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Toy Story Review

Impossible it may be to separate my personal feelings of nostalgia and love for Toy Story from the cultural impact, technical merits and core themes, there is a part of me that looks at this piece of film from Pixar and believes it to be a miracle. They were a daring bunch those few that gave this animated feature the love, time and care necessary to flourish. Sparks flew when Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were dragged aboard of this project, something that, at the time, should have been doomed to fail. CGI was in a primitive state, and making a whole animated feature with that technology must have been an uphill struggle. I find it difficult enough to wake up in the morning, let alone navigating the future of animation. Still, that is why I am a writer, not an animator. Toy Story is in good hands. 

Its strong script showcases the need for an individual to come to terms with who they really are, as opposed to what they project themself as. Maybe that is just something specific for me, and a warning from Toy Story that, no matter how high I may fly, keeping grounded and reasonable is the most important and difficult task of all. While Woody (Hanks) is grounded and struggling to keep his pack of toys together, Buzz (Allen) is the accidental homewrecker, struggling to understand he is not what he seems. Pertinent themes are hard to come by, long-lasting ones harder still. Toy Story manages to hold a sentimental value for generation after generation because, although its style is specific, its message is broad and controlled by the viewer. Much of that is down to casting, though.  

Hanks and Allen get on like a house on fire. Despite being at odds for most of the film, their chemistry with one another presents a rare opportunity for two characters from completely different backgrounds and thought processes to mingle and conspire with great effect. It is not often Hanks plays a self-interested man clamouring at the power he once held, but Toy Story gives him such an opportunity. Woody and Buzz Lightyear have a brilliant back and forth, and an ensemble of supporting performers gives value and intricacy to this dynamic duo. Wallace Shawn and Don Rickles in particular have some excellent throwaway lines.  

Comfortable viewing, a Randy Newman song that makes me well up, and a vivid flow of storytelling elements that’ll instil strong values in its impressionable audience. Toy Story is an astounding film. Our glory days are behind us, so too are the days of strong children’s films. Passion, care and craft on a level even vaguely close to that of the Lasseter classic is hard to find and harder to experience in the waning years of young adulthood. That is what nostalgia is for. A useful tool to remind us of simpler times. Still, at least when I was a child, I didn’t understand the Woody and Bo Peep flirting’s, that is an innocence that will never return to me no matter how hard I scrub my eyes and ears. Ass kisser jokes, knob gags and sickening faces do not detract from the technical revolution and heart-warming focus of iconic characters and smart writing.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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