Lovers of animated film cannot talk about the genre without first mentioning the undeniable influence of Pixar's first feature film, "Toy Story." This film changed the landscape of the entire animation industry. Computer-generated animation is a mainstay in theaters today, but in 1995, it was unprecedented for a full feature film to be made completely on a computer. “Toy Story” catapulted the animation genre into what we now know and love.
One of the best things working for this movie is the length. It runs for just over 80 minutes. As a result, the entire movie feels concise. On top of that, the film’s rapid pace, quick jokes and lack of subplots prevent the movie from ever being close to dull.
Every single character exudes the signature Pixar charm, and it’s all thanks to the performances. Wallace Shawn’s nasal tone is perfect for Rex’s anxiety-induced personality and John Ratzenberbers’s dead tone is perfect for Ham’s sarcasm. However, Tom Hanks is the true highlight. His expressive and lifelike voice makes a plastic cowboy feel like a real possibility.
In some cases, the animation has aged poorly, especially in the human characters, but as a whole, it’s mind blowing this movie is still able to be held to modern standards. So much of Pixar’s signature style of both animation and storytelling is visible even in their first movie.
The movie is fun, witty, and while it may not pack the emotional punch of later Pixar films, it’s earned its title as a modern-day classic.
Rating: Hard 3