Making the Grades
Do you know what the toys in your house are doing right now? If you've been blaming the kids for leaving those plastic soldiers lying around, you may see things differently after watching Toy Story.
Of all the playthings belonging to Andy (voice of John Morris), Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) is the favorite. This special designation gives the confident, pull-string cowboy reign over the rest of the toys -- until the boy's birthday. On that fateful day Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen) enters the ranks. The shiny, new, super spaceman rockets past Woody in popularity, sparking a feud between them. The feelings of jealousy eventually propel both action figures into Sid's (voice of Erik von Detten) world, where the nasty, little next-door neighbor delights in torturing toys. Now Woody and Buzz must work together to get themselves back to their rightful, benevolent owner.
Historically, Disney's Toy Story is best known for its accomplishments as a pioneer of computer animation. (It was the first feature-length film made using this art form.) Working with Pixar (a company that has since become a household name), the creative team presented an entire world that physically existed only in memory chips. But the reason why the movie is so fondly remembered has more to do with its quality of story than with its technological achievement.
Witty, charming, and ever so believable, the film portrays characters the audience can easily identify with. It is also full of out-of-the-toy-box humor, like the sight gag where Mr. Potatohead pulls off his eyes and holds them above his head so he can see over the crowd.
Only a couple of scenes, both involving Sid, may be frightening for young children. The rest of the audience will be entranced as they watch the toys learn to solve confrontations through talking and understanding.
One of many enjoyable features to come from the Disney/Pixar collaboration, this G rated movie entertains adults and children alike, while sharing messages about cooperation and accepting others.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Toy Story.
Woody is usually a kind and thoughtful character. Why do you think he succumbs to his petty feelings of jealousy? What lessons do you learn as you watch his little moment of weakness escalate into a much larger situation?