25 Years On, Toy Story Remains The Most Powerful Animation Of All Time
If you asked kids today what their favourite movie is, they’d probably list an array of different superheroes films, or movies about animated animals that I’ve quite frankly never heard of.
However, as Disney continues to push the cinematic boundaries with impressive life-like CGI and multi-million dollar remakes, there’s one film that has stood the test of time like no other.
It has been 25 years since the release of Toy Story, and yet the animated movie, which follows a bunch of characters from Andy’s toy box as they come to life out of the view of humans, has gone on to impact generation after generation of children – along with their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, too.
The film was revolutionary. It was the first entirely computer-animated feature film to land in cinemas, as well as becoming the first feature film from Pixar, marking the beginning of the beautiful journey that became Disney Pixar animation films.
But our love for the film is so much deeper than that. Toy Story paints a picture of jealousy, hurt and the joy of friendship, while teaching all of us that no matter how much we may fear change, we should always embrace it.
Jealousy is, of course, an emotion that children feel from a young age, long before they have any concept of what it is.
When Buzz arrives, with his new-fangled technology and his precious spaceship, Woody feels as though he’s being replaced in the eyes of Andy, which is something everyone experiences from time to time. Whether it’s your parents bringing a newer, shinier sibling into the world, or a new mate who joins your friendship group and takes up all your bestie’s attention.
But, as with every Disney animation movie, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned from it all. Despite their turbulent start, the relationship between Woody and Buzz becomes something so endearing when they realise they share the same mission – to be great toys to Andy.
The ongoing theme of friendship is beautifully encapsulated by the movie’s theme song: Randy Newman’s You Got A Friend In Me. The delightfully whimsical, instantly recognisable song is enough to bring a tear to the eye of not just a child, but a grown man or woman, too.
While so many other children’s movies rely on child-like, simplistic plots, enriched with the odd goes-over-the-children’s-heads joke for the adults, Toy Story was the first film that truly catered for both children and adults, and everything in between, in a way that you can only appreciate as you re-watch it time and time again as you get older.
The rich tapestry of the characters allows viewers of all ages to relate, from reliable loyal Slinky, who stands by Woody’s side even when the other toys momentarily turn against him, to anxiety-filled Rex, who is all bark and absolutely no bite.
If I’m being honest, I couldn’t tell you what it was like to watch Toy Story for the first time. In my memory, it was a near-constant, a familiarity I always knew. A guaranteed win to keep myself, my older brother and my mum entertained simultaneously. But, what I can tell you, is that I do remember it changing the relationship I had with my own toys, because seeing how Sid’s broken toys rose up against him once and for all, is enough to make any child have the utmost respect for their possessions.
Not to mention the guilt I felt every time I was gifted a new cuddly toy, only to realise I would have to put more effort into spreading my attention fairly between the array of stuffed animals who all lived at the foot of my bed.
While there’s no getting away from the profound effect Toy Story can have on you as a child, I believe the real impact comes later, when we – like Andy – get older and spend less time in the toy box and more time on games consoles. Then, for those of us who are old enough to have flown the nest, it adds a sense of perspective when it comes to sorting through old boxes and having to make the difficult decision as to what we will take with us into the next chapter.
Re-watching Toy Story gives me a sense of nostalgia and gratitude, as I think back to own array of stuffed animals, Barbies and Bratz Dolls, and remember they joy they brought me, the company they gave me, and the memories that Toy Story ensures I will never forget.
Two-and-a-half decades later, the story of Woody, Buzz and the gang has finally come to a fantastic end, but the legacy of Toy Story will continue to impact many more generations to come.
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