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Disney's: toy story

The wizards at Pixar and Disney have created a film that is unlikely to be forgotten in the next few years. Toy Story, the first completely computer-animated movie ever, is fresh and funny, and it takes the state of animation to a heretofore undreamed-of level.

Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) is the leader of a group of toys who come alive when no one is watching. Owned by young Andy (John Morris), they find new toy Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) thrown into the mix, and when Woody's insecurity causes him to try almost anything to get Buzz out of the picture, he almost succeeds with catastrophic effects. Soon, both Woody and Buzz find themselves captives in the next-door home of toy molester Sid (Erik von Detten). Not only must they get out of Sid's place, but the family's moving day is nigh, and no one wants to be left behind.

Hanks brings the apprehensive Woody alive better than most live characters are done. And a gaggle of supporting toys round out the cast, including Don Rickles as a sarcastic Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as a pacifist Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Annie Potts as Woody's love interest Bo Peep, all of whom add another twist to comic happenings. Even questions of identity are brought up without being too silly, as Buzz doesn't understand he's not a real spaceman. Toy Story visually spectacular, but it's downright hilarious.

Nice touches make the film a true delight to watch, with details like water droplets on windows, the detailed underbelly of the moving van, and reflections of the family in Christmas tree ornaments. I'd wager something new could be found every time the movie is seen.

The only problems I had were the corny songs and the fact that the animation, while it works spectacularly well for the stiffly mechanical toys, doesn't translate so easily to human movement. While people aren't the ultimate subject of the piece, it is a bit of a distraction when they're in the focus.

Nonetheless, Toy Story is a visual feast, perfect for the holidays. Director John Lasseter ups the stakes with every scene, the best of which is a nightmarish sequence in Sid's room, whose toy experimentations look straight out of Tim Burton's brain. Highly recommended "for kids of all ages."


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