Picks and Pans Review: Toy Story
Now must we offer sacrifices of thanks to the god of cartoons, for this has been a most bountiful year. (Someone bring the fruit plate and the flowers to the shrine.) First there was Disney's Pocahontas, a lush, softly romantic classic of the traditional school of animation. Now, working with a high-tech graphics company called Pixar, Disney has produced the first feature-length computer-animated film, and it too is a movie of the first rank—a polished, shiny wonder to behold. And, thanks to a clever script, it's lots of fun too. I can't recall a dull spot in its 81 minutes.
Story is about the rivalry between a toy cowboy, Woody (Hanks), and the birthday gift that instantly becomes his young owner's new favorite, a plastic spaceman named Buzz Lightyear (Allen). Buzz has short, powerful arms, the dully contented look of beef cattle unaware of the butcher and small red pulsating lights—lasers—on his gloves. Woody, on the other hand, looks like...it's hard to remember what Woody looks like once Buzz shows up. Even the other toys in the bedroom are obsessed with him. Hence, Woody's determination to get rid of Buzz.
Computer animation, it turns out, is ideal for depicting the surface sheen of plastic toys, everything from little, pear-shaped space aliens (they're rubbery) to miniature Marines (waxy). Only the human characters are a bit odd—spongy instead of fleshy. And for some reason a dog comes out looking like a carpeted killer whale. Big deal.(G)