Wednesday, June 23, 2010
#1 - Toy Story - 1995
Toy Story was the first movie I selected to watch for My Big Fat Summer Movie Marathon. This first week's theme is animated movies and what better way to start it off with the first fully computer generated full length film in history. Toy story was released in 1995, the year I graduated high school and was nothing less than spectacular. Below is my full review of this Disney masterpiece.
Toy story is a movie about toys who come to life when their owner, Andy, is away. Not than anyone didn't already know that but there you go. For being an original and first of its kind this movie was amazing and that has a lot to do with the actors and actresses who lended their voices to the characters. This movie just wouldn't have been the same had they had different voices for the main characters and that almost could have been the case. As it is with many big title movies there is usually a popular actor or actress who turned down a role for one reason or another and this was no different. Both Chevy Chase and Billy Crystal turned down the role of Buzz Light Year. Crystal later said it was the biggest mistake of his career but was later offered the role of Mike in Monster's Inc. Originally there was even talks of having Paul Newman voice Woody and Jim Carrey voice Buzz but due to the low budget for the film it wouldn't have been possible to get them. I personally cannot imagine this film without Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as the leading roles, it just wouldn't have been the same. Along with them there was Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, John Ratzenberger as Ham, Wallace Shaw as Rex, and the late Jim Varney (think Ernest goes to camp) as Rex. How could we forget R Lee Ermey as the voice of the Sergeant of the army toys. I mean he does have the most notable army voice in the history of film, right?
Even with an all star cast like that you still need a good story, entertaining scenes, and a great ending and this movie passed on all levels with flying colors. The story was very entertaining and kept me interested at all times. The incredible attention to detail of all the toys brought back memories of when I was a kid. I loved the scene where they were all naming where they were from, "playskool, mattel, etc". Very cool. The film starts with all the toys setting up an emergency meeting to discuss a plan to oversee Andy's birthday party because after all Andy is getting gifts which means new toys. This introduced us to Buzz Light Year, Andy's final gift he opened. Woody, Andy's favorite toy was not too smitten with Buzz, a new shiny futuristic toy with all the bells and whistles. Hilarity ensues when Buzz things he is a real Space Ranger and jealousy overcomes Woody. On a trip to Pizza Planet both Woody and Buzz are left at a gas station and are forced to team up to get back with Andy, their rightful owner. Once at the Pizza Planet Buzz plants himself into a prize machine and Woody's attempt to save him fails miserably as they both get snatched up by Sid, the town troublemaker who hates toys and tortures them for fun.
Adventure continues on for Woody and Buzz who find themselves stuck with Sid and back at his house where he plans to recklessly play (torture) his new toys. While being held captive in Sid's room Woody and Buzz run into the dismantled and disfigured creepy toys that Sid has created. There was some very cool visuals in these scenes. At one point Buzz gets strapped to Sid's new rocket he got in the mail and is no doubt going to meet his end until someone saves him. After being scared out of his wits at first but then learning Sid's creepy looking toys are just victims of Sid's viciousness towards all toys in general, he teams up with these toys to rescue Buzz. After well laid plans are in place this group descends downstairs and into Sid's backyard where they plan their attack on Sid. The toys eventually rescue Buzz as Woody and the other toys brilliantly comes to life and scare the heck out of Sid. After reuniting with Buzz Woody quickly realizes that Andy and his family are already in the car and heading out to their new home. One last climatic action scene to reunite Woody and Buzz with the rest of the gang unfolds with the help of Andy's other toys and the story ends with a bang, literally.
Out of the characters in this movie Rex is my favorite character from this bunch and Shaw's voice was made for this role. A scratchy nervous tone for this T-Rex toy made him the funniest one to me but Mr.. Potato Head (voiced by Rickles) had the best one liners in the film, which I'm sure is no surprise to anyone. Hanks and Allen were great as expected and every time I heard Andy's mom speak all I could think of was Roseanne's sister in her tv show, Roseanne's sister in her tv show. To no surprise Laurie Metcalf was indeed the voice of Andy's mom. Its still kind of weird to me that she is that voice but maybe even weirder since she was the killer in Scream 2, hmmmm.
All in all this movie was amazing. Casting, visual effects, storyline, attention to detail, and humor - this movie had it all. It also launched a new path for Disney animations and Pixar studios and we have all been so blessed to have seen other works of art since this original first full length fully computer generated film graced the big screen. My grade for this film would be a strong A-.