The Toy Story Trilogy
Seventeen years ago a company named Pixar together with Disney, wrote and created a computer animated film called Toy Story. The Toy Story movie is known by every child around! Today, every child from one to seventeen and most adults are familiar with the main characters, Woody and Buzz Lightyear. They are almost household names. You can hear children call out "To infinity and beyond" in their play -- the phrase of Buzz Lightyear. The animation in the film was superb and the characters (toys) are all remnants from everyone's childhood.
It may seem odd to be calling animated films a trilogy but these certainly are. Wikipedia defines a trilogy;
A trilogy is a set of three works of art that are connected, and that can be seen either as a single work or as three individual works.
Toy Story certainly fits that criteria. The first Toy Story was the first animated film to receive an Academy Award Nomination for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. That is certainly an honor for an animated film! Speaking of which the computer animation is really outstanding in these films. You can see any of the films without having to see the others but if you see one you'll want to see them all. You can purchase the Toy Story Trilogy on dvd, or blu ray online or in the stores. You can purchase at Amazon.com or Walmart and many other places as well.
The first Toy Story introduces us to the main characters that appear in all three films. It was produced in 1995. Woody, whose voice is done by Tom Hanks, is a cowboy 'pull string toy' and Buzz Lightyear, whose voice is done by Tim Allen is an electronic spaceman toy.
Just as an FYI, Robin Williams was asked to do Buzz Lightyear and turned it down.
The other main characters appearing in all three movies is Andy, his Mom, his sister, Sally, and some of the toys. Andy starts out in the first film as a six year old boy and all the toys belong to him. He loves his toys and as the trilogy begins Woody is his favorite.
The original Toy Story is sometimes referred to as Toy Story Part 1.
As I said earlier, Woody is Andy's favorite toy but he gets a new toy for his birthday, Buzz Lightyear. Woody is not only Andy's favorite toy but when the humans are away and all the toys come to life, Woody's in charge. When Buzz Lightyear appears on the scene, Woody is jealous and afraid Buzz will take his place.
There is quite a cast of characters in this film:
The moody and sarcastic Mr. Potato Head who is jealous of Woody.
Rex the plastic Tyrannasurus Rex
Sarge and the Green Army Men – the 'professionals' Woody calls on for help
A porcelain BoPeep – Woody's girlfriend
Slinky – a slinky toy dachsund
Hamm – a wisecracking piggy bank who loves hats
RC car – Andy's remote control car
Lenny the Binoculars (with feet) reports to the other toys what he sees
Sid - the kid next door who destroys toys
Andy's birthday party makes Woody nervous, afraid Andy'll get a new toy to take his place. Sure enough along comes Buzz and Woody is jealous. This new spaceman has lights and sounds and Woody fears will take his place in Andy's heart.
Buzz (a pre-programmed toy in the beginning) thinks he is on earth to fight the evil Emperor Zurg. To make matters worse for Woody, the other toys are impressed by Buzz and all his bells and whistles. There's a lot going on between Woody and Buzz and when Andy comes to chose a toy to take with him to Pizza Planet Woody accidentally knocks Buzz out the window. Andy chooses Woody to take with him but Buzz sees the minivan, grabs on and winds up at the Pizza Planet with them. Buzz thinks he can find the Emperor Zurg in a toy crane game and goes in...Woody goes in to 'rescue' him and they both wind up with Sid, the evil little boy next door.
You can see where this is going. To make a long story short, when they get to Sid's house they meet all his misfit, mutant toys. These are toys Sid has tortured and pulled apart. Woody and Buzz realize they both belong to Andy and become friends in their attempt to escape from Sid. The mutant toys help and they do escape and get back to Andy.
Just as they leave Sid's they see the moving van leaving (did I tell you Andy was moving). A chase ensues and they catch up with the moving van. Christmas brings Mrs. Potato Head to Sally and a new puppy for Andy.
After the huge success and critical acclaim of Toy Story it was only logical a Toy Story2 would follow but would it be as good as the first? A resounding yes on that one. It was released in 1999 and when it begins we find that Andy is a few years older and is getting ready to go to Cowboy Camp.
Woody's thrilled because of course he's going too but while Andy's playing with Woody he accidentally rips his arm off. He can't take Woody in that condition so puts Woody on the shelf with another broken toy, Wheezy the Penguin. Woody feared the inevitable - Yard Sale. Instead he rescued Wheezy from the yard sale. Of course in the process he was seen by Al of Al's Toy Barn. Al wanted to buy Woody but Andy's Mom knew he was there by mistake a refused. Yup, you know what's going to happen. Al winds up stealing Buzz.
We meet some new toys in this movie including;
Evil Emperor Zurg – Buzz Lightyear's arch enemy. He is mentioned in the first story but never seen.
