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Entries in Toy Story (15)

Wednesday
Oct152014

Dinosaurs & Toys: New Posters!

Manuel here bringing you a double dose of dino-related posters. Jurassic Park and Toy Story, two seminal early 90s smashes continue to make waves in 2014. This shouldn't be so surprising seeing as they both function as perfect metaphors for Hollywood, one premised on the ability to bring back to life the dead and forgotten, the other quite literally representing a world where our cherished toys get a big screen treatment.

Jurassic Park, as we know is headed for a splashy 2015 summer sequel. Word on Jurassic World has been quiet (give or take a couple of pics of Chris Pratt in a body-hugging Henley) but since we are only eight months away (!), it’s clear publicity for the film will start kicking into high gear. This is necessary as they’ll be busy dropping plot hints and opening dates and casting rumors for the inevitable sequel by the time the film is actually in theaters. In any case, director Colin Trevorrow released the poster below via Twitter this week.

Toy Story, which had a significantly more successful run as a movie trilogy, has of late been the subject of a couple of funny if feather-weight short films (airing either before Disney/Pixar films or during prime time on ABC) that take our beloved characters into new situations as if they were a couple of CGI-variety show performers. They took on horror last year and this year they’re up against a bunch of dino-fiends in Toy Story That Time Forgot. (I will say, I like the teaser poster better).

Are you excited to revisit these worlds? Do these posters get you excited for these new projects or nostalgic for the properties they inevitably call to mind?  

Saturday
Jun222013

Posterized: Disney/Pixar

My review of Monsters University will be up tomorrow but for now, let's revive our supposedly weekly (ahem) series Posterized to look back at all 13 Pixar Features and discuss their chronology and, the fun part, their hierarchy. AND... I just keep gilding this CGI lily,  how they compare to the first 13 DISNEY Animated Features. Yep, throwing a little curveball into the frequent "ranking Pixar" conversations, I am.

Toy Story (1995) 3 Oscar nominations. Won an Honorary Oscar. Basically changed the (showbiz) world forever. [my ten favorite moments from this classic]
A Bugs Life (1998) 1 Oscar nomination (Score, Musical or Comedy)
Toy Story 2 (1999)  1 Oscar nomination (Song). It was right about here that people started arguing for an Animated Feature Oscar category (Tarzan and The Iron Giant were also released this year) but that wouldn't happen for another couple of years. 

And then...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul182012

Finding Nemo 2: Jumping the Shark

By now you've heard the news that Pixar is working on a Finding Nemo 2 with director Andrew Stanton (John Carter) returning to the fold. Someone really needs to give little Nemo a compass, poor thing. 

More distressing is the persistent rumor (not fact as far as I can tell) that Toy Story 4 is being developed. If they make it, I honestly believe that they should revoke all of Toy Story 3's reviews and its Best Picture nomination; its massive success and emotional wallop hinged on it being the finale, the moment you, like Andy, had to say a tearful final goodbye. If they make Toy Story 4 it was a lie. (It already was a fib given that the characters lived on in short films immediately thereafter.)

The Hollywood Reporter doesn't mention Toy Story 4 in their roundup of what's going on with Pixar but they do say this very very odd thing:

The move is also a safe one by Pixar, the company that once was praised for cranking out original film after original film, but now seems to trying to balance commercial prospects with unique creations.

What is there to balance?

Pixar IS the safe commercial prospect. Sequels are redundant since people go because the movies are Pixar. They don't go because they love the characters/singular franchise. Most of the time they haven't met the characters yet. All Pixar movies are already "safe commercial prospects" by virtue of the studio's reputation and marketability. So why not make original movies and keep the reputation intact, keep the legacy and critical sheen as The Greatest Movie Studio Ever?

PrincesssSS$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Frankly I don't get it. Yes, Finding Nemo 2 will make more than Brave but why sacrifice your reputation and legacy for an extra ½ billion when everything you release makes at least that much? Brave, an original that was seen as a risk given its female protagonist, has earned $244 million globally and is still going strong and Merida herself will surely generate 100s of millions more in merchandising by virtue of that billion dollar Disney Princess branding. Ratatouille, an original that was seen as a risk due to its subject matter (ewww!), earned $623 million globally. Up, an original that was seen as a risk given its old man protagonist,  earned $731 million globally and a Best Picture nomination. WALL•E, which was seen as a risk given its nearly silent movieisms, earned $521 million globally along with an instant reputation as a masterpiece and did more than most Pixar pictures to cement their reputation as a commercially minded company that also indisputably produces great art.

Didn't Cars 2 do enough to sully their reputation, making them appear as Profits-First driven as every other studio?

