#101: Toy Story (1995)

When and how did I watch this?

September 16th, 2016, on DVD.

Had I seen this film already?

Yep, but several years ago. I’m pretty sure it was dubbed in Spanish for a high school class the last time I saw it.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Since this film’s release, Disney/Pixar has been a big deal. Buzz Lightyear and Woody are iconic animated screen figures, on par with Simba and Beast. While the plot has faded from my memory, I knew what I was getting.

What do I know about it now?

What I had to keep telling myself is that this film is important. There is nothing inventive about the plot itself: character A’s life and way of doing things is shaken up by character B, and in order to rectify things, A resorts to out-of-character behavior, resulting in a conflict for both. Meanwhile, a greater evil force (in this case, the terrifying Sid) forces the two to come together and resolve the conflict.  The feature is tied together with a climactic “I really can ‘fall with style’,” and in the end everything is okay. However, all of this is happening in a couple of houses and down a street, with the exception of one moment where all might really be lost. Pixar’s storytelling has improved over the years, but it started here with Toy Story. The animation was once something extraordinary, and might be looked upon now as a cheap knockoff because of the technological development in CGI since, but its significance in cinema is not lost on me.

What are some themes in the film?

Pride, friendship, trust, childhood/imagination, the value of kindness

Did this affect me personally?

This was released while I was in high school, so I have no nostalgic attachment to it. Beyond that, I confess that the encounter with Sid’s reconstructed toys is unsettling.

Why is this ranked #101?

Likely because of nostalgia as well as its importance in Pixar’s history.

Did my wife watch/like it?

It’s one of her childhood favorites.  Of course she did.

Would I watch it again?

Sure, but probably with my kids.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Everyone anywhere near my age has seen it by now.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Of course.  Its significance and greatness is apparent.  I feel like it would be difficult to presume this were important if I hadn’t seen another movie in my lifetime, but all I would need to do is walk around a toy store for about five minutes or do some homework on Pixar to realize where it stands among cinema giants.

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