Bullseye – a toy horse, Woody's horse, who acts like a puppy
Stinky Pete – a prospector doll, new in his box, who turns out to be a villain
Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl - a cowgirl doll who winds up being Buzz's girlfriend and one of Woody's best friends.
Mrs. Potato Head - I think you know what there went
Back to Al's. The rest of the movie involves saving Woody from Al's where he meets the new characters. He's taken in by Stinky Pete, thinking he's a good guy but soon learns that's not the case. Al is getting ready to sell all of the 'cowboy' toys as a set to a museum in Japan.
On his way to rescue Woody, Buzz winds up in a toy store - in a box! This sub-plot has a new Buzz replacing the real Buzz. The new Buzz is a programmed toy and doesn't know anything about Woody or the other toys. While Buzz is trying to escape and get to save Woody he accidentally frees the Emperor Zurg. Naturally a fight ensues. When all of that is done with Buzz is on his way to save Woody.
In a reversal from Toy Story, Woody has decided to go to Japan and Buzz has to convince him he is one of Andy's toys and belongs with Andy. An airport chase and rescue follows. Of course everyone winds up back with Andy including Jesse and Bullseye. The toys also see on a TV commercial that Al got his just due. The loss of the sale and the Cowboy toys cost him dearly and he's now selling everything in store for just a buck!
In a twist of fate, Toy Story2 made more money than Toy Story. Reviewers found the film to be a rare avid, a sequel that managed to equal or even outshine the original. "Toy Story 2 does what few sequels ever do," The Hollywood Reporter proclaimed. "Instead of essentially remaking an earlier film and deeming it a sequel, the creative team, led by director John Lasseter, delves deeper into their characters while retaining the fun spirit of the original film." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toy_Story_2)
The enormous success of Toy Story and Toy Story2 led to, of course, Toy Story3. There's no skimping on Toy Story3. This movie can stand on its own merits and even if you're not a Toy Story fan and haven't seen the other two this one'll have you on the edge of your seat!
Andy's grown up and getting ready to leave for college. He puts his toys aside to go up in the attic and plans on taking Woody with him, but, even the best laid plans. Andy's Mom accidentally takes the toys to a day care center. Woody follows because he knows it's a mistake.
New toys abound in this movie due to the day care center toys but the main toys include:
Aliens (I forgot to mention in the other films) - in the claw machine in Toy Story, inside the pizza truck in Toy Story2, in Toy Story3 they are heroes
Chatter telephone - a Fischer Price pull along telephone many may remember
Big Baby - a big, strong baby doll with one eye
Lotso - a pink teddy bear with a cane - the main antagonist in this movie
Tri County Landfill - while not a toy in the movie it plays a big part
Mr. Pricklepants - hedgehog in lederhosen owned by Bonnie
Barbie - who needs no explanation
Ken - another toy that needs no explanation
The day care center is not a pretty place for Andy's toys. They are put in the Caterpillar Room where the children appear like the children from hell. They are more than tough on the toys, they write on them, pull them apart and are just plain destructive. Andy's toys want out and appeal to Lotso who is the head of all toys at the day care center. Lotso's the bad guy and doesn't care if the toys get destroyed in there. He keeps them locked in and plans for them to stay there.
They attempt to escape and wind up in a garbage chute. Ken turns from a bad guy into a good guy trying to help them in their escape attempt. As with all good stories, things go awry and they wind up going to the Landfill. It appears they are going to meet their end as they ride a conveyor belt to and incinerator. Much happens along the way including the false hope Lotso going to save them. Instead he laughs at them and runs away. They are saved however, by the aliens.
In the end all of the toys are given to Bonnie Anderson, a little girl who appreciates them. Even Woody is given to her. Although Andy wanted to keep Woody he sees she really loves Woody and will take care of him. Even adults cried at the end of this movie!
Unless you've been living on an island you've heard of Toy Story and Woody and Buzz. If you haven't seen the movies you may not be familiar with the entire cast of characters but you may have seen the toys in toy stores. Every conceivable type of toy has been made from the Toy Story characters from MacDonald's Happy Meal Toys, to Toy Story sheets, to Toy Story games.
Before I close here are some memorable Toy Story quotes from the movies:
Rex: What if Andy gets another dinosaur? A mean one? I just don't think I can take that kind of rejection!
Buzz: I've set my laser from stun to kill.
Woody: Oh, great. If anyone attacks we can blink em' to death.
Mr. Potato Head: Oh, really? I'm from Playskool.
Rex: And I'm from Mattel. Well, I'm not really from Mattel, I'm actually from a smaller company that was purchased by Mattel in a leveraged buyout.
Mr. Potato Head: Son of a building block! It's Woody!
If you can't see all three, at least try to see one.
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