Caleb’s review published on Letterboxd:
"To infinity and beyond!"
Released the year I was born, Toy Story broke ground as it stunned millions of adults and kids alike as it brought 3D computer animation to life. I can attest to the fact that this was visually stunning and it was effortless for Pixar to immerse myself into their world. As a kid, I believed this film. It was the truth. In my childhood, I depended on Pixar whenever I needed an escape. To this day, I still do, admittedly on a less frequent basis. Still, it doesn't change the fact that early Pixar output from 1995 to 2004 (ending with The Incredibles) has its place very near and very dear to my heart and soul. In fact, revisiting such films evoke very fond memories of my childhood.
Having not gotten around to a revisit of the series since the third's release way back in 2010, it's still astounding what Pixar was able to do within its means, as computer animation was in its infancy back then. Certainly, it would be easy for one to come back to this and think how amateur-ish it looks compared to the animation we see today. I say different because it doesn't make the overall effort any less impressive with what they had in early 90s prior to the film's release.
As the film progressed, one can't help but feel that this is very surface level, both visually and thematically, especially compared to Pixar's later offerings. However, the screenplay is still a goldmine of clever lines, the staging is immaculate, and all of the toys feel distinguished and real. It's still a story of rejection well told, complete with convincing vocal performances from a wonderful cast, especially from Tom Hanks who actually plays against type as he portrays Woody who goes to great lengths to kick Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen also in a wonderful performance) out of the picture. All in all, it's amazing that this won many awards back then when you realize this is only a hint of Pixar's genius that would be proven so in its subsequent offerings especially in the period I mentioned (1995-2004). It's not to say Pixar's on the decline or anything, as they still do indeed offer us gems, but that early period is just stacked with masterpiece after masterpiece.