A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
"Toy Story" creates a universe out of a couple of kid's bedrooms, a gas station, and a stretch of suburban highway. Its heroes are toys, which come to life when nobody is watching. Its conflict is between an old-fashioned cowboy who has always been a little boy's favorite toy, and the new space ranger who may replace him. The villain is the mean kid next door who takes toys apart and puts them back together again in macabre combinations. And the result is a visionary roller-coaster ride of a movie.
For the kids in the audience, a movie like this will work because it tells a fun story, contains a lot of humor, and is exciting to watch. Older viewers may be even more absorbed, because "Toy Story," the first feature made entirely by computer, achieves a three-dimensional reality and freedom of movement that is liberating and new. The more you know about how the movie was made, the more you respect it.
Imagine the spectacular animation of the ballroom sequence in "Beauty and the Beast" at feature length and you'll get the idea. The movie doesn't simply animate characters in front of painted backdrops; it fully animates the charactersandthe space they occupy, and allows its point of view to move freely around them. Computer animation has grown so skillful that sometimes you don't even notice it (the launching in "Apollo 13" took place largely within a computer). Here, youdonotice it, because you're careening through space with a new sense of freedom.
Consider for example a scene where Buzz Lightyear, the new space toy, jumps off a bed, bounces off a ball, careens off of the ceiling, spins around on a hanging toy helicopter and zooms into a series of loop-the-loops on a model car race track. Watch Buzz, the background, and the perspective -- which stretches and contracts to manipulate the sense of speed. It's an amazing ride.