Disney Pixar

To Infinity and Beyond: What ‘Toy Story’ Means To Me

Now that Lightyear has been in movie theatres just over a week, I thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate the franchise which inspired the new film, Toy Story, and one that means so much to me.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the Toy Story franchise, and still do to be very clear – if it wasn’t obvious from the title of this piece. I was so excited to see Buzz in a completely new light as well the other week. Before heading into Lightyear, I did what any fan would do, and rewatched the films and was reminded why I loved these films so much.

Alongside the films, Disney+’s recent special Beyond Infinity: Buzz and the Journey to Lightyear really got me into the Lightyear spirit, and thus inspired me to go back to where it all began and watch the Toy Story franchise on Disney+. A really good watch too, so I definitely recommend watching if you have not already! I truly love a good Pixar documentary.

This piece is a tribute to Toy Story, and why it is so great and everything that is so good about it, and why it means so much to me.

Rewatching The Films Every Year

I think it is fair to say that an annual requirement on my behalf is to watch the Toy Story films at least once. Those, and a few other Pixar films are a necessity, out of pure love. To name a few, Ratatouille, Inside Out, Monsters Inc, and Wall-E. If there are a collection of films which I’ve seen the most during my life, it has got to be Toy Story.

I think these films played a huge part in my childhood and were the films that got me into my love of film. At a young age, I dreamt of moving to Emeryville, California to work for Pixar. I didn’t know if I wanted to become an animator or what, I just knew I wanted to work for Pixar. This was all because of Toy Story. I built my own Lego creation for things like Toy Story Playland at Disneyland Paris and went absolutely crazy when I discovered that the Disney Infinity videogame would feature its very own Toy Story playset.

I don’t know when this love for Toy Story started, but I do know it’s been there for my whole life, thanks to this old photo from an album my Mum found, just for this article.

I also cannot wait to visit Walt Disney World in August, and finally be able to visit Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – the three attractions in that land are for sure on the top of my list…

What Makes Toy Story So Great?

I personally think it is actually quite difficult to pinpoint one reason why the films are so good. Firstly, the original is one of the best animated films of all time. Fact! Not only is it really good, but the films are really funny too. Laughter is one of the greatest feelings in my eyes, and three films have lots of it,

I also think these films are easily rewatchable too, I mean how else would I be able to watch these films every year without getting bored! They’re sort of the perfect running time and being able to speak the lines as they happen adds to the experience. I would love to know how many times I’ve seen the first film.

Like I’m sure many other people have done similarly, I’ve grown up with these films and the thought of Toy Story just brings me back to being a kid, and that is what the film is about. Feeling like a kid, playing with his favourite toys. The idea that when you’re not playing with these toys, they’re coming to life. It was insane and so much fun!

Not only are the stories at the centre of these films endearing, but the music throughout the series is too. Songs like “You’ve Got A Friend in Me”, “When She Loved Me”, “We Belong Together”, even “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” are all great songs. Firstly, for how good they are is one thing, but the messages they carry is another. Songs about friendship, relationships and family are so important when telling these kinds of stories and Randy Newman does them perfectly.

Lightyear Reaction

It’s safe to say I was pleased with Lightyear – the fast-paced sci-fi adventure was a really fun watch and was really happy with the final project. The inner Toy Story fan within me was even more pleased, when little touches and nods calling back to the films was great. I sort of felt like Andy watching the film in a way, it was perfect.

Obviously, many things have their issues, especially when something means a lot to you, it can sort of dampen an experience however, on this occasion – that did not stop Lightyear from being a hell of a ride. Seeing things like the final spaceship being the one from Buzz’s packaging, the original Green Space Ranger costume and of course, the Pizza Planet Truck!

So Long, Partner.

I would be happy to meet up with Woody, Buzz and the Gang one day in the future, but I’m happy also not seeing these beloved characters again. For me, Toy Story 3 was a great ending for the series. Toy Story 4 happened… but still acted as a great ending for Woody, specifically. I’m glad that the idea of Lightyear worked but can confidently say that Disney and Pixar should leave the Toy Story franchise alone.

Maybe a new film set in the Bug’s Life universe, or why not a new story catching up with Ian and Barkley from Onward? As much as I love Pixar’s original stories, I am a sucker for sequels, sometimes.

I love Toy Story so much and will continue to always love it.

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