Welcome to our latest Cineroom contributor! UK-based writer Lorna Baker has ventured into film writing for the first time and below is her debut piece.
By Lorna Baker
Have you ever tried to rank your favourite film series? Hard isn’t it? Today, I’m giving the Toy Story trilogy a go.
The three films are beloved by children and adults alike, but do you agree with my rankings?
Toy Story (1995)
It feels almost criminal to list this pioneering film in last place, but that is a true testament to Pixar and John Lasseter’s vision and their commitment to improving animation techniques. This film was the very first feature-length film Pixar ever made. It was also the first feature-length fully computer animated film to be made. A truly landmark moment in the history of animation!
It’s a film full of action, hilarity and at times moments of horror (need I mention Sid’s baby-headed spider toy?). Why last place? Well, it’s all down to chemistry, in the later films, Woody and Buzz’s friendship is a golden highlight - the ultimate and iconic duo. But in this film, they are antagonists and prefer to push each other’s buttons (sometimes literally).
The toy uprising in Sid’s garden, a truly horrifying, but brilliant sequence that made children everywhere treat their toys a little nicer!
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Toy Story 2 deals with Woody’s emotional crisis of what will happen when his owner, Andy, outgrows him. The storyline is fresh and takes us towards a new chapter in the gang’s life.
The 1999 sequel gets the silver medal because there are moments of genuine comedy, especially the scene in Al’s Toy store. But as we come to expect with Pixar, there are moments of anguish and heart-break too such as hearing Jessie’s story of abandonment. It’s Toy Story’s and Pixar’s ability to tackle hard subjects in a way that children can comprehend which is so impressive. Yet it never gets bogged down by sadness or bitterness, as the quest to save Woody adds many hilarious moments for Buzz and the gang.
This film was an improvement on the first as the characters are more developed and it goes deeper into their thoughts and feelings. The original Toy Story set the scene, this one fleshes it out – and with style!
The entire escape from Al’s Toy barn through to the airport dash! The whole segment brims with action and thrills for the audience (whether they be children or adults!). There’s even a crafty Star Wars reference thrown in!
Toy Story 3 (2010)
This was an incredibly difficult choice as both sequels are full of the characteristic sense of humour and deep emotion we’ve come to love in this trilogy. However, this one just about takes the biscuit. It widens the horizon in terms of the characters we have access to; through taking the gang to the Alcatraz style prison that is Sunnyside Daycare. Lots-o’-Huggin’ bear makes a brilliant villain, a lovable looking toy with a heart of stone. As usual in Toy Story, there’s a reason behind the villainy, and it’s just as sad as Jessie’s story from Toy Story 2.
The comedy is taken to another level in this film, far beyond the reaches of the first two, with some of the new characters becoming firm favourites – with Ken being a particular scene stealer!
The heart-breaking scene where Andy donates his beloved toys to a little girl. Many left the cinemas in tears after this, as it’s something we can all relate to, especially as I have not got the heart to give my childhood toys away
So that’s it, our battle has been won! It truly shows what a remarkable series of films Toy Story has become, with each bettering the last. But what’s next? Round 2? In a couple of years (2018), we could revisit this feature with the addition of Toy Story 4. John Lasseter is back in the writer/director’s chair with the addition of US comic actors and screenwriters, Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, stepping in to write the screenplay - sounds promising!