Toy Story is a 1995 American computer-animated buddy comedy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures. The directorial debut of John Lasseter, Toy Story was the first feature-length computer-animated film and the first feature film produced by Pixar. Taking place in a world where anthropomorphic toys pretend to be lifeless whenever humans are present, the film's plot focuses on the relationship between Woody, an old-fashioned pullstring cowboy doll (voiced by Tom Hanks), and Buzz Lightyear, an astronaut action figure (voiced by Tim Allen), as they evolve from rivals competing for the affections of Andy (voiced by John Morris), their owner, to friends who work together to be reunited with Andy as his mother (voiced by Laurie Metcalf) and sister prepares to move to a new home. The screenplay was written by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, based on a story by Lasseter, Pete Docter, Stanton and Joe Ranft. The film features music by Randy Newman, and was executive-produced by Steve Jobs and Edwin Catmull.
Toy Story takes place in a world where toys are living things who pretend to be lifeless when humans are present. A little boy named Andy Davis is playing with his toys; a Mr. Potato Head, a metal sheep-lady named Bo Peep, a piggy bank called Hamm, Slinky Dog, a green dinosaur named Rex, and an old-fashioned cowboy doll named Sheriff Woody, who is his favorite toy. Andy pretends Mr. Potato Head is a criminal who steals money and whom Woody must try to defeat. He takes Woody with him some more, with an interruption talking to his mother about his sixth birthday party and the upcoming move to a new house. He starts helping his mother by taking his baby sister named Molly to her. After Andy leaves his room, all his toys come to life. The toys wonder what toy Andy will get to replace them. Woody sends the green army men, led by Sarge, to spy on the party and report the results to the others through baby monitors. Andy's mother pulls out the last surprise gift from behind her. Because of Rex shaking, the baby monitor falls off and makes everyone mad at him, but Woody fixes it.
Andy and his friend run upstairs to open the gift and, in his hurry, Andy knocks Woody off the bed. The gift turns out to be an electronic toy space ranger action figure named Buzz Lightyear, who believes that he is an actual space ranger who's on a mission to save the universe from the Evil Emperor Zurg. Buzz finds his spaceship packaging and meets with the other toys, who welcome him and are impressed by his various features, but Woody quickly becomes jealous of Buzz. Things get worse when Andy replaces all of his cowboy-themed room decorations with Buzz Lightyear ones, causing Woody to fear that Buzz will replace him as Andy's favourite toy. The next day, while Buzz tries to fix his "damaged spaceship" (which is actually a piece of cardboard that had been torn out), Woody warns him to stay away from Andy and tells him to stop believing that he's a real space ranger. Woody, Buzz, Rex, Bo Peep, Mr. Potato Head and Lenny (a talking pair of binoculars) watch Andy's ten-year-old neighbour Sid Phillips destroy a Combat Carl action figure with an M-80, with his Bull Terrier Scud by his side.
Andy's mother takes both Andy and Molly on a trip to a space-themed restaurant called "Pizza Planet". She tells to Andy to bring only one toy along. Woody, scared that Andy will take Buzz, uses a magic 8-ball to predict whether or not Andy will take him. The ball's reply is "Don't count on it", which makes Woody angry. He throws it behind a desk and calls Buzz to help him find it. He sends RC (an remote-control car) to run over Buzz, but Buzz catches sight of RC racing and jumps away. RC bumps into a board and causes a bulletin board to fall into a globe, which rolls towards Buzz. While running away from the globe, Buzz trips over some coloring pencils but manages to roll himself out of the globe's way. He ends up getting knocked out of the window by a desk lamp that was hit by the globe. This makes the other toys turn against Woody by accusing him of being a murderer. Before they can punish him, Andy brings Woody instead of Buzz. Buzz, seeking revenge on Woody for making him fall off the bushes, jumps onto the car's rear bumper. The toys try to rescue Buzz.
By night, when the family stops for gas, Buzz drops down through the car's sunroof, and fights with Woody. As he's about to finish Woody off, the car drives away, leaving them behind. Buzz accuses Woody of delaying his rendezvous with Star Command. Woody screams at him "You. are. a. TOY!!!", but Buzz still doesn't believe him and calls him "a sad strange little man". Woody finds a Pizza Planet truck, realizes that Andy is at Pizza Planet and convinces Buzz to hitch a lift on it in order to return to Andy. They manage to get their way to Pizza Planet disguised as empty food containers and Woody finds Andy, his mother and Molly. Buzz, who still believes that he's a real space ranger despite Woody's attempts to convince him otherwise, gets both him and Woody stuck in a crane game where they meet with the Little Green Men (a race of aliens who are allies of Star Command). Sid takes control of the claw and picks up Woody and Buzz, after an attempt by Woody to get Buzz out through a rear exit is prevented by the aliens. At his house, Sid is greeted by Scud, whom he gives an Little Green Man to tear apart. He snatches a Janie doll from his sister Hannah, runs up to his room, slams the door in Hannah's face, and pulls out his Pterosaur toy as he plays doctor for his "double bypass brain transplant". He shows it to Hannah, causing her to run away screaming for her mother. Woody tries to escape from Sid's house, but comes upon Sid's mutant toy creations which Buzz refers to as "cannibals". Meanwhile at Andy's home, the toys are still looking for Buzz in the bushes with a flashlight. When Andy and his family come home, Andy notices Woody's gone.
