Toy Story (Lasseter, 1995)

The beginning of the Pixar reign of power might also be the company’s most joyous work to date. With all the success Disney has had riding this great animation branch, it’s easy to forget where it all started, and one look at John Lasseter’s great film reminds why this formula has been so successful. Toy Story takes us into a world unseen by humans, where toys like Woody the Cowboy and Buzz Lightyear live to serve their young master’s great imagination and each other’s curiosity about the unknown universe beyond the window sill. As an example of The Hero’s Journey it’s near perfect, an excellent tool for breaking down character motivation and development. But Toy Story speaks to a curiosity about life’s hidden pleasures, where toys can take on the attitude of their kind owner, simple environments can turn into vast universes, and friendship transcends size or shape. While it’s successor might be the better film, Toy Story remains a fantastic origin story for characters and themes that will always ring true for both kids and adults.

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