The Kubrick Award – for Film Appreciation
The Toy Story Trilogy (1995, 1999, 2010)
Directed by: John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, and Ash Brannon.
Something magical came out of Disney-Pixar Studios in 1995. Something magical, inventive, charming, smart, funny, and touching. That something was Toy Story.
It was the first of it’s kind; Toy Story was the first computer-animated feature-length film. It was also Pixar’s first feature. And what a hell of a job these guys did. There’s so much to like about Toy Story; the writing, direction, characters, story, beautiful animation, and cultural impact. Considered by critics across the globe as being among the best animated films ever made, Toy Story was the push in the right direction for animation that led to countless great films such as: Monsters Inc., Up, The Lion King, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Shrek.
Oh, and then there were the next two Toy Story films, which like the first one, are AMAZING.
What’s so lovable about these films, among other things, is the characters. My god, the characters! All of them have such personality, humanistic characteristics, and relateability. Even the lesser-featured characters like Sarge, and Bo Peep, are just so included in the story. They even chime in when the time is right, and really add something to the environment around them. But then there’s Woody, Buzz, Slinky, Hamm, Rex, Mr. Potato Head, Jessie, and Lots-O-Huggin’ Bear. And to introduce Lots-O and Jessie in later films without making it feel forced, and adding them to the universe to effortlessly, is so dam impressive. They’re just all such likeable characters, or in Lots-O’s case, likeable villain. The characters are so interesting, the emotions are so real, and the dialogue is so perfect. With that, let’s get to the writing.
How perfect is the writing for all 3 films. So sophisticated and so layered, without being so overly complicated a child cannot understand what’s going on. The stories are so interesting and captivating, you feel like you could just step into the screen and be right with the characters, in the moment. The dialogue never lets down, keeping characters in line and keeping viewers completely understanding of what they’re saying without making it held-back gibberish. Scene setting is sublime. Character development is immense. Story is brilliant. Everything is impeccable.
The universe that all the events are held in is just so captivating, never-ending, and inclusive. It’s such a similar universe to our own, that we almost feel we have to be apart of the action in some way, shape, or form. And think about it – for example, in the first film, the director John Lasseter somehow sucks us in to a world all too similar to our own, from what, maybe a bedroom and a gas station? Amazing. And the colours are incredible; they really set the tone of each scene perfectly. You could just look at the surroundings of the last scene from Toy Story 3 and know it was going to make you cry…you’ll be happy when you’re crying, of course.
The happenings in all the Toy Story films are so unbelievable relevant to every single person in the world. We’ve all had a toy before. Perhaps maybe even more than one. And we’ve had a favourite toy. Or maybe 2 favourites, or 3. And we’ve all had so many good times with our toys, highlighted by the first 2 films. But what we all have to do one day, or have already done, is to let go of our toys. The final film captures the essence of this feeling perfectly.
Oh, and Randy Newman’s music is going to make you cry.
In total, the 3 Toy Story films grossed over $1.8 Billion. There are far too many reason why to fit into one post.
Deep down in our hearts, we all love our toys. But letting go of them is one of the great challenges we face. Watching the Toy Story Trilogy reminds us that it’s okay to feel sad about our toys, and it tells us it’s okay to feel something for these seemingly fake creations, because in their time they gave us so many good memories, that all we can do is remember them for what they were: things that, out of nothing, made something magical.
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