XWe have detected your location as outside the U.S/Canada, if you think this is wrong, you can choose your location.

Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Toy Story

A Critical Reading

ISBN 9781844576678
Publication Date May 2015
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher British Film Institute
Series BFI Film Classics

The first computer-generated animated feature film, Toy Story (1995) sustains a dynamic vitality that proved instantly appealing to audiences of all ages. Like the great Pop Artists, Pixar Studios affirmed the energy of modern commercial popular culture and, in doing so, created a distinctive alternative to the usual Disney formula.

Tom Kemper traces the film's genesis, production history and reception to demonstrate how its postmodern mishmash of pop culture icons and references represented a fascinating departure from Disney's fine arts style and fairytale naturalism. By foregrounding the way in which Toy Story flipped the conventional relationship between films and their ancillary merchandising by taking consumer products as its very subject, Kemper provides an illuminating, revisionist exploration of this groundbreaking classic.

Tom Kemper is Lecturer at the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California and Teacher at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, USA. He is the author of Hidden Talent: The Emergence of Hollywood Agents (2009).

1. Power Pop
2. 'The Rat's Nest'
3. 'A Rebel Group'
4. 'What Would Walt Say?'
5. 'Hip loveable, urban. Think Simpsons'
6. Playtime: The Film
7. Stories


I've read plenty of the BFI's excellent Film Classic series, but Tom Kemper's take on Toy Story is up there among the very best.' - The Crack Magazine
'One of the many praiseworthy things about the BFI's Film Classics series is that it has not shafted animation...Toy Story inspired so many [animated films] as to be genre-defining, so it is often easy to lose sight of what made the film stand out on its first release twenty years ago. With Toy Story: A Critical Reading, Kemper has given the film the in-depth analysis it deserves.' - Cartoon Brew
'A masterpiece of film criticism' - Toronto Film Review
'Tom Kemper's new critical monograph on Toy Story stands out from its fellows in the British Film Institute's Film Classics series not only in its choice of subject — a beloved and massively successful children's film, as opposed to the established classics or 'cutting-edge' modern films typically featured in the series — but in the sophistication and persuasiveness of its argument. Kemper offers a wealth of insight on this foundational film in the Pixar canon, contextualizes it within the history of animated films and the pictorial arts, and highlights the film's surrealist touches. Most importantly, it accomplishes what any good single-film monograph should do: make you want to go out and watch (or re-watch) the film immediately.' - David Davison, Toronto International Film Festival
Add a review