Pixar Toys and “Happy Monsters”


More insightful analysis on patterns at Pixar from Peter T. Chattaway:

If Toy Story 3 really does play up the children-as-happy-monsters angle, then it seems Pixar will have come full circle in its treatment of the toy world. And no, I do not mean that Pixar will have returned to the themes of the original Toy Story. Instead, I mean that Pixar will have gone, in spirit, all the way back to the short film Tin Toy (1988), which was heralded at the time as the first computer-animated film to win the Oscar for Best Animated Short.

That’s a sharp observation … but what I really love about this post is Peter’s speculation about a deeper connection between Tin Toy and the Toy Story series:

So, whenever my kids and I watch the Toy Story movies, I like to start with Tin Toy -- partly because I have very fond memories of seeing it on the big screen at animation festivals back in the late ’80s, but also partly because I have a theory that the baby in Tin Toy is identical to the boy named Andy that we see in the Toy Story movies.

That’s so neat. And it ties in with an opening gag in Toy Story that already harkens back to Tin Toy, with Andy’s baby sister Molly in the “happy monster” role, and Mr. Potato Head as the blithely abused plaything. (“Ages three and up! It’s on my box! Ages three and up! I’m not supposed to be babysitting Princess Drool!”)

If there’s anything to Peter’s theory connecting Andy to the baby in Tin Toy, perhaps some of those toys in Andy’s bedroom have been putting up with that sort of treatment for the better part of a decade. (Maybe that’s why Potato Head is so much more blasé about it than the terrified playthings in Tin Toy. How will this play out in Toy Story 3?)

(Now I’m trying to remember whether the Luxo, Jr. ball appears in Tin Toy. If so, that would be another connection, although a weak one, since it appears in nearly every household in Pixar’s films, including Boo’s from Monsters, Inc. and Jack-Jack’s in Jack-Jack Attack.)

Read the whole post at FilmChat.

Monstrous, Pixar



Toy Story 3 (2010)

At times Toy Story 3 feels a bit less fleet-footed than its predecessors, though there’s nothing that doesn’t work. Lee Unkrich, who co-directed Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo, directs with a sure hand. The story is stuffed with wit and invention, such as a couple of premise-bending applications of the Potato Heads’ modular body parts and some hilarious riffing on Ken and Barbie.


Toy Story 2 (1999)

It’s the best kind of sequel, the kind that neither repeats the original nor merely adds to it, but lovingly builds upon it and goes beyond it into narrative and emotional territory no first film could reach.


Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story, