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25 Years Later: Toy Story

22 March 21 words: Chris King

Is the original Toy Story really still worth the hype? Chris King takes us back to where it all began…

Director: John Lasseter
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
Running time: 81 minutes

Toy Story’s 25 years have left an unshakeable legacy in animated film. Yes, A Bug’s Life came first, but Toy Story was really where Pixar really discovered they were on to a winner with their charming art style, emotionally-driven stories and incredibly memorable characters.

Woody and Buzz, along with the rest of the ensemble, are well-rounded and flawed characters. Both spend this film vying for Andy’s affection, while Buzz tackles his own delusions that he really is a space hero. Meanwhile, Woody has to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer Andy’s favourite toy and his jealousy almost sees the two of them get lost forever in the sadistic Sid’s house. 

Sid is a truly terrifying villain, which is saying something considering he’s just a kid and the way the toys torment him exactly how he tormented them is inspired. It also is a nice message for kids not to mess about with their toys too much.

What makes Toy Story so great is the fact it resolves a question every child ever has had. What exactly do your toys do when you’re not there? The genius of this is that it is the perfect family premise. The kids love imagining what their own toys are doing while they’re watching this classic, while parents are given a trip down memory lane.

Watching this film 25 years later is actually a better experience because you carry with you the baggage you’ve picked up in the later films

Pixar has always nailed creating films that all generations can enjoy, but Toy Story is where they truly found their groove. Yes, their animation style has come on leaps and bounds but almost every Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks animation now looks like a Pixar film. They are responsible for how animated films now look, which is pretty incredible considering this film came out in 1995 when Disney were still rolling out hand-drawn animation. 

Watching this film 25 years later is actually a better experience because you carry with you the baggage you’ve picked up in the later films. Woody almost leaving to live in a museum with Jesse and Bullseye, their difficulties with Andy finally growing up and the heart-breaking final scene in Toy Story 3 (you know the one) before their final adventure in Toy Story 4. We know where these characters end up, we’ve bonded with them for two decades and so coming back to where it all began is both incredibly nostalgic and refreshing because we’re so used to Woody and Buzz being friends.

A shout-out must also go out to the ensemble of characters, Slinky, Ham, Mr Potato Head, Bo Peep and Rex are all incredible in their own right. It would have been quite easy to make them annoying two-dimensional characters but their journey from supporting Woody to siding with Buzz feels genuine, especially after Woody and Buzz’s fight and Pizza Planet.

In short, Toy Story is still a masterpiece and always will be. It’s funny, unique and marks where, for many people, they fell in love with cinema. Even new audiences can enjoy this timeless tale about friendship, love and doing the right thing—even when it sucks.

Did you know? In 2008, Buzz Lightyear’s iconic catchphrase helped a father and son survive more than 15 hours treading water in the Atlantic. The father repeatedly shouted “to infinity” and his son would respond “and beyond” to ensure that the two stayed in communication as the waters pulled them apart.

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