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Disney In Depth: 20 Reasons To Appreciate ‘Toy Story’
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Brett Nachman   |  @   |  
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This month marks the 20th anniversary of Disney•Pixar’s major triumph, a movie that is adored by (nearly) everyone who has a heart and appreciates cinema. Toy Story is 20, which only means one thing: the perfect occasion to share another Disney In Depth list.

Here are 20 reasons to appreciate Toy Story!

1. As the first fully computer-animated film, not only did it set a precedent that would allow other films in this format to be created, but also it established a new level of visual quality in animation.

2. Pixar re-tooled the concept during Toy Story‘s development to reduce Woody’s harsh attitude. Thankfully, while the character starts out as a cocky and self-centered cowboy, he evolves into a more considerate and friendly figure. Many viewers regard Woody as one of their favorite animated characters, a credit he may not have received had his original personality traits remained intact.

3. The movie enhanced Randy Newman‘s reputation as both a beloved singer/songwriter and also as a film composer. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and the score to Toy Story were nominated for Academy Awards in their respective categories.

4. Toy Story has inspired parodies a plenty, from the small screen on MadTV, to the digital screen in the form of many YouTube videos. Check out a recent Honest Trailer to discover an alternative interpretation of the 1995 film, as well as an impersonation of Newman by MadTV alumnus Will Sasso.

5. Instead of marketing the film as “starring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen,” a practice utilized in many animated movies today – including Toy Story‘s sequels – the Pixar masterpiece relied on its original concept and novel medium to attract audiences.

6. It coined one of the most iconic quotes of the decade with “To Infinity and Beyond,” a phrase that continues to be recognized by individuals the world over. Tons of other unforgettable lines are found in the 1995 film.

7. The key minds involved in developing Toy Story went on to direct some of Pixar’s other gems, including Monsters, Inc. (Pete Docter) and Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton).

8. The film set the foundation of some of the Disney theme parks’ most interactive experiences, such as “Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin” – a dark ride shooter that inspired clone attractions around the world – and “Toy Story Mania,” a 4D dark ride.

9. Popular children’s toys from decades ago attained a surge of love from children of a new generation, thanks to the popularity of Toy Story‘s depictions of Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog.

10. Pixar saw the value of Hamm’s John Ratzenberger, choosing to cast him as a voice in every one of its feature films. Viewers can now carefully listen for Ratzenberger’s distinct sound with every new Disney•Pixar release.

11. Those who grew up with Toy Story, like me, fondly recall early computer experiences due to the film’s impact, as the Animated Storybook and Activity Center CD-ROMs would represent fun and accessible introductions to the once-modern device.

12. Toy Story departed from standard animated movie fare of the era, as its storyline focused on jealousy, friendship and redemption, themes typically not associated with so-called
“family films.”

13. It represents one of those rare films that can stand the test of time, as it lacks outdated references and elements that tie it too closely to the 1990s.

14. Adult humor is found throughout the movie, making Toy Story a treat for grown-ups, too. They can look out for hilarious visual gags and listen to sly lines that are over kids’ heads.

15. Toy Story helped adults, as well as older kids, feel more attuned to their feelings of connections to childhood playthings. The power of this bond was never captured quite as accurately until the advent of Toy Story.

16. Due to the sensational writing, Toy Story earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, the first for an animated film and establishing a benchmark for others that followed.

17. “I Will Go Sailing No More,” one of the finest (and most overlooked) pieces of music in any animated film, speaks to another theme rarely covered in animated films: hopelessness. Toy Story never shies away from negative tones, thus elevating its resonance with viewers of all ages.

18. Toy Story can be watched multiple times and not wear out its welcome nor entertainment value. Of course, I was one of those kids, who constantly had this VHS tape set right against the VCR.

19. Its fandom continues to this day, generating new lines of products and content, from video games and clothing to television specials and short films.

20. Most of all, after first viewing Toy Story, it sparked many individuals’ imagination, prompting many to seek careers in developing toys – or perhaps even becoming animators themselves.

This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Follow me on Twitter for alerts of new editions of Disney In Depth on the first and third Thursdays of each month on Geeks of Doom.

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