, leave the theater until he or she calms down. Telling the child to “shut up” in front of the entire theater does not solve the problem – it just makes the rest of the theater like you less.