A fourth installment of the Toy Story franchise is opening in a few days and we could not be more excited for it! Extending over nearly twenty-five years the series follows the lives of Woody, Buzz and all of their pals as they show us what life is like for our toys after we leave the room. In celebration of the upcoming film, I went through the painstaking task of watching the first three films (so terrible for me, I know) to review and find some fun trivia to share!
Toy Story (1995)
It’s almost difficult to explain how revolutionary this film was when it first arrived if you didn’t live through it. The first animated film to be entirely computer generated it was a marvel to watch. Seeing the toys (and people) seem almost lifelike firmly cemented Pixar as a heavyweight study but changed how animators viewed what was possible.
And while the visual landscape is stunning, the movie wouldn’t have held up were it not for the absolutely stellar writing. The jokes are a mile a minute, the characters are fully developed and have very real conflicts and, as we would soon learn with Pixar, the writers weren’t afraid of being sentimental. The feelings of jealousy and abandonment that Woody experiences are very real, Buzz discovering he’s not who he thought he felt incredibly relatable even if you weren’t programmed to think you were a superhero. Now a few bits of trivia:
- The carpet in Sid’s house has the same hexagonal pattern as the carpet in the Overlook Hotel from The Shining (eek!)
- This was the first animated film in Oscar history to be nominated for a Best Screenplay Academy Award
- Tom Hanks did his voice work while filming “Sleepless in Seattle” and “A League of Their Own”
Toy Story 2 (1999)
This is, in my opinion, the weakest of the franchise so far. Now, take that with a grain of salt. The first and third installments are nearly perfect, so falling slightly short is still pretty good. There’s also a reason for it. The movie was fraught with lots of behind-the-scenes drama, stemming from what a massive hit the first film was. Originally intended for direct-to-video it’s more plot-heavy than emotional, following Buzz and crew as they attempt to get Woody back from a toy collector. This film does give us Jessie and her backstory, which features one of the more sentimental moments (and the tear-jerking song “When She Loved Me”) of the movie. Now to the trivia!
- John Ratzenberger, who does the voice of Hamm, has voiced a character in every film made by Pixar
- Because of such a tight schedule, the editors of the film would often work 36-48 hour shifts
- The movie references several other films notably Star Wars, A Bugs Life, Forrest Gump, and Jurrasic Park
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Okay, I believe I have mentioned this in previous Movie Rewind posts but I am a famously over-emotional moviegoer. My family and friends roll the dice whenever we go to see an emotional or scary movie and after the Up incident of 2009, I am forever resigned to seeing Pixar films by myself. I tried to steel myself for what I remembered as being a tough watch before I started and it did not help.
Fourteen years after the first film, the movie ages along with Andy who is now heading off to college. When packing up his room, his box of toys is mistakenly taken to a daycare center instead of the family attic for safe keeping. At the daycare, Woody struggles to convince the other toys that their placement is an accident and not that Andy has gotten rid of them without saying goodbye. The movie has a lot of jokes but deals with some very heavy themes like loneliness, abandonment and a harrowing scene towards the end that may not be right for every child. As an adult woman who had already seen the film, I collapsed in a puddle of my own tears towards the end. But again, I’m an overemotional movie watcher. On to the trivia!
- This was the first sequel to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar without any of its predecessors being nominated
- Barbie and Ken’s outfits during the dance sequence at the end is a reference to Saturday Night Fever (1977)
- This is the first Pixar film to gross a billion dollars worldwide
Thanks for joining me on this journey through the first three Toy Story films. A lot of emotions were had (by me) but also a lot of fun (also had by me!). If you can manage the time I highly recommend it.