Toy Story Was The First Feature-Length Film Animated Entirely By Computer
Toy Story was the first feature-length film animated entirely by computer. If this seems to be a sterile, mechanical means of moviemaking, be assured that the film is as chock-full of heart and warmth as any Disney cartoon feature. The star of the proceedings is Woody, a pull-string cowboy toy belonging to a wide-eyed youngster named Andy. Whenever Andy’s out of the room, Woody revels in his status as the boy’s number one toy.
TOY STORY follows the adventures of the toys who belong to a boy named Andy. His favorite is a sheriff from the Old West named Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), who acts as the leader of the rest of Andy’s toys — including a skittish Tyrannosaurus Rex (Wallace Shawn) and Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles). All is going well until Andy gets a very special birthay present: a toy spaceman named Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). Woody gets jealous, and, in an effort to keep Andy from taking Buzz with him on an excursion, accidentally knocks Buzz out the window. Feeling very bad about what he’s done, Woody follows, determined to bring Buzz back home to Andy before the family moves to its new house.
How does Toy Story compare to Disney’s more conventional animated features? They’re really very different types of productions. This film is less artistic and more technologically impressive. Despite a few Randy Newman songs, it’s not really a musical. Of course, the target audience is the same, and everything from Disney embraces “family values”, but it’s difficult – and unfair – to make an effective contrast of the two film making styles.
It’s also a joy just to watch the film, to take in the exactness of every detail of the toys, down to the translucent green tags of extra plastic on the toy soldiers and the back-and-forth undulations of Slinky Dog’s steel-spring body. Behind this must surely lie untold hours of Pixar animators just sitting around playing with toys — and, judging from the results, enjoying it as much as Andy himself, whose spirit of imagination and playfulness is matched by the filmmakers’ own.
Shot through with an exuberant and enviable sense of its own brilliance, “Toy Story” will continue to impress long after its technical virtuosity has been upstaged. Perhaps even “to infinity… and beyond!”