The next morning, after being tortured by Sid with a magnifying glass, Woody attempts to escape back to Andy's home, but comes across Scud. Buzz watches a TV commercial for the Buzz Lightyear line of toys and finally realizes that he's a toy and not a real space ranger. He tries to fly, but falls instead, losing an arm, and is found by Sid's sister Hannah. Woody finds Buzz dressed as "Mrs. Nesbitt" and attending a tea party. Woody plans to escape, but Buzz is too depressed to care. When he throws a string of Christmas lights across the way to the toys in Andy's room, Buzz throws his detached arm at Woody instead. When the toys see Buzz's detached arm, they are disgusted and leave. When the mutant toys swarm over Buzz, Woody thinks that they're going to eat him, but they fix his arm instead. Before Woody can befriend them, Sid returns to his room with a firework labelled "The Big One". He plans on destroying Buzz with it, but his plans are delayed by a thunderstorm. Meanwhile at Andy's home, Andy still misses Woody. Woody tells Buzz to help him escape, but Buzz is still depressed that he's only a toy. He convinces Buzz that being a toy is a lot better than being a real space ranger, and Andy still thinks he's the best thing ever. This restores his confidence.
Later that morning, They try to escape, but Sid wakes up and takes Buzz into his yard to blow him up with The Big One, leaving Woody. To make matters worse, Andy and his family are getting ready to move. Woody teams up with the mutant toys in order to escape. After escaping through the house, Woody and the mutant toys end up in the yard with Sid. As Sid is about to light the fuse on The Big One, he hears Woody saying "Reach for the sky!" via his voicebox. Woody tells him that his toys don't like being blown up, smashed or ripped apart and tells Sid to take good care of his toys, or else they'll find out then, with his real voice, says "So, play nice...", scaring him out of his wits and causing him to run screaming into the house, where Hannah frightens him with her Sally doll. Woody and Buzz leave Sid's house just as Andy and his family drive away toward their new house. The duo try to make it to the moving "Eggman" truck, but Scud sees them and pursues them. Buzz saves Woody and is left behind. Woody tries to rescue him with RC, but the other toys still think that Woody destroyed Buzz. Luckily, Buzz and RC get rid of Scud, pick up Woody and continue after the truck. The other toys, upon seeing Woody and Buzz together on RC, realize their mistake and try help them get in, but fail when RC's batteries run flat. Woody ignites The Big One on Buzz's back and throws RC into the moving "Eggman" truck before they soar into the air. Buzz opens his wings to free himself from The Big One before it explodes, gliding with Woody to safely land into a box in the car, right next to Andy.
On Christmas, at their new house, Woody and Buzz stage another reconnaissance mission to prepare for the new toy arrivals. When Andy gets a puppy as a gift, Woody and Buzz share a worried smile.
Why It Rocks
- The film was the first ever computer animated feature film, and it was the start of Pixar's legacy.
- The animation is visually stunning by 1995 standards.
- Timeless theme song ("You've Got a Friend in Me").
- The characters are unforgettable and likable.
- Flawless voice acting.
- The movie has a great story with good morals.
- The scene where Buzz realizes that he's a toy and has a mental breakdown is very funny and sad at the same time.
- The concept of the movie is quite creative that takes advantage of the fact that most of us believed that our toys were alive when we were kids.
- Erik von Detten did a pretty good job voicing Sid Phillips.
- The human characters, such as Andy and Sid are rendered pretty badly (even though this film came out in the 90s).
- Buzz Lightyear (before he finds out he is a toy) and Mr. Potato Head (whenever he gets angry at Woody for throwing Buzz out of the window or when he reminds the other toys about it) are somewhat unlikable at some points.
The film grossed over $373.6 million worlwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 1995.
Toy Story was universally acclaimed by critics and audiences, and is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made.
The film currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 78 reviews, with an average rating of 9/10. The site's critical consensus says "Entertaining as it is innovative, Toy Story reinvigorated animation while heralding the arrival of Pixar as a family-friendly force to be reckoned with.". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 95/100, based on 26 reviews, and an 8.3/10 on IMDb. The film also has a rating of 5/5 stars. Film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave the film a “two thumbs up”.
At the 68th Academy Awards, Lasseter won a Special Achievement Academy Award for the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film. The film got nominated for the Academy Awards.