Friday, 4 July 2014

Toy Story (1995)

So yeah, this movie is nearly twenty years old, and practically everyone on the planet who is going to see it already has, but the purpose of this blog is for me to watch the DVDs I own and haven't actually watched, so you're getting a review of it anyway.

I'm not going to bother with a recap, because if you don't know the premise of Toy Story you probably live somewhere that doesn't have the internet.  Or possibly electricity.

So instead let's start by saying that this is a very good film: the voice cast is well chosen, the script has lots of great dialogue, and there are some very cool set pieces, sight gags, and other things to praise.  It is after all the film that really launched Pixar as a brand and set them on the path to becoming the colossus of computer generated animation they are today.  I've given very positive reviews to other films of theirs in the past, such as The Incredibles, and you can expect more in the future (probably Toy Story 2 tomorrow, for instance).

And yet, despite this film's many good qualities, its commercial success, and its being inducted into the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", I am giving it only a qualified recommendation.

Because here's the thing: Toy Story breaks its own rules.  It takes a fundamental law of its own setting and snaps it in half in order to resolve a situation, and in so doing it makes every scene that has relied on the law - which is pretty much all of them - completely nonsensical.

And let's give credit where it is due: the first time I saw this film I didn't care, I just went along with it.  Because the script does a really good job of making you care about the characters and wanting them to succeed.  So you'll overlook that they cheat to do it, right?

Well, probably.  The first time you see the film, at least.  But on the re-watch, if you're anything like me, it'll niggle at the back of your mind, making you wonder "why couldn't they have worked just a little harder on the script to get the right outcome without cheating?".

So: qualified recommendation it is.

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