Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, John Morris, Erik von Detten, Laurie Metcalf, R. Lee Ermey
Written by: Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, based on a story by John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft
Directed by: John Lasseter
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 81
Date: 19/11/1995

Toy Story (1995)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

'Toy' Meets World

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

While the far superior Toy Story 2 more deeply explored the heartbreaking theme of childhood things left behind, John Lasseter's original Toy Story remains a groundbreaking work in the field of animation, and is still a wonderfully entertaining film today.

Toy Story gets its power from re-imagining the magic of childhood toys and capturing some of the excitement behind receiving new ones. Lasseter effortlessly combines real toys (army men, Mr. Potato Head, Etch-a-Sketch, etc.) with the made-up Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), but also wisely eschews more highly technological, modern-day games.

Woody is in charge of "Andy's Room," and is responsible for the well being of all the toys. His position is challenged when Andy receives the amazing new Buzz doll (complete with blinking lights) for his birthday. Woody concocts a plan to get his position back, but in the process jeopardizes both himself and Buzz.

Lasseter's 3D computer animation is remarkably smooth, and the comic timing woven throughout is impeccable (it must be quite difficult to figure out a comic "beat" while linking frames together on a computer screen). Additionally, Allen and Hanks have never been so well used; their cadences match the characters perfectly. Until Toy Story 2 comes back out of moratorium, Toy Story is an essential part of any family's video library.

DVD Details: Disney and Pixar have re-released Toy Story in a welcome new 10th Anniversary double-disc DVD edition, mastered for the first time from the original, digital source material with no film elements involved. It also includes their first-ever DTS audio track. There are several featurettes, which include interviews with several high-rollers (Hayao Miyazaki, Brad Bird, Tom Hanks, etc.), as well as several kid-friendly games.

Blu-Ray Details: In 2010, Disney released a wonderful Blu-Ray/DVD hybrid edition, to gear up for the summer release of Toy Story 3. It includes all the extras from the DVD, plus a couple of new Buzz Lightyear-hosted shorts, and some new stories from the Pixar studio. In all, the extras run a good deal longer than the film itself. It's a fan's paradise. Not to mention that the movie looks amazing in its hi-def, full digital glory.

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