Toy Story

on November 22, 1995 by Christine James
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   Not only a breakthrough in animation but in imagination as well, "Toy Story" creates Disney magic once again, instead of the formulaic fairytale romance/musical the Mouse House churns out annually. The premise is brimming with possibilities--and none go unfulfilled. It's a child's fantasy come true: Unbeknownst to humans, toys have lives of their own. Their goals mainly revolve around retaining their status as favored playthings of their child owner Andy, but they also possess social hierarchies, camaraderies, romantic impulses, fears and insecurities.
   Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), an affable pull-string talking cowboy doll who as Andy's favorite is the leader of the toys, feels threatened when a birthday brings a new plaything: Buzz Lightyear ("The Santa Clause's" Tim Allen), an action figure with space-age gadgets galore. But Buzz is oblivious; believing himself to be the galactic champion after which he's modeled, he's concerned only with returning to his home planet. Woody concocts a plan to rid himself of his nemesis, but it goes awry, stranding both out in the world, and the two must learn to work together to survive.
   The first all-computer-animated film is not only aesthetically flawless but amazingly detailed, with accurate motion, intricate textures and painstaking attention to minutiae, such as the familiar excess plastic on toy army men. The characters are as emotionally complex and poignantly sympathetic as those any flesh-and-blood actors could portray; their adventure is engaging; and the messages of self-esteem and cooperation could be positive influences on youngsters. Adults are also made to feel at home not only by the intelligent writing and humor but also by the incorporation of such generation gap-bridging toys as Mr. Potato Head, Etch-A-Sketch, Barrel of Monkeys and Slinky.    Voices by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles and John Ratzenberger. Directed by John Lasseter. Written by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow. Produced by Ralph Guggenheim and Bonnie Arnold. A Buena Vista release. Animation. Rated G. Running time: 80 min.
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