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Toy Story

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Toy Story

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Director: John Lasseter
Rated: G
RunTime: 80 Minutes
Release Date: November 1995
Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family, Kids

*Also starring: Laurie Metcalf, Wallace Shawn, John Morris, R. Lee Ermey, John Ratzenberger, Erik von Detten, Jim Varney, Don Rickles

Review by Andrew Hicks
4 stars out of 4

This movie sucks! No, just kidding. I'd like to be able to voice an opinion on this movie that doesn't match that of every other movie critic and film buff in the country, but I too enjoyed every second of TOY STORY. It is quite simply a movie for everyone, young or old, tall or short, thin or fat, ribbed or regular... And it proves audiences in this day and age can still be entertained by something wholesome and positive. It's a shame I haven't quite reached that point yet, but maybe in some distant utopian society of the future I won't feel the need to crack "ribbed or regular" jokes for cheap laughs.

TOY STORY is a landmark achievement in that it's the first fully computer animated feature film, if you don't count Oliver Stone's NIXON. (I don't know what that was supposed to mean.) TOY STORY is a kids movie, but a lot of the jokes can be appreciated solely by us older folk. Don't tell me elementary school kids have any idea what the "laser envy" comment refers to, but they can enjoy the myriad physical comedy scenes in the movie. In every single appearance by Mr. Potatohead, you can count on some or all of his face being knocked off.

There are a few humans in the movie, but the main characters are toys that act like humans when the humans aren't around. The toys belong to an elementary school kid named Andy, with Woody the sheriff cowboy (voiced by Tom Hanks) as their leader because, after all, he's Andy's favorite. Every birthday and Christmas brings new toys to the universe, and a platoon of plastic soldiers is sent down to the living room on one such birthday to find out what presents may threaten Woody's position as favorite.

Enter Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), an intergalactic astronaut action figure based on a popular cartoon show. He can fly and has laser beams and every other possible gimmick. Understandibly, Andy is in awe, as are the other toys. Afraid of losing his superiority, Woody decides to put Buzz in his place. That plan backfires and they both end up out in the real world, one dominated by speeding cars, dogs and mean little boys named Sid who torture toys for fun. Buzz and Woody are now forced to team up for survival, in a journey that comprises most of the movie.

The vocal performances in the movie are all noteworthy. Hanks and Allen, as expected, are great but the minor characters also boost the movie. Don Rickles plays Mr. Potatohead devoid of his usual insensitive, politically-incorrect demeanor (Rickles, not Mr. Potatohead--although he's been known to crack an anti-egg joke every now and then too). John Ratzenberger provides the voice of Andy's piggybank as pretty much a revitalization of his Cliff Clavin character from "Cheers." The only thing missing is the catchphrase "It's a known fact..." And I didn't stick around for the closing credits but I'd swear the voice of the slinky dog was Jim "Ernest" Varney.

TOY STORY is the best movie I saw at the theater this year, but then again the competition includes such bombs as NINE MONTHS, CLUELESS and HALLOWEEN VI. It's a terrific achievement in the field of computer animation (eclipsed only by the Dire Straits "Money For Nothing" video) and is also one of the most entertaining movies I've ever seen, certainly the best kids movie I've seen. If you haven't seen this movie yet, what the heck is wrong with you?!

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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