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Toy Story. Examination of the Film

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Content/Meaning in Toy Story

In the film Toy Story produced in 1995, the constructed reality is shown throughout the movie. The plot of Toy Story consists of the “secret-life” of the toys while people are not around. Toys can walk, talk, and much more. The story starts out with Woody, a cowboy doll, being Andy’s favorite toy. We are introduced to many other characters such as Mr. Potato Head, Hamm (a pig), Slinky Dog, Rex, and many others. We are shown Andy and Woody’s relationship and how Woody knows that he is Andy’s favorite toy. However, when Andy’s birthday takes place before they move, a new toy comes into the picture. This toy is a Buzz Lightyear, a high-tec toy which is really impressive. Buzz thinks he is a real space ranger and quickly becomes Andy’s new favorite. Woody moves down in ranks and down from the bed to the toy box. Soon Woody will do anything to get rid of Buzz and knocks him out the window. Andy takes Woody to Pizza planet, but before they leave, Buzz jumps into the van. At the gas station, Buzz and Woody get into a huge argument, and Andy leaves them there. After stowing away on a pizza delivery truck, Buzz and Woody make it to Pizza Planet and try to reunite with Andy. Before they can do this, Sid, Andy’s evil neighbor, takes them. Sid tortures toys for fun and is really mean to his sister and everyone else. Sid has just ordered a rocket and is planning to strap Buzz to it and blow him up, but Woody and some other toys that are there devise a plan to save Buzz and scare Sid away from all toys. They reveal that toys are alive, save Buzz, and freak Sid out. In the end, they make it back to the van and are safe with Andy.

This film fits under the Action/Adventure film genre almost perfectly. Action films are usually designed to provide an action-filled, energetic experience for the film viewer. Rather than the emphasis on violence and fighting that is found in action films, however, the viewer of adventure films can live vicariously through the travels, conquests, explorations, creation of empires, struggles and situations that confront the main characters. In the film Toy Story, we see this very well. The main characters, Buzz and Woody go through many struggles, explorations, and situations. They are trying to find their way back to Andy, yet struggle because they both want to be Andy’s favorite. Another genre that might also work is comedy. Comedies are created to amuse, entertain, and provoke enjoyment. This movie is really fun to watch because it is such a fun idea to think about. It ends in a happy ending, like most comedies, but exaggerates the situation, action, or characters along the way. This film has a very good plot and fits well with the genres.

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Form/Structure of Toy Story

The theme of Toy Story is very obvious. This movie is about friendship centered on the conflict between Woody and Buzz. The conflict between them is shown when Buzz first comes into the picture and all the toys are impressed with him. Woody is jealous and wants to be the favorite, but now Buzz is the favorite toy. Woody constantly mocks Buzz. We see this when Buzz says, “I’ve set my laser from stun to kill.” Woody replies with, “Oh, great. If anyone attacks we can blink em’ to death.” As the movie progresses though, their friendship begins to grow and they work as a team. Later on in the movie, Woody wants to save his new friend and asks the other toys, “Please. He’s my friend. He’s the only one I’ve got.” We are now sure that Woody would do anything for Buzz, his best friend. Though they still have their differences, by the end of the movie Woody and Buzz are very good friends. This movie shows kids that even though it seems like someone might be mean to you, if you do not annoy them and are nice to them, you can grow to be friends with that person.

The construction in the movie was really well done. At the beginning of the story the set is in Andy’s room. There are pictures of Woody on the walls, and cowboy bed sheets. When Buzz appears though, things begin to change. The old posters are covered by new space posters and the bed sheets change to Buzz Lightyear ones. Another major set is in Sid’s house. Buzz and Woody spend some time in there when they are trying to get back to Andy’s house. These sets are very well developed. The lighting in Andy’s room is bright and happy, just like the attitudes of the toys, but in Sid’s room, things are dark and scary just like Sid. Woody’s costume is old and rugged. It is visible that Woody has gotten a lot of use and has been with Andy quite a long time. Buzz, on the other hand, is extremely clean, and looks very high-tech. Obviously he is hard, made of durable plastic that will not break very easily.

There are many lines in this film. The straight lines on Buzz’s costume represent a sense of masculine characteristics, strong, and unemotional; much like Buzz. Another good example of this is shown when the toy soldiers are going on their birthday mission. There are diagonal shadows in the background that convey a sense of action, dynamism, or chaos.

Camera movements, distances, and angles play a very important role in this movie too. The movie begins with a slow track showing Andy and Woody playing. We switch to a low angle showing Woody sliding down the banister and when he is about to hit the camera, we become Woody and get a subjective, or point of view shot. Point of view shots are very popular in this movie because it gives you the sense that you are part of the toy’s world. Soon after the beginning, we get to see Buzz for the first time. The shot is a close-up, starting at Buzz’s feet and tilting to see Buzz’s head. A good example of the basic order is presented when Woody and Buzz are left behind in the gas station. We are given a long distance, high angle shot of Woody. This gives us a sense that Woody is small and alone in the world. After that we move to a medium, close-up, and long again, completing the basic order of shots.

Organization in this film can be seen in a few ways. Although there are not many really interesting transitions, there is some great foreshadowing. Before the birthday party, all the toys but Woody are nervous of what is going to come. Then later, Woody should have been the one worried because Buzz became the new favorite. We can see another example when the toys see Sid blowing up a helpless toy next door. Buzz says, “I’m going to go teach that boy a lesson.” This foreshadows the time at the end of the movie where Sid straps Buzz to the rocket and Woody helps in teaching Sid a lesson. There are many more places with foreshadowing that assist with the organization of this film.

