Toy Story – Andy’s toys, led by the intrepid cowboy, Woody, nervously wait to find out what their owner has been given for his birthday.When new space ranger action figure, Buzz Lightyear, arrives he immediately makes an impression, especially as he doesn’t realise that he’s ‘just’ a toy. Woody’s jealousy of Buzz’s popularity winds up getting both toys lost and far from home but knowing that the family are about to move house, they frantically try to return home. Realising that they must work together to have any chance of getting back to Andy, Woody and Buzz both learn a lot, not just about each other but also about themselves.

Toy Story (1995) – Director: John Lasseter

Is Toy Story appropriate for kids?

Rating U

Running Length: 81 mins

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles

Genre: Animated, Comedy

‘TOY STORY’ REVIEW

This is the movie that started the world’s love for all things Pixar. ‘Toy Story’ introduces the characters that we all know and love; Woody, the old timey cowboy; Buzz Lightyear, the pompous and brave spaceman; and all the other toys that live in Andy’s bedroom (Mr Potato Head, Rex, Bo Peep and Hamm to name but a few). A belief that toys could have their own secret lives is something that practically every child has had at some point and because of this the story resonates with every generation, ensuring that this is a movie that will never date.

The sometime dramatic (but always comforting) voice of Tom Hanks as Woody and the calmness of Tim Allen as Buzz carry the movie perfectly and, despite both of them making mistakes and being somewhat self-centred, the audience continues to root for them. Even in these early days, the strength of the writing was evident, the characters are believable, the story is incredibly watchable for all ages and the overall entertainment value of the movie is second to none.

A movie which has been proven to stand the test of time and one that has spawned equally successful sequels, ‘Toy Story’ is the perfect family film to make every member of the audience thoroughly enjoy each moment from start to finish.

IS ‘TOY STORY’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

Some of the following descriptions may seem to be quite strong, however it is important to note that the toys who get ‘hurt’ are never actually badly injured, there is no blood or gore and while some become fearful of what may happen to them, they never suffer lasting effects of pain or trauma.

Woody, leader of the toys, knows that he is Andy’s favourite. However, when Andy receives a brand new ‘Buzz Lightyear’ space ranger toy, Woody is replaced by Buzz as favourite. This causes him to display some negative emotions, such as jealousy and sadness. Woody’s dislike of Buzz eventually culminates in him playing an ill-fated prank on the spaceman and accidentally gets him pushed out of a window (this doesn’t harm him). The other toys in Andy’s room turn against Woody, calling him a ‘murderer’ because they how he has behaved towards Buzz before. This all happens quite early on in the movie and this level of negativity could be a little off-putting for some younger children.

A boy living next door to Andy treats toys badly. One character fearfully says ‘he tortures toys, just for fun!’. A toy soldier is shown to be strapped to an explosive, it explodes and plastic parts, including the soldier’s helmet, are thrown into the air. The boy gleefully shouts ‘yes, he’s gone! He’s history!’. The boy has a dog which is seen to snatch a toy into its mouth and shake it about; because it’s a squeaky toy, it emits a high-pitched and continuous squeak which makes the toy seem to be in great distress. Two other toys look on in horror.

A young girl’s doll is snatched from her hands by an older boy. She chases after him, begging for it to be returned to her. He ignores her and shuts her out a room where he rips the doll’s head off and replaces it with the head of a toy dinosaur. Some of the boy’s other experiments include a doll’s head (which has had its hair pulled out and an eye removed) being put onto spider-like mechano legs, a monster hand on a jack-in-the-box (which drags itself around) and a pair of legs attached to a fishing rod. These monstrous toys are introduced in a horror-movie style scene where they appear to attack another toy, Woody and Buzz believe they are cannibals.

Some toys attempt to scare a child that harms them, they slowly rise out of mud and sand, slumping towards him like zombies. Some of these toys look very scary, one has a nail through its head, one has a leg which is badly bent, making it look broken and, while the child holds a toy, it’s head spins all the way around in a very spooky way (it is a clear parody of the famous scene in the Exorcist). The child becomes terrified and runs away screaming. While this could be quite scary for some kids, the toys are clearly the ‘good characters’ and they have been forced to take drastic measures in order to protect themselves.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT – IS ‘TOY STORY’ FOR KIDS?

The movie that started the world’s love for all things Pixar, ‘Toy Story’ uniquely delivers a children’s story that is as equally entertaining for adults. While there are a few mildly scary moments, we feel this movie is appropriate for kids of all ages.

  • Violence: 1/5 (mild, mostly slapstick violence to toys who can’t really get badly hurt. One toy, which has not previously been introduced to the story, is strapped to a rocket which is launched into the air and explodes, scattering parts of the toy on the ground)
  • Emotional Distress: 0/5
  • Fear Factor: 2/5
  • Sexual Content: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 1/5
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of jealousy, friendship, love, teamwork, not judging a book by its cover, accepting ones differences, childhood, understanding your place in life, even if it isn’t what you thought it was, (mild) depression, standing up for yourself against a stronger foe, courage, determination and dealing with bullies.

Words by Laura Record

 

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