John Lasseter - Toy Story (1995), 7/10

The first wholly computer-animated feature film, Toy Story is obviously historically important, but its timeless narrative makes it exceptional beyond its place in film history. Despite its obviously child-focused plot and setting, there are moments of emotional meaning that span across all ages and even transcend anything a young audience could fully grasp. Like most lasting media focused on a young audience it provides just as much for its older viewers as its less experienced ones. The workings of the relationship between Woody and Buzz may now be taken for granted considering how many clone-like iterations have been produced, but this dynamic is enough to carry much of the visual narrative and is only deepened by the colorful, youthful, nostalgic, yet energetic visual presentation. The limits of animation can be noticed with attention but surprisingly do not hinder any of the film’s impact, just like a lot of older movies that experiment with new technology, it only feels new and exciting rather than dated and unlikable. The characters are varied and generally interesting with a few exceptions that are simple clichés. Woody and Buzz are the center of attention, fortunately, as their give and take of both the physical and spiritual are the most interesting aspect of the story. Buzz, very clearly and heavy-handedly, comes crashing in as the close-minded yet convincingly charismatic force pacified by delusion while Woody provides the relatable everyman who is troubled by a developing sense of character and integrity supported by sympathetic flaws. The novice state of the writing team can only be felt in the story’s youthful approach, something that thematically enhances the presentation rather than detracting from its effect largely because of its structure and form. This is exemplified by the use of an astronaut and a cowboy to juxtapose one another, yet this choice is appropriate for the film’s aims of reaching children. Woody’s character is characterized as an everyman, making the script writers’ guidance from Robert McKee to involve Poetics’ illustration of a man defined by his reaction to challenges felt clearly throughout the narrative. Randy Newman’s soundtrack is appropriate but generally overpraised despite its generally effective place in the movie’s events. Some songs are great while others are not his best work by any means. While the visual style and even the film’s story have been bastardized countless times since its release, Toy Story is an important and essential film for its advancement and individually for its creative use of visuals, sound, and setting to further its objectives in feeling.