Surface qualities in this movie were done very well. Voices for the characters were very good. Tom Hanks as Woody was a very good fit and he delivered all of his lines perfectly. Many of his jokes had to do with perfect timing and voice tone. Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear is also a perfect match up and Tim Allen’s voice fits Buzz’s attitude very well. Hanks and Tim Allen work off each other like the pros they are. Another great member of the cast is Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head. His voice plays out perfectly with Potato Head’s lines. He even got in his line, “What are you looking at, ya hockey puck?!” Everything in the acting went well together and there is not a single weak link in the rest of the star-studded cast. There is also a lot of humor in this movie. It is mostly verbal humor and fits right in to the comedic genre. A good scene that shows us this is when Woody calls a meeting of the toys in Andy’s room and says, “Tuesday’s plastic corrosion awareness meeting was a big success.” Stuff like this makes the movie funny because it can be normal to them but the very idea of toys holding meetings is funny. When it comes to special effects, there is no really good place to start. The whole movie is really one big special effect. Computer animation has caused us to believe that what is happening is actually there. When it comes to sound, Randy Newman does a wonderful job. His song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is really catchy and fits well with the movies theme. There are many Foley effects too, such as Mr. Potato Head smashing on the floor and his pieces going everywhere, and RC, the remote control car. Comedy, Adventure, and Fantasy play great roles in this movie and Toy Story follows the format of these genres very closely.

Context/Function of Toy Story

This movie was produced for a variety of reasons. One main reason is to explain the world. This movie gives a completely new approach to the world and a new idea why toys are misplaced. By showing us that toys are actually alive they are explaining the world from a new point of view that many of us have never thought of before. They also made this movie to give you a distraction from your normal living. This movie is pure fun and enjoyment. When watching this movie we can focus our thoughts on something other than work or school and enjoy ourselves. Another reason they made this movie was to have us get away to somewhere else. We can escape to somewhere never thought possible, and journey to a toy’s world. This place is full of new things and characters, which bring you away from your life in this world and draw you into part of that world. In all, this movie was mostly created for its viewer’s enjoyment by showing them a different world that we cannot usually experience.

Discernment is needed when watching the media these days. Luckily, the film Toy Story has many of the qualities described in Philippians 4:8. A major quality is that the film is excellent. Toy Story is a work of art brought together by many hard-working people, and it will be a classic for many years to come. When I went back and watched it for this review, I was amazed at how much I like this movie and I now have a better understanding of how it was made. Another quality that Toy Story possesses is that it is right. I can see that it is right because it makes a very good moral statement. Toy Story shows us that even though two people might not like each other, if they try to help each other, they may become good friends. This is a right message that is being portrayed to kids and families through this movie. Praiseworthy could also be considered a good quality of this film because I think it can affect kids in a very good way. It helps kids know that friendship is an important thing and that we should treat each other nicely. Toy Story has had a good affect on our culture and our families, which is why this film should be regarded as praiseworthy. Pure is contrast between which is innocent, chaste, and pure with that which is sordid, impure, and worldly. The quality pure can be seen very easily between the lives of Andy and Sid. Andy represents the pure side of things without a care in the world. Sid, on the other hand, represents the sordid, impure, and worldly life that so many of us live. These two are totally different with their word choice, looks, and attitude. We must remember, as Christians, to live pure lives true to God’s Word. We must be in but not of the World.

I would recommend this film to my friends because it is a classic movie with high entertainment and good values. The film also has great technical mastery and it was one of the first well-known computer animated movies. The values in the movie are also very good. The plot is well thought out and I can see that the producers took a lot of time to work on it. I would also recommend it to my parents because they would enjoy the humor in the story and probably the music too. My dad is a pretty big Tom Hanks and Tim Allen fan, so he would love it because of that and my mom would like how the movie has good basic values rooted in friendship and kindness.

Although nothing really bothers me anymore, when I was younger the toy’s Sid had “operated” on would scare me. I am sure they would scare most children because they look so freaky and make weird sounds. I know when it first came out many parents would not let their kids watch it because of Sid. Sid is a bad kid who destroys toys for fun. He is mean to his little sister and buys illegal fireworks. No parent wants their kids to be influenced by a character like Sid, so many did not let them see it. Another thing that might upset viewers is the bank hold-up scene with Mr. Potato head in the beginning. I know my mom did not like me to watch a kid playing with his toys in a violent way like that, but my dad convinced her otherwise.

Christians could gain a variety of things from this movie. A non-Christian could see that friendship is very important and that it is good to have friends, but we can take it further than that. We know that we have a better friend than any one on earth; He is our God. Having a God who is our friend is an extraordinary idea. Many religions have a god separated from the people, but Christianity has him right beside us. By watching how Buzz and Woody become friends even when times are tough, we know that when times are tough our friend, God, will always be there for us no matter what. As we grow in our understanding of living better Christians lives, the film Toy Story, although not distinctly Christian confirms our convictions of importance of relationships and friendship.

In all, I love this movie because it is very funny and is visually stimulating. It also had very good morals that we need to be reminded about from time to time. Friendship with others and friendship with God is presented to me now stronger than ever and I know that because of God, friends, and family, I will be able to get through anything.

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