Wednesday
Jun222011

"Brave", We Need You

Behold the blurry teaser poster (courtesy of Pixar Planet) for Pixar's Brave an original story with their first female lead "Princess Merida"

 

I normally wouldn't post a blurry advertisement, but having just seen Cars 2, I'm going to rub this teaser all over me for soothing balm. I need this one to be great. Cars 2 stinks (more later) and the Toy Story short that proceeds it "Hawaiian Vacation" is also soul-crushing. Oh Pixar, you said farewell to these characters so beautifully last year. You had a whole world weeping under 3D glasses and then you bring the whole gang back instantly for such a disposable mediocrity? What are we going to do with you? We depend on you! Love - a concerned fan since that bootleg viewing of Tin Toy in the 1980s.

Tuesday
Apr262011

Curio: Celebrating 25 Years of Pixar at Planet-Pulp

Alexa here.  Planet-Pulp bills itself as an "Intergalactic Online gallery on a mission to orbit a pulp-culture theme every 30 days."  Last month they hosted a show of illustrations celebrating 25 years of Pixar (it looks to have spilled a bit into April, too).  I caught wind of it after Steve Dressler submitted a couple of wonderful illustrations, and I was soon thrilled to see that two of my favorite Pixar characters, Edna Mode and Colette Tatou, were part of the fun.  Here are some selections from the show.  You can catch all the pulpy fun here.

Buy-N-Large by Steve Dressler

Violet by Brett Parson

Woody, Colette, Edna and other legends after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr252011

Hugo Nominees Or: How To Stop Worrying and Love The Geek

The quickest thing you learn once you become obsessed with awards is that they never end; someone is always handing out prizes for something. And since the eligibility periods are different for everything it takes forever for a single year's entertainment to finally be "old" aka ineligible. Such is the case with 2010 entertainment (mostly the second half of it) which is still eligible for Emmy nods (July 14th), Tony nods (May 3rd)... and The Hugo Awards, which are science fiction based, and newly announced today.

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION – LONG
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
How to Train Your Dragon
Inception
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Toy Story 3

Inception and Toy Story 3 can breathe a sigh of relief that The King's Speech featured neither threatening alien invaders (Wallis Simpson does not count) nor superpowered heroes (Helena Bonham Carter does not count, her super powers being off screen).

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION – SHORT
Doctor Who: ‘‘A Christmas Carol''
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang''
Doctor Who: ‘‘Vincent and the Doctor''
Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
The Lost Thing


I've embedded this "Ray Bradbury" vid once before on the old blog but it made me LOL so here it is again. With Doctor Who cancelling itself out (one assumes) Will The Lost Thing, the animated short, repeat its Oscar win at the Hugos?

Shaun Tan, the Australian illustrator behind that short, is also up for Best Artist, a category which includes Dan Dos Santos, Bob Eggleston, John Picacao and Stephan Martiniere.

Since there are definitely not enough awards for online entertainment (The Film Experience certainly hasn't won any trophies, y'know *sniffle*), here are some webzines to check out if you're into sci-fi. They're all nominated: (Semi-Pro) Clarkesworld, Interzone, Lightspeed, Locus, Weird Tales, (Fan) Banana Wings, The Challenger, The Drink Tank, File 770, StarShipSofa

Here's a complete list of the nominees should you enjoy sci-fi.

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Apr142011

Distant Relatives: The Toy Story Trilogy and The Films of Ingmar Bergman

Robert here, closing out the first season of my series Distant Relatives, (where we look at two films, (one classic, one modern) related through theme and ask what their similarities/differences can tell us about the evolution of cinema) with the second part of this two part special.

Last week in PART ONE we discussed how the great sorrow or rejection by God or a loved one in Bergman’s universe is equvalent to rejection by the child owners (god/loved one amalgams that they are) of the Toy Story films. And when those owners have put their childish things aside, what do the toys do? Where do they find meaning in their lives? Now... PART TWO.

Hooray, you're old!

In Ingmar Bergman’s film Wild Strawberries, Professor Isak Borg is being recognized with an honorary degree. As he approaches this honor he is forced to look back on his life and wonder what it all means. Similarly in Toy Story 2, Woody is on the brink of recognition of his own, a place in a museum as the valuable toy he is. This is the opposite of what Woody fears will happen when Buzz arrives or what happens to so many spouses in Ingmar Bergman scripts. Instead of being discarded for their antiquity they’re being celebrated for it. And yet this alone does not give them great joy and purpose.

In Bergman films, losing a sense of meaning usually results in considerable tragedy. Max von Sydow’s villager Jonas in Winter Light meets a tragic end after his doubt in God is confirmed by the local parish preist. Liv Ullman’s actress in Persona goes mute, and while the reasons are a mystery, the sense is that she’s somehow come out of place in the world. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this is Von Sydow again,. His father figure Tore from The Virgin Spring reacts at the death of his daughter, his light, his legacy, his reason for being, with such an outburst of violence it continues to inspire tales of cinematic vengance to this day.

So it is with Stinky Pete. The prospector has never been taken out of his box. He’s never been played with by a child. His entire life has been leading up to recognition as an artifact, not a play thing. When it becomes apparent that he won’t achieve this recognition he reacts with violence. Buzz Lightyear himself goes through a similar trial. When, in the original Toy Story he finally learns that he is not a space man, he goes a bit bonkers. While his conflict is more internal, it is still evidence that the absence of purpose equals the presence of sorrow. So what brings Buzz back? To be sure, Woody’s insistence that the love of a child is a noble cause plays a part. But more actively, his ability to help his fellow toys is the true catalyst to his new self actualization.

I get by with a little help...

Buzz learns what Antonius Bloc of The Seventh Seal learns when he allows his new friends to escape the clutches of death, that in the absence of spiritual meaning, friendship and love are still present and still the noblest goals by which we can aspire to. It seems like too Capra-esque a message for a Bergman film (although keep in mind the reason why most Bergman’s are heavy is because his characters spend most of their time, denying or rejecting this fact). Whatever ache you feel at the loss of your god’s or partner’s love, fulfillment comes from knowing that love is an endless resource. This is what finally brings Professor Isak Borg peace as he recalls the absence of love in his life. It’s not his upcoming honor, it’s the realization that he has affected old friends, can still make new ones, and can reunite the marriage of his son an daughter-in-law. This is the realization that Woody has and that which he is able to bring to Jessie and Bullseye.

Togetherness and family is the running theme of the Toy Story films for this reason. It is what gives the toys their sense of purpose. It is what keeps them always chasing after each other. And it is the comfort where they turn when finally faced with certain death. It is also family that saves them from this death (utilizing the trilogy’s most memorable false god, The Claw and turning it from a force for indifferent chance into one of salvation). Consider that the happily ever after coda of the Toy Story trilogy finds the toys playing not with any owner, but with each other. And so all is well right? Except, this revelation that love conquers all isn’t always so easily realized. Sometimes our heroes have to go to hell and back to see it.

The flames of Sunnyside

For a filmmaker whose films deal in death, Ingmar Bergman has never gone over to the other side of existence, not literally at least. But the juxtaposing worlds of Fanny and Alexander, the loving home life and unforgiving realm of the evil minister are as close as you can come to the heaven and hell. The Toy Story 3 parallels are obvious. Bishop Vergerus and Lotso’ Huggin Bear are cut of the same cloth. Supposedly kind leaders of peace filled worlds, they are in fact dark lords who rule over their minion-filled empires with an iron (or plush) fist. These are the hells of eternal torture and damnation where our characters are supposedly doomed forever due to their own lapses of loneliness. But family comes to save them and heaven awaits in the form of a loving, playful, existence that affords them all the joy, with none of the oppressiveness of life’s endless excesses. Interestingly both “heavens” are theater environments, declarations by filmmakers of the joy apparent in the art of the pretend.

As for the differences between the Toy Story films and the oeuvre of Bergman, well they’re so obviously they almost need not be mentioned. Although they share similar themes and ideas, the endpoints often diverge. Toy Story endings are happy, Bergman ones can tend to be more complex, sometimes hopeless. But, as is often noted, even Bergman’s films are filed with more comedy than history gives him credit for. I’m also (according to myself) supposed to be observing what the similarities of these two kinds of films tell us about cinema's evolution. What I see here is what I’ve seen so many times in this series. The smart, deep, intellectual themes that many people consider relics of a civilized cinema past are still present today, and still selling tickets because of, not in spite of, their presence (whether the audience admits it or not). Not all children who love Toy Story will find their way to Bergman. But I wonder now if those who do will see the struggle for meaning, the fear of chaos, the sorrow and the love and think: I remember when Woody and Buzz felt the same way.

That does it for season 1 of Distant Relatives.
Here’s a list of all entries, for your revisiting or first time pleasure:

Citizen Kane & There Will Be Blood  |  The Deer Hunter & The Hurt Locker |   Taxi Driver & One Hour Photo  | The Spirit of the Beehive & Pan’s Labyrinth  |  The Entertainer & The Wrestler |   Metropolis & District 9  |  Repulsion & Black Swan  |   Blazing Saddles & Hot Fuzz |   F For Fake & Exit Through the Gift Shop  |  Solaris & Inception |   Annie Hall & (500) Days of Summer  |  Midnight Cowboy & The Fighter  |  Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner & The Kids Are All Right  |  Raging Bull & The Social Network |   Jaws & True Grit  |  My Fair Lady & The King’s Speech  |   Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom & Dogtooth  |  Hamlet & The Dark Knight  |  The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari & Shutter Island |   Dr. Strangelove & In The Loop  |  The Toy Story Trilogy & the films of Ingmar Bergman pt 1