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Sunday, February 27, 2011

AFI/BFI #216: Toy Story (1995)

Director: John Lasseter
Writer: John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft, Joss Whedon, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
Composer: Randy Newman
AFI Rank:  - (1998), 99 (2007)
BFI Rank: -

What can I say about Toy Story that has not been said already. Unless you have lived in a cave or been in a coma for the last 15 years then you are probably intimately aware of the continuing adventures of Buzz and Woody. I must have seen it 20 or 30 times. Once in 3D. If by some slim chance you haven't then what are you waiting for? Maybe you think it is just a kids movie. It isn't. This film gave the whole world their first real glimpse of the genius of John Lasseter. Joss Whedon even had a hand in the screenplay. Pete Docter would go on to direct Monsters Inc. and Up, Andrew Stanton A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo & WALL-E. Joe Ranft had worked on Beauty and The Beast and the Lion King for Disney already and provided the voice for Wheezy in Toy Story. The sheer amount of talent focused on this one project is astounding in retrospect.

It was nominated for 3 Oscars and John Lasseter was given a Special Achievement Award by the academy for the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film. An incredible achievement given the Academy's usual reception of such drastic advances in film making. There was some tough competition that year. Randy Newman lost out to Menken and Schwartz for Pocahontas. Christopher McQuarrie took home the Oscar for his incredible script for The Usual Suspects, for which Braveheart was also nominated.

Toy Story is also among the top ten in the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14, and the highest placed (at #99) animated film in Empire's list of 500 Greatest Movie of All Time.


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