10 Harsh Realties Of Rewatching Toy Story, 29 Years Later


  • Woody’s narrow worldview negatively affects his leadership style in Andy’s room.
  • Buzz initially believes he is a real space ranger, while other toys do not go through the same thing.
  • Andy’s mom never realizes that the toys are moving from one place to another on their own.

In the decades since it debuted in theaters and forever changed the animation industry, some harsh realities about Toy Story have come into focus. Toy Story is still undoubtedly a masterpiece of technological advancement and heartfelt storytelling. Pixar broke ground with the first feature-length 3D-animated movie, supported by a solid story that prompts viewers to reflect upon their childhoods. Rewatching Toy Story means revisiting iconic, genre-defining moments showcasing Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz’s (Tim Allen’s) enemies-to-friends arc.

However, that does not mean Toy Story is not without its minor flaws. Some (or all) of the toys’ characterizations are unlikable or confusing, certain plot holes are still under debate, and the groundbreaking animation sadly does not look that good by today’s standards. Toy Story is a franchise driven by nostalgia, which is now carrying into Toy Story 5. Whether this is nostalgia for Toy Story’s most memorable quotes or the youthful imagination it invokes, the theme is strong enough to elevate the good parts of the flagship movie, despite some harsh realities about it.

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10 Woody Is Not A Good Leader

Woody Is Selfish At First, While His Leadership Style Never Changes


Woody is pretty terrible at the beginning of Toy Story, in service of his arc where he realizes that he hasn’t been prioritizing making Andy (John Morris) happy. Woody parades around as the voice of altruism who only cares about Andy, but it is obvious that he only feels secure in saying this because he is the favorite toy who is in the least danger of being forgotten. Even at the end of the movie when all is well, Woody still has this security because of how devastated Andy is when both Woody and Buzz go missing.

Woody has a narrow worldview which doesn’t really change in the later movies. Like the first installment, each Toy Story movie shows the narrative chipping away at Woody’s resolve and forcing him to consider other possible ways forward. He may become nicer about it, but Woody has ultimately always been a leader that forcefully imparts his beliefs to others.

9 Andy’s Toys Are All Overly Dramatic

The Toys In Andy’s Room Tend To Overreact To Everything


All of Andy’s toys are very dramatic, with the possible exception of Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and later Buzz. Woody tells them that Andy’s birthday party has been moved up (something the toys apparently didn’t realize was happening until the day of) and everyone panics. Woody patronizingly suggests that they all overact at every birthday and Christmas, although he is not much better. The toys then go to obsess over kids pulling up with birthday presents, accompanied by some intense music.

The rest of the movie’s events take place over a week, as the staff meeting scene confirms that Andy’s birthday is next week, but the party was moved up because of the move. Essentially, Woody panics and starts conspiring to get rid of Buzz because Andy is excited about a toy he has had for literally a few days. None of the toys in this movie know how to relax and see how things play out before freaking out.

8 Buzz Is The Only Toy Who Believes He Is “Real” At First

None Of The Other Toys Go Through The Same Realization As Buzz


One of the longest debated plot holes in Toy Story concerns the circumstances of Buzz’s arrival. Buzz playing along with being a toy can somewhat be explained as a survival mechanism: If he believes he is on an unfamiliar planet, it makes sense to act as the other toys do and freeze every time Andy returns to his room. What makes less sense is that Buzz (and other Buzz Lightyears in future movies) believes that he is a real space ranger, while the other toys apparently never had the same identity crisis.

It makes for natural humor and drama, but there are holes in Buzz’s initial character arc.

Woody didn’t even know that he is a part of the “Woody’s Roundup” brand until Jessie (Joan Cusack) and the others explain it to him in Toy Story 2. Therefore, he apparently didn’t originally believe that he was a real cowboy (unless he has forgotten all his memories of a previous owner, as what Woody did for 40 years before Andy is still a mystery). It makes for natural humor and drama, but there are holes in Buzz’s initial character arc.

7 Toy Story Includes A Lot Of Adult Jokes

Toy Story Includes A Lot Of Innuendos In The Context Of A Kids’ Movie


All Disney movies are produced with the knowledge that some adults are going to end up watching them with their kids (if they do not just love watching them on their own). Therefore, the writers have a reason to make the movie entertaining for all ages with profound storylines and, occasionally, an adult joke that kids aren’t going to understand. Even then, some of the hidden humor in Toy Story is shockingif one is watching it for the first time expecting it to be a family-friendly experience.

Some of them are actually clever, like the toys holding a “plastic corrosion awareness meeting” and Rex (Wallace Shawn) talking about how he’s “not really from Mattel,” but a “smaller company that was purchased in a leverage buyout.” The first movie’s cruder jokes are more likely to affront people, such as Woody saying “there are preschool toys present” and Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) miming “kiss a**.”Possibly the worst example is how feminine toys like Bo Peep are sexualized; it is primarily her in the first movie, but extends to all the Barbie dolls seen in later movies.

6 Toy Story’s Animation Looks Terrible Today

Pixar’s Advancements In Animation Don’t Help The Original Toy Story


Part of the reason that the founding Pixar team moved forward with Toy Story first was because the hard, plastic surfaces of most of the toys were easier to animate with the technology they had at the time, with humans appearing on-screen as little as possible. Notably, Andy doesn’t have any traditional stuffed animals, like Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele) in Toy Story 4. The contrast between Toy Story and Toy Story 2 is not so dramatic; they still felt like they came from the same era.

