Toy Story (1995)
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is separation in the movie -- toys are separated from one another and from their owner (but if your kid made it to preschool without an issue, this should be fine). All of the dynamics behind sibling rivalry are here as well, so if your kids are going through that, this is a perfect movie to have them watch together. Kids may be scared by Andy's next-door neighbor Sid, who has a mean laugh and mutilates toys for fun -- but he does get a mild comeuppance. Really young kids may be confused by the toys being "real" here, especially when Buzz really thinks he's a star commander. Note: The 3-D version of the movie includes a couple of brief scenes that might spook the youngest viewers, like dinosaur Rex roaring, but otherwise the digital effects are played for laughs (or, as the green squeeze-toy aliens would say, "Oooh ... aaah").
What's the story?
TOY STORY follows the adventures of the toys who belong to a boy named Andy. His favorite is a sheriff from the Old West named Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), who acts as the leader of the rest of Andy's toys -- including a skittish Tyrannosaurus Rex (Wallace Shawn) and Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles). All is going well until Andy gets a very special birthay present: a toy spaceman named Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). Woody gets jealous, and, in an effort to keep Andy from taking Buzz with him on an excursion, accidentally knocks Buzz out the window. Feeling very bad about what he's done, Woody follows, determined to bring Buzz back home to Andy before the family moves to its new house.
Is it any good?
This Pixar release was the first feature film animated entirely by computer. Although the dazzling technology is especially well suited to a story in which the major characters are made out of plastic, it's the unpretentious imagination and energy of the people behind the story and the outstanding vocal performances that make the movie an instant classic. There's plenty of cleverness throughout, and the story keeps moving at a great pace -- there's truly never a dull moment in these toys' lives.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about friendships, loyalty, and rivalry. Young kids are exploring all these issues, and the movie has great models.
Andy seems to spend more time playing with his beloved toys than watching TV or playing video games. Kids: What's great about playtime over TV time?
Kids: Do you really think that toys become "real" when humans leave the room? Why is imagination such an important part of playtime?