Toy Story wraps up its fun-loving movie trilogy in 3-D and ends one of the most successful animated movie franchises in history. Pixar has had some of the hottest animated films ever made not just because they are fun but because both children and adults enjoy their humor, poignancy, and fantastic animation.
Another of the enduring reasons that Toy Story will be with us well beyond the terminus of the franchise is that not only do they make great animated movies at Pixar but because they are great films in general no matter what format in which they are made.
Impact on Moviemaking
Computer animation has become more and more main stream since Disney and Pixar decided on a joint venture in 1991. When the film was released in 1995, the movie’s director John Lasseter was given a special Academy Award for producing the first ever full length movie completely with computer animation.
Since then Pixar has inspired not only the technology but the passion to produce high quality animation. If not for the success of Toy Story, we would not have a Best Animated Feature film category nor would other films such as Shrek, Ice Age, and Kung Fu Panda would be as popular. In short, Lasseter and Pixar took animated films up a notch in both quantity and quality.
There are many favorite moments in the Toy Story franchise that will be remembered forever. There is the ubiquitous “To infinity and beyond” uttered by Buzz Lightyear every time he does something spectacular. My wife and I quote the Little Green Men from the first film all the time when we say to each other “You have been choooooosen. The Claw is your master.”
My funniest parts include Buzz and Zurg in Toy Story 2 and the video game sequence opening in the second film as well. All of the toys ganging up on Sid the evil next door neighbor is also hilarious when he runs away screaming.
Poignant moments for me have been when Buzz realizes he really is a toy and Woody must prove to him that he still has value. Sarah McLachlan’s song When She Loved Me brought my wife and I to tears.
What makes these movies so great is that you can watch them over and over again without being bored and get lost in the great storytelling and lush imagery of each film. Surely the third and final installment will do the franchise justice.
John Lasseter is the perfect man for helming Pixar. Originally an art student in a traditional sense, Lasseter was the second student accepted into the California Institute of Arts animation program in the early 1980s. He helped work on the computer fest Tron and eventually left to work for Industrial Light and Magic where he got a taste for more cutting-edge moviemaking techniques.
Apple’s founder Steve Jobs purchased the computer animation division from George Lucas and named it Pixar and gave John Lasseter full creative control over the company. When Disney bought Pixar in 2006 Lasseter lived his dream he began 25 years earlier as an animator on Disney films as he became the head of the entire Disney division of Feature Animation.
John Lasseter is a kid a heart who knows how to make movies and paint moving pictures. Movies aren’t just made by Pixar they are created and transformed when in the hands of a brilliant artist. Hopefully Lasseter will continue to make great movies that inspire the inner child in all of us.