I remember seeing Toy Story in a small, now-gone Miami theatre thirteen years ago. As a 10-year-old, I was already too old, too cool for Disney cartoons. Then Buzz Lightyear and Woody came into my life, and changed everything.
At the time, it seemed all the hype regarding Toy Story involved method over content; style over substance. People were so captivated by the world’s first feature-length computer animated movie, that they forgot to talk about why the movie was so good.
In retrospect, watching the movie in 2009, the animation hasn’t aged well. Sure, Rex’s rubbery, scaly texture and Buzz’s facial expression still hold up, but Andy’s clothing and the cityscape behind the Dinoco gas station look primitive in comparison to the wondrous animation Pixar has achieved in Wall-E and Ratatouille.
But that doesn’t matter because Toy Story is an excellent film.
At the time, the story was taken for granted. Disney animation was still telling great stories with Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Yet, since the moment Pixar took a firm grasp of the animation industry in 1995, Disney has yet to make a movie as visually stunning and emotionally captivating as anything Pixar has created.
Which is probably why Disney bought them.
So while Treasure Planet and Brother Bear are all but forgotten, I know I will watch Toy Story with my nephews in two years, my own kids in 10 years, and my grandchildren in 50 years.
P.S.: The long-awaited Toy Story 3 will be released on June 18, 2010. In order to build anticipation, Toy Story will be re-released in theatres in Disney Digital 3-D on Oct. 2, 2009, and Toy Story 2 will get the same treatment on Feb. 12, 2010.