However, when compared to Toy Story 3 or Toy Story 4, it is impossible not to notice how tacky the animation in Toy Story has become. The surfaces of the toys now better reflect what material they are made of (plastic, porcelain, etc.), the world itself is more detailed and vibrant, and a greater variety of toys can be included now that Pixar knows how to animate hair. Meanwhile, Andy, his family, and other human characters just look creepy in the first Toy Story.

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5 Sid’s Villainy Is Circumstantial

Woody’s Vengeance Upon Sid Is Actually Horrible


One of Toy Story’s dark implications that people missed is the fact that Woody and the rest of the toys potentially scarred Sid (Erik von Detten) for life. Sid is framed as the only true villain in the first Toy Story; however, his villainy is characterized by blowing up and tearing apart toys he doesn’t know are alive. Him wanting to play-act torture and executions is somewhat disturbing, but mostly because the audience knows that the toys are sentient characters.

It is suggested that there is a kind of code among all toys to not let humans know they are alive, which Woody decides they can break for the greater good of stopping Sid from hurting other toys. Woody or any of Sid’s other toys could have tried actually telling him they are alive (which still would have been terrifyingly shocking) if this is what they had decided was necessary. Instead, they play out a horror-movie scenario to terrorize a pre-teen boy.

4 Andy’s Toys All Have A Violent Mindset

Andy’s Toys Seem Like They Are Always Ready To Kill Each Other


Meanwhile, Andy’s toys make some violent comments towards other toys that they know are living beings. Woody plots to knock Buzz out the window (or possibly just behind the dresser); after this has happened, the rest of the toys attack Woody, but he is saved by Andy coming into the room. Potato Head then menacingly draws a noose on Andy’s Etch A Sketch for Woody to see. Later, when Woody accidentally reveals Buzz’s dislocated arm, they all accuse him of murder rather than considering the possibility that the arm had broken off, a completely realistic scenario for a toy.

They then leave Woody to whatever may await him in Sid’s room. Meanwhile, Woody assumes straight away that Sid’s toys want to kill him and Buzz when they are actually all taking care of each other as Sid destroys them, and are happy to do the same for Woody and Buzz. Later movies suggest that some other toys out in the world share this characterization, but in the first Toy Story, it is just Andy’s toys that always assume the worst and go straight to the most extreme response.

3 Being A Toy Is Terrifying

Numerous Terrible Fates Could Happen To The Characters In Toy Story


Every time that Toy Story shows how harrowing life as a toy is, it comes back moments later to the franchise’s characteristic happy and nostalgic tone. However, as shown in Toy Story, the toys could potentially be shuffled around to any new house or thrift store at any given moment, destroyed by accident, or thrown away. They get nothing from the people who actually dictate the world they live in because humans, of course, don’t know that the toys are alive and have no reason to be ethically troubled about throwing them away (besides any environmental concerns).

Toy Story 2
Toy Story 3
are a little more serious, but the first movie takes this reality with a grain of salt.

Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 are a little more serious, but the first movie takes this reality with a grain of salt. The toys might occasionally experience some more weighty moments about being forgotten or grown out of, but mostly, their fears are expressed in the form of offhand dark jokes about ending up in the trash or a yard sale. In reality, these jokes may be representative of an ever-present anxiety that the first movie only reveals in bits and pieces.

2 No One Sees Woody & Buzz During The Final Chase (Expect Molly)

Woody & Buzz Are Very Lucky In Toy Story’s Final Chase


Woody and Buzz are (presumably) honor-bound to not make it know to the whole world that all the toys are alive — then they engage in a high-speed chase on a busy street in broad daylight. The parts where it’s just Woody and Buzz running after the truck on foot are conspicuous but brief (and they are small enough that people might not have known what they were seeing). Witnesses would have been more likely to assume that it was just a kid controlling a remote car once RC got involved.

However, it is least likely that no one would have alerted the driver that the moving van was open and the lift was down, causing a safety hazard, even if they somehow hadn’t realized that the toys were controlling the whole thing. Woody and Buzz then shoot through the neighborhood once they light the rocket; again, people might not have realized it was the toys at first, but would have noticed it happening. However, it seems that the only person who sees any of the sequence is Molly, who is too young to be of concern.

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1 Someone Should Have Realized That The Toys Are Alive

Andy’s Mom (Or Someone Else) Probably Should Have Figured It Out


Throughout the franchise, the toys inexplicably get from one place to another without anyone realizing the truth. Following the events of the first franchise, Andy’s mom (Laurie Metcalf) walks into her son’s room and sees him playing with Woody and Buzz, who he plays with every day. She might have even seen him toss them both on the dresser when she suggested getting pizza for dinner. Buzz then mysteriously vanishes from the room, while Woody later vanishes from the car.

Mom then excuses Woody and Buzz’s absence as Andy having just misplaced them in the chaos of packing — a reasonable assumption for a mom busy moving. However, as far as she knows, Buzz never left Andy’s room and has no reason to turn up in the car later (Woody would have made more sense). Things get more unlikely in each subsequent movie: For instance, she has every reason to believe Woody is gone forever when he disappears from the toolbox she locked him in at the yard sale. Ultimately, this is probably one of the biggest implausibilities about Toy Story.

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Pixar’s first feature film release sees Woody (Tom Hanks), a cowboy doll, confronted by the nightmare of being replaced as his owner Andy’s favorite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) action figure. Stricken by anxiety, Woody hatches a plan to remain the favorite, kicking off a race against time for the toys to be reunited with their owner before his house move makes them permanently Lost Toys.

Director John Lasseter Release Date November 22, 1995 Writers Joss Whedon , Alec Sokolow , Joel Cohen , Andrew Stanton Cast Tom Hanks , Don Rickles , Annie Potts , Tim Allen , Jim Varney Runtime 81 minutes

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