Toy Story - The Coast is Clear"Pull my string! The birthday party's today?"
We're just over 4 minutes in and now something truly magical happens. Something many of us suspected all our lives. When people leave the room, the toys come to life. All retain their properties, their physical and vocal limitations. (The many books and board gams remain quiet.) Some like Potato Head and the agreeable Slinky Dog are exactly like you expect, others like Rex, are nothing like their structure. (I wonder why Rex is such a bundle of nerves. Perhaps it's because he isn't to scale compared to the Cowboy or the Shark.) If you thought these toys were used imaginatively when Andy played with them, that's nothing compared to their independent actions. Who's ever wondered what an Etch A Sketch can do when used to its fullest ability?
A lot of the jokes here are pitched squarely at kids height, ("I'm just a couple of blocks away."), while those included for the adults are awkwardly wedged in, like Don Rickles' "hockey puck" line. I immediately took to Slinky Dog. I've never seen a Slinky in that form before, and dachshund is my favorite breed of dog. I love how the rear often acts independent of the head. It even has it's own springy tail.
Bo Peep has always been one of my least favorite characters, and her introduction is some of the film's worst writing. All puns and innuendo. I'm extrapolating, but it's a moment written by a bunch of guys trying to include a female presence in the story. Woody's reaction to her suggestion...
I don't ever need to see that face again.
Technically, the frames are packed with lots of cool details, the many books and board games with titles you can clearly read, jigsaw puzzle pieces on the ground, sneaker smears at the bottom of doors, great sounds like the coins jiggling inside of Hamm. And I love Randy Newman's score in this section. It's playful and atmospheric without having the simplicity of something from a kids TV show.
BTW, there's an early version of both Lots-o Huggin' Bear and Chuckles in the Clown in the image above.Rating: * * *