Toy Story is the rare film that viewers will remember for years afterward simply for the wordless wonder it inspired in them. The first of its kind, Toy Story arrived as a fully mature organism, as flawlessly animated as it is brilliantly scripted and energetically voiced. It's the kind of singular experience that prompted many amazed viewers to return for a second screening in the theater. While the animation was not yet sophisticated enough to render truly realistic human characters, the digital medium perfectly captured the essential plasticity of the cornucopia of playthings that populate any young boy's bedroom. The notion that toys have a life separate from their owner's play world is a masterstroke, leading to one eye-popping scene after another. The most memorable is a reconnaissance mission by a platoon of small green army figures, who slide down a jump rope and stake out a spot in a potted fern to spy on Andy opening his birthday presents. This early scene gives a preview of the imagination to follow: the soldiers gallop along on the plots of land attached to their feet, and the "camera," as it were, captures them from all angles, like a seasoned auteur. When one of the figures gets injured, accidentally stepped on by Andy's mother, it becomes clear just how quickly director John Lasseter has given these tiny beings a soul that the viewer cares about intensely. To enumerate the screenplay's many clever triumphs would be impossible, but they brim with the limitless possibilities of this medium and these characters. It's also a very funny film, and Tom Hanks and Tim Allen set the standard for a wonderful vocal cast, throwing themselves into the roles with contagious gusto. Toy Story is as sure a guarantee of enjoyment for all ages as anything previously committed to film.
by Derek Armstrong review