Glancing through this AFI Top 100 list Kevin and I are counting down, I spot a good amount of movies I've already seen. I even spot some I saw as a kid, like The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars, but to me, seeing them as a kid doesn't necessarily mean I grew up with them. To qualify as a movie I "grew up with," it has to be something I watched countless times over the course of my childhood. There isn't a single movie on the list that falls into that category, except #99, Toy Story.
It's easy to see why this film is on the AFI Top 100 list. Part of their criteria is technical achievement and Toy Story deserves to be on the list for that alone. It was the first movie ever to be fully computer animated, sparking the new trend that is modern animation. Now it seems every week a new computer animated movie is being released and that is thanks to Toy Story.
However, its success didn't stem from its (at the time) lush visuals alone. It was an excellent movie to boot that perfectly captured the imagination of a child. One of the reasons I was so enamored with it, in fact, is because I used to wonder what my toys did when I left them. Did they come to life and play with each other? Did they eagerly await my return? I even tried telling them they could talk to me, hoping one would pop up and be my companion much in the way Hobbes was to Calvin in the excellent comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. Perhaps that is why I loved Toy Story so much.
Now, that doesn't mean it hasn't been eclipsed in recent years. If you ask me what the best computer animated movies are, I'm more likely to express my admiration for Wall-E or Finding Nemo and maybe even Monsters Inc. Heck, its sequel Toy Story 2 was better, but that doesn't prevent Toy Story from getting the recognition it deserves.
Pixar created a masterpiece with Toy Story (they're up to 10 masterpieces at the time being) and although I wouldn't call it the best computer animated movie ever, it's certainly up there and more than earns its spot on this list for its technical achievement and historical significance.