Toy Story - Sheriff Woody"Reach for the sky!"
The opening scene to Pixar's first feature acts like a Mission Statement for the company, adventure crafted out of pure imagination. Andy creates an elaborate scenario with his toys using action figures and crayoned cardboard boxes for sets. Though the toys come from different eras and genres, Andy has no problem working them into a cohesive whole. It's rather complicated for a child - indicating a level of imagination beyond my own at that age - rather simple for an animated feature looking to dazzle. (The openings to Toy Story's 2 and 3 go for spectacle, but this scaled down approach makes for the perfect humble beginning.)
I love the way Woody's head rises up in the frame as he says his first pull string phrase. It follows two shots where we clearly see Andy moving him into position and pulling his string. All Woody does is flop around, but as he levels up into the shot, he suddenly carries all the necessary gravitas to back up his words. (This is aided by some nice cowboy orchestration.)
At this point, we're still completely in the world of Andy. He supplies all the voices, and invents new twists to his story, like Slinky Dog as a force field, which Woody's dinosaur(!?) is able to chase away. (Many, many viewings later one of the early laughs that remains enchanting to me is Andy's 'yike' noises as Slinky Dog is scared away.) Bart goes to Jail, the crib of Andy's little sister. (This kid uses everything). With that, our film begins.
When it comes to naming negatives, I don't want to get into nit picks just for the sake of appearing fair and balanced. I think this is a marvelous opening, setting up the world, the characters, and the animation style. That being said, Molly's drool
is kinda gross. You can argue it's the setup for a joke coming up later, and typical of the constant abuse Potato Head takes, but I still could've done without seeing it.Rating: * * * *