The teaser trailer for Toy Story 4 just dropped out of nowhere and obviously fans are very excited about the prospect of a new film, because parts 1-3 have been nothing short of incredible. They’re also very excited about it’s new character Forky, who looks like an arts and crafts experiment that broke free from his diorama.

The franchise is Pixar’s crown jewel for multiple reason. One, the storyline is just amazing. It deals with some very real existential questions human beings can relate to, like placing all of your value and self-worth on whether or not someone’s interested in you anymore or not. Not to mention the reality-jarring questions the nature of the film’s premise brings up: what is our purpose? Why are we here?

But it’s also extremely popular for not-so-depressing reasons as well: it’s a movie about toys that are alive. Of course it’s going to be a hit with kids. It doesn’t hurt that the movie’s brilliantly animated and has an almost addictive color scheme, but it’s a movie that hits everyone right in the nostalgia just by virtue of all the toys Andy has in his room.

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Even though it feels like there are lots of kids now who’d rather play with a huge phone or tablet than actual toys, there’s still an unmistakable place in the hearts and minds of children for figures and dolls and good old-fashioned toys.

I can’t help but light up myself when I see how excited my 3-year-old gets when he sees a new toy or I surprise him with one. His specific method of playing with them is one he devised on his own and he’s pretty darn proud of it.

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And even though he has a special place in his heart for all his toys, I know my son has favorites, , just like I did when I was a kid and any other person with a childhood out there.

Whether it’s the weight, shape, color scheme, or whatever it is, some toys are just better than others when it comes to actual playtime. And this goes for the cast/toys of Toy Story as well. As much as I love them all, there are clear winners.

Buzz Lightyear

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Look, I totally understand why Andy would toss Woody into the toy chest and start playing with Buzz. The dude is awesome. He’s got a spacesuit, laser beam, buttons on his chest, wings that pop out, plus a super cheery and cool color scheme.

He’s such a good toy that the actual Buzz Lightyear 12-inch figure is still selling for $30-$45 online, which is super impressive when you consider that it’s been around that price since the first movie came out. Oh, and how can we forget that special edition chrome paint job Buzz Lightyear? So cool.

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OK, cowboys are cool, but the Woody toy is weird in that his proportions are all outta whack. He’s floppy, so he can’t stand on his own. But he’s not a stuffed animal either because his boots are made out of plastic.

However, the same drawbacks for Woody actually could make him fun to play with if you shake him around to do whirlwind kicks and freak out like a Muppet. The classic drawstring on Woody is satisfying to pull, so there’s always that.

Now the Japanese Woody figurine with the creepy troll face is a whole other deal. That’s not the Woody in the movie, but if you’re going to buy a Woody toy, then this is the one to get.

I feel like a T. Rex toy is a staple for any young kid. At some point, for some reason, kids become obsessed with dinosaurs, and Rex looks like a pretty decent one. Sure, he’s a bit of an anxiety-ridden wreck, but as a toy, he looks all right.

As someone who’s checked out the actual Rex toy, however, I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. He feels kind of hollow on the inside, and he doesn’t do much besides talk. Making him stomp around isn’t satisfying either because of the low-weight factor, which is a real shame. Rex just looks scary, but doesn’t feel scary, which I guess is what they were going for when they manufactured him, given his character in the movies.

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

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It’s a staple, old-school, classic toy for any kid. Personally, I always kind of saw it as a silly gag that would occupy me for a few minutes and then I’d be over with it and start playing with my other action figures where I’d recreate my favorite movie scenes and pro-wrestling matches from Monday Night Raw.

As toys, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are like their characters in the films. Great in small doses, but you wouldn’t want to plan an entire movie or afternoon playing with just them. At the same time, I couldn’t imagine my toy chest without one of these growing up and I’m glad they’re in the Toy Story movies.

A genius creation: we’ve all had toys that were just straight up animals as kids, but to combine a Slinky with a puppy is a brilliant idea because, hello, it’s a Dachsund, so why not make the iconic “long-dog” even longer by combining him with a Slinky.

