Each of these movies probably deserves its own post, but my senseless desire to feature an entire trilogy in one post outweighs what is fair in life.
I’ve always identified closely with these movies. In fact, I have a vivid memory of closing the door behind me when I left the room and then hurrying and opening it back up to see if my toys were moving. Then my wife told me to stop messing around and come to bed.
The Toy Story franchise is one of the few in history that actually gets better with each sequel, which is quite a feat considering how awesome the first movie was to begin with.
Stroll down memory lane with me back to 1995 (20 years ago!) when the world fell somewhere between Beanie Babies and Pokemon cards, and all my sister’s friends had those mini backpack/purse things that served no practical purpose. That’s when Toy Story became the first full-length computer-animated film in history.
Pixar, which had only produced animated shorts up to this point, was approached by Disney to make this film, however, Disney didn’t like the early story treatments, and they pushed Pixar to make it more edgy. The early story reels based on this new direction turned out disastrous, and Pixar was allowed to return to the happier tone they wanted. Good thing, too, because the final product was awesome.
Toy Story was one of the highest grossing films of 1995, and John Lasseter, the film’s director, ended up receiving a special achievement Academy Award, more than 50 years after Walt Disney received a similar honorary Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Also in 1995, I received a trophy labeled “Participant” for my unique contributions to my junior recreational basketball team, so yeah, John, Walt, and I are pretty much the same person.
The original Toy Story laid the foundation for two even more wildly successful sequels, with Toy Story 3 becoming the highest grossing animated film of all time until Frozen. (Darn that Adele Gazeem and her golden voice…)
The franchise features the talents of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Wayne Knight, Estelle Harris, Jodie Benson, Ned Beatty, and Michael Keaton. Also, the voice of the little boy, Andy, was the same in all the films, including the one where he goes off to college.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Not to be insensitive here, but I feel like the day before entering college is a bit late to be facing that “getting rid of all your toys” dilemma.
These movies beautifully capture the simple joys of being a kid, as well as the bittersweet feelings that accompany our gradual exit from childhood.
From an early age, we experience a yearning to share our deepest feelings with others, whether those listeners are people or potato heads. As we grow older, our friendships evolve with different phases of life, but the relationships that mean the most are those bonded with friends who can strengthen us as we in turn strengthen them. As the song says, “as the years go by, [the] friendships [that] never die” are those based on love.
And in our darkest hours when we feel the most alone, remember there is one Friend who will always love us more than any other. And as He laid down his life for His friends, so we can make even the small sacrifices that show our friends they’re never alone.
“A friend loveth at all times.” — Proverbs 17:17