On Nov. 22, 1995, America met Buzz and Woody when Toy Story hit theaters. The CGI title, now a franchise, was nominated for four Oscars at the 68th Academy Awards. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below:
It marks Disney’s greatest technological advance since the discovery of Flubber.
With “instant classic” written all over it, Toy Story, the first full-length feature entirely composed of computer-generated animation, is a visually astounding, wildly inventive winner.
Easily the most all-out entertaining of Disney animated efforts since Aladdin, this groundbreaker should also handily break a few box-office records when it starts rolling out in playrooms Wednesday.
Tom Hanks lends his tailor-made, childlike enthusiasm to the character of Woody, a pull-string talking cowboy who has earned his place as the most cherished of all of 6-year-old Andy’s (John Morris) toys.
With that honor comes the loyalty and respect of Andy’s other playthings, including a wisecracking Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles); Rex, a plastic dinosaur with an assertiveness problem (Wallace Shawn); trusty Slinky Dog (Jim Varney); and the comely Bo Peep (Annie Potts), in reality a porcelain lamp who has a thing for the lanky cowboy.
Alas, Woody’s placid reign is rudely interrupted with the arrival of Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), a souped-up space action figure with enough bells and whistles to make young Andy forget about all his other toys.
Woody doesn’t take well to the demotion, and he and the pompous spacemen square off in a popularity contest that takes them both far from home and ultimately brings them close together.
A pioneer in the field of computer animation, Pixar and its vp creative development John Lasseter came out with something of a prototype for Toy Story in 1989 with its Oscar-winning short, “Tin Toy.”
Building significantly on that initial theme, director Lasseter and a group of screenwriters, including Joss Whedon (Speed), Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, have successfully stitched together an endlessly creative “buddy movie” that pushes all the requisite Disney buttons.
Lending their considerable vocal talents, Hanks and Allen embellish the visual magic with a couple of winning characterizations, while Rickles’ made-to-measure Mr. Potato Head and Shawn’s neurotic dino provide some expert comic backup.
Also adding a nice warm human touch to the eye-popping technology is Randy Newman’s whimsical score, including the tune “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” in which he duets with Lyle Lovett over the closing credits. — Michael Rechtshaffen