Video Picks Archive

October 22, 2000
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>

This week my picks are Toy Story (1995 - ) and Toy Story 2 (1999 - ).

Just when you thought the Fight Club DVD set was the best package ever released, Pixar and Disney join forces to bring you "The Ultimate Toy Box". Not only does it feature both Toy Story and Toy Story 2, but there is also a third disc that delves deep into the process of making these groundbreaking films. First, the capsule film reviews:

In 1995, Disney released the first-ever, fully computer-animated feature film: Pixar's Toy Story. Pixar, led by director John Lasseter, had made many short films and commercials using their state-of-the-art software. Their first feature asks the question: When a toy is lost, does it try to find its owner with the same determination? Tom Hanks lends the voice to Woody, a cowboy rag doll who is the favorite toy of a boy named Andy (John Morris). Strange things start to happen when Andy gets a new toy for his birthday: Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger (Tim Allen). When rivals Woody and Buzz get lost together, they must form a partnership to get back to Andy. This simple story is told through stunning animation, giving the appearance of actual toys coming to life. But then again, you probably know just how wonderful it is, because it was so popular that it led to a sequel, which proved to be even more successful.

When Toy Story 2 came out, it was the third feature made by Pixar, following A Bug's Life from the previous year. This time, it's Woody who gets to be the center of attention. The lovable cowboy doll turns out to be a rare collectible, and is stolen by toy store proprietor Al McWhiggin (Wayne Knight). Woody learns about his character's origin as a marionette on a 1950s TV show, and reunites with his horse, Bullseye, and other dolls from the show, who will be shipped off to a museum in Japan. Buzz and the other toys must now come to his rescue, but will Woody want to be saved? This film is that incredibly rare example of a sequel that surpasses the original. Not only has the technology, and therefore the depth of animation improved, the story is more poignant and funny. All the same voice and production talent returned, and made the best American animated feature since The Lion King.
Full review from November 29, 2000

Of course, what I love most about this new DVD set is the third disc. Animation fans of all ages and levels of knowledge will be fascinated with this plethora of features. You can learn about every step of creation, from story treatment through final rendering and printing. Not only is the content interesting, but the enthusiasm and wit of Lasseter and his associates make the commentary and feature introductions highly entertaining. This is definitely the DVD set to own, especially since the main DVDs have very few features outside of the audio commentary. Don't miss out!


For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Toy Story (1995)
Toy Story 2 (1999)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
Toy Story & Toy Story 2: The Ultimate Toy Box -- DVD (3-Disc Collector's Set)
Toy Story (1995) -- VHS
Toy Story 2 (1999) -- VHS
Toy Story (1995) & Toy Story 2 (1999) -- DVD (2-Pack)
Toy Story 2, a screenplay novelization by Leslie Goldman -- Paperback
Toy Story 2: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc


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Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan