42. Toy Story (1995)
In the early 1990's, the House of the Mouse was on a critical and box-office high. Their animated musicals The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and #88: Aladdin were massive hits that defined the studio. But Disney would not be Disney if they were satisfied being dominant in one genre. While hand-drawn animation was at its peak, there were new advancements in computer-animated technology pioneered by a small company from the San Francisco Bay Area named Pixar Animation Studios. Led by animator John Lasseter, Pixar had made several animated shorts (some produced by Disney and some for Sesame Street) and the company decided to make the move towards animated features. Their first film started an animated revolution that has produced 11 feature films for Disney (and a style that has trickled down into other studios like DreamWorks SKG and 2oth Century Fox).
Released in 1995, Toy Story was a critical and box-office smash (much like Disney's hand-drawn musicals of the time). One of the things that was most beloved about the film was the cleverness of the story and screenplay. The film's story comes from the idea of what a child's toys do when he is not in the room. The conflict arises when the child's favorite toy, a Cowboy-doll named Sheriff Woody (voiced perfectly by Tom Hanks), feels he is being replaced by the boy's new Astronaut Action Figure, Buzz Lightyear (voice of the hilarious Tim Allen). The writing is smartly done and the animation is quite extraordinary (considering this was Pixar's first animated feature). The characters are completely well-defined and have become beloved over the last decade (thanks to two very well-done sequels). The music by Randy Newman (centered around his song "You've Got a Friend in Me") has become an anthem for the Disney/Pixar brand. It is a very delightful film that is fun for people of all ages and helped the Walt Disney Studio explore beyond their successful musical genre.
Next Post: #41