We’re a Disney loving household. From the classics to the newest of the new, we love a good Disney film. (With one exception, but I’ll get to that).
We’re even more of a DisneyPixar household. We’ve seen almost all of them and will watch them over and over again and still enjoy them. It would be difficult to pick an absolute favourite (there are too many brilliant films to choose from) but, if I had a gun to my head, I know which one I would pick. The original. The first one. The one that started it all. Toy Story.
The first Toy Story film was released in the UK in March of 1996. I was six years old, and I fell in love. It was just brilliant. The characters, the story, the animation. It was like nothing anyone had ever seen before - and we loved it. Obviously, we wanted the toys - I wanted Woody, my sister wanted Buzz. We both got what we wanted. I would stand outside my bedroom door and wait, listening quietly. I’d fling my door open and, of course, Woody would be right where I left him. The absolute pro.
When Toy Story 2 came out, we went to watch it at the cinema, and I absolutely panicked when Buzz was obliterated by Zurg’s Ion-blaster. I genuinely thought they had killed him off. I let out a huge sigh of relief when it was revealed that it was just Rex and Hamm playing a videogame. I remember worrying that the second one wouldn’t be as good as the first one and as we left the cinema, I realised I needn’t have worried. It was as close to the first one as it could possibly have been. I loved the story and the new characters; as did my sister, who would be given Jessie that year for Christmas.
When I heard that they were making a third one, the worry returned. Would it live up to expectations? Could they make another Toy Story film as good as the previous two? The answer was yes. Yes, they could. Toy Story 3 was brilliant. I laughed my head off and then bawled my eyes out twice (the furnace and “so long, partner” – I’m tearing up just writing that!) The story was believable, the new characters were great and the ending couldn’t have been more perfect. I was 20 when the third film was released, so it really felt like I was saying goodbye to my childhood toys, just as much as Andy was. It was the end of an era.
Or so I thought. I won’t say much about the fourth film as I can’t honestly say that I was a huge fan. All I will say is that I think they should’ve left it at number 3, with its perfect ending, which we know was also a new beginning for the toys. It was bittersweet, honest and perfectly written. To me, it was a perfect trilogy. I should say though, that we’re all actually really looking forward seeing the new film ‘Lightyear’ and hoping that it’s as good as it looks. I don’t class it as a ‘proper’ part of the trilogy because it’s Buzz Lightyear’s origin story; the person the toy is based on and the film that Andy and his friends would’ve watched which then started the Buzz Lightyear craze in the first film. Anyway, I digress.
Eleanor was born in 2013, so she completely missed the Toy Story era. It was all about ‘Frozen’ when she was little and, despite my efforts to push Toy Story onto her favourites list, in the end I had to ‘let it go’. (Sorry, but it had to be done). I met Jonny in 2016 and, when he heard that a fourth Toy Story film was in the pipeline, he joined me in my efforts to get Eleanor to love it as much as we did. He bought the entire signature collection of toys – Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Bullseye – who can all communicate with each other. It’s noisy. She still wasn’t too fussed.
Then little Arthur came along in January 2022. He was screaming the house down one afternoon, as babies do, and I put Toy Story on to try to distract him and it worked. He stopped crying and stared, transfixed, at the TV for almost the whole film. A few days later, we were out shopping, and I saw two giant soft toys – Woody and Buzz. Arthur’s face lit up, his eyes wide - and when he smiled at them, I knew they were coming home with us. This prompted Jonny to buy Rex, to go with the signature collection toys which were now in Arthur’s bedroom. Arthur loved him.
When I went into Arthur’s bedroom the next day, I saw there had been an addition to the Toy Story shelf. RC, the remote-controlled car, had joined the team. Over the last few weeks there have been multiple deliveries, with me knowing nothing about a single one until it arrived. First it was Slinky, then Mr and Mrs Potato Head. Then the aliens, then Hamm and then many, many more. I think my husband has developed a serious addiction. We now own almost every single Toy Story character there is (even the odd, little troll that I had forgotten was even in the films!) The shelf is overflowing, there are still a lot more characters that we don’t have and I’m certain he will buy them all. At this point, I’m not sure if this is for our son or if he’s just reliving his youth but, either way, he’s definitely taking this to infinity, and beyond.