The Slinky action makes him super versatile too. Is he fighting? He’s got a trademark anaconda hold move. Is he on a reconnaissance mission? He can rescue other toys while hiding from a helicopter or standing on top of a cliff and allowing them to grab on to his pup-butt and pull them up with his Slinky.

There’s only one downside and it’s that you can’t treat him like a regular Slinky and have him go down the stairs. You need the flat end of the Slinky for that, but it’s a small price to pay for such toy excellence.

Bo Peep

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Kinda cool to have a classic sheep herder toy, because who just has that lying around? She wins on novelty alone. But the problem with Bo Peep is that she’s a porcelain figure, and if you’ve ever played with porcelain, well, you probably learned very quickly it’s a bad idea. She’s just too scary to play with because there’s always the risk she’ll shatter into a bunch of pieces.


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OK so he’s technically not a “toy” — he’s a piggy bank. But that doesn’t stop Andy — who’s like any kid with an imagination — from incorporating him into his play scenarios. Now I’m not just saying this because I grew up Muslim and not eating pork, but I just don’t see the appeal of a piggy bank as a toy. Hamm’s got the nostalgia factor going for him, which is good. But even my son doesn’t play with his piggy bank, so it’s hard to rank Hamm high up the list when it comes to toys.


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On pure aesthetics alone, these guys are awesome, especially if you get a bunch of small ones together. You could create tons of alien invasion scenarios, or maybe they’re cute and cuddly aliens who need help being rescued from an evil space overlord.

By themselves, they’re really not that much fun because they’re just glorified squeeze toys. 


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Buzz Lightyear’s nemesis kind of has a Darth Vader thing going on, which is especially fine considering Disney owns Lucasfilm now. And he’s got the awesome blaster gun and stands much taller than Buzz, so that makes him a pretty cool enemy too.

But the fact that he’s wearing a long robe that makes his “legs” inable to move independently is kinda lame, especially considering all of the poses Buzz is able to do. He’s got the great movement in the arms, but you kinda feel like you’re playing with a paper towel roll from the waist down.

Sarge and the Bucket of Soldiers

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Plastic green army men. It’s like every kid had a tub of these guys and a tub of the brown ones and they would orchestrate large-scale war battles between the two. These are the kind of toys that would get strewn all over the carpet and you’d get mad at your mom for cleaning up because you weren’t “done” with them yet.

Of course, there were always those kids who liked either melting them with a magnifying glass or cutting them with scissors or blowing them up with fireworks, and that’s on account of how cheap they are. But those same kids are usually the kind who would like to play with Sid’s toys, which brings us to…

Sid’s gang of freaks

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It’s not their fault that they’re ugly. You know, creepiness aside, and forgetting about the fact that Sid clearly has some deep-rooted emotional issues that he has to work out, his toys look like a lot of fun.

Maybe it’s because there’s something wrong with me, but a  pair of legs holding up a fishing pole? A giant mechanical spider with a baby’s head? In terms of playing with these things and having them interact with other toys, I’d have a field day with these freakshows. Not that I’d ever wanted to make these myself, but if came across them, I’d totally play with them and have a grand old time.


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He’s an RC car, which are toy staples. You could orchestrate all sorts of chases, attach other cars to him or just work on your sick trick skills while you beg your parents for more batteries after you wore out the ones in the car and the remote. Plus, those fat tires and that front bumper let you now he’s down for some rough-and-tumble action. His suspension system looks sick, too.


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I really disliked Etch-a-Sketches when I was a kid, mostly because I had zero artistic skills and abilities, but I feel like every kid should have one of these toys growing up. You get to draw anytime you want and mom and dad don’t have to worry about cleaning up your mess. Etch gets a resounding yes.

There are tons of other toys in the movies we could mention, like Jessie (who’s functionally a lot like Woody) or the Barrel of Monkeys, or Barbie and Ken, which are other kids’ classic, but I should stop myself now, or else I’ll start going down a toy nostalgia rabbit hole and I don’t think my adult brain can handle that right now.

What were some of your favorite toys growing up? Or are there some from the movies that you especially liked that aren’t on this list?

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