In the year 1995, the world of cinema was introduced to a sheriff and a space ranger. However these were not your typical movie stars. For the first time in cinema history, a feature film's stars were to be computer-generated. Movie-goers were about to go to infinity and beyond. Toy Story (1995) tells the tale of a beloved toy sheriff who must compete for the affection of his owner with a brand new toy. Both their worlds are turned upside down when jealousy takes over and they are both lost in a human world. It is easy to understand why Toy Story ranks among the top one hundred films of all time. From the incredible reviews and reception of the film at its time of release, to the excellent editing of the entire film, and finally, a simple form combined with a complex context, Toy Story is without a doubt a visual masterpiece, light years ahead of its time. Toy Story was released in November of 1995 and quickly became the movie of that year. Prior to the film's release, executive producer Steve Jobs stated, "If Toy Story is a modest hit—say $75 million at the box office—we'll [Pixar and Disney] both break even. If it gets $100 million, we'll both make money. But if it's a real blockbuster and earns $200 million or so at the box office, we'll make good money, and Disney will make a lot of money." Little did Jobs know how massive a hit his film would become. In the first five days of its release, the film made just over thirty-nine million dollars. It would go on to earn over $191 million dollars, and quickly became the highest grossing film of the entire year. The film's worldwide earnings were nearly double, reaching $362 million dollars. Although there is no certain correlation between a film's box office earnings and its merit, one would have to believe that these kind of numbers would surely suggest that it was also a cinematically successful film. Toy Story was nominated for three Academy Awards, most notably for Best Writing. It has also received critical acclaim from many well-respected critics. Perhaps one of the most respected critics, Roger Ebert, hailed the film by saying, “Watching the film, I felt I was in at the dawn of a new era of movie animation, which draws on the best of cartoons and reality, creating a world somewhere in between, where space not only bends but snaps, crackles and pops.” (Ebert) The popular press and critics of the time received Toy Story extremely well, and the vast majority of the reviews are positive and praising of the film in every shape and form. They all read the film's ideology and themes the exact same way I did. While viewing the film, the viewer gets lost in this brand new universe of talking toys, which like Ebert said, has the utmost best of both cartoon and reality. Leonard Klady, of the magazine Variety, also praises the themes of Toy Story by saying, “The film's emotional qualities are almost haunting. Woody's roller coaster of feelings is every bit as palpable as that of a live-action hero. And Buzz, despite an intrinsic decency, lives with the delusion that he's flesh and blood. When he comes face to face with his true identity, the moment is extremely poignant.” (Klady) I could not agree more. Both Woody and Buzz face human problems that the audience can truly relate to, yet we forget that they are toys living in a toy world where the human element is removed. The viewer's heart cannot seem to resist feeling that revenge that Woody wants so desperately when Buzz seemingly takes over Andy's room. And the audience's heart seems to break as Buzz's identity comes crashing down and his mind is broken, leaving the viewer feeling sorry for a toy, singing “You've Got A Friend In Me.” That song, from the opening credits, truly states the overall theme of the film. Even when somebody wrongs you, and takes away something that you held to be very dear, that person can grow to become a friend, and even a best friend, who will stand up for you, defend you when they know...
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