Toy Story

DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Toy Story
Toy Story

The extras package is so stuffed with good things, Toy Story's DVD becomes a benchmark of excellence.

What comes through again and again is how young these guys were when they made it. Because this was the first computer generated animation feature, all of them were experimenting in unknown territory. It was their naivety that saved them, because if they had known - really known - what they were up against from the start, they might not have embarked on the journey. But they didn't, which meant having to create ways of overcoming obstacles when they arose.

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The audio commentary that has director John Lasseter and six others - a writer, animator, art director and some producers - talking about what they remembered could have been chaotic, because usually with multi-voiced commentaries, it is difficult to tell one from another. They overcome this by flashing up the name of the speaker every time, which is a huge help.

There is always the danger of hindsight and rose-tinted nostalgia, which does occur, it's true. Lasseter's irrepressible bonhomie begins to grate across the blackboard of your mind, as different laughter and more anecdotes break cover.

Later on, in an extra concerning design, the visual evolution of Woody and Buzz is examined and it's fascinating to see what they might have been, which only emphasises something that we take for granted - the writing and the artwork. Here, in the commentary, they remember the hours and pages it took to come up with Woody's first line. Also, the staff meeting in Andy's room took forever. "We wrote this over and over, more than any other scene."

They invaded Toys 'R Us with company credit cards to find the characters they needed. "We wanted toys that stood the test of time." When it came to the voicing, Tom Hanks started just after finishing Philadelphia and worked all through Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump.

At first Buzz was thought of as a cop - a space cop - but Tim Allen "played him more like a regular guy," who thinks he's from a distant plant. Not an easy task for an actor.

They all seem to agree that Sid, the toy tormentor in the house next door, is the most creative person in the movie. "Sid's room is the exact opposite of Andy's room and if Sid is there, you're gonna die."

The original title, the one that might have been, was You Are A Toy.

Making Toy Story digs a little deeper into the creative process, or rather Toy Story's evolution ("Three years storyboarding"). Lasseter saw Tron and decided that this was the future. Woody was conceived first as a ventriloquist's dummy. His pull string was taken from Lassiter's very own Casper. Hanks was made to say every line 17 times, each a little different.

"We all agreed that Sid would grow up to be an animator."

Lassiter remembers that Disney tried to close them down. "They told us to come to L.A, so that they could supervise us." Somehow they survived.

"We were having a blast!"

Reviewed on: 12 Dec 2005
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Toy Story packshot
The 10th anniversary of the first CGI animated feature.
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Product Code: BUA0010301

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.78 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Audio commentary with director John Lassiter and six members of the creative team; Legacy Of Toy Story; Filmmakers Reflect; sneak peek at Pixar’s next animated feature Cars; game – The Claw!; 10th anniversary Making Of Toy Story; deleted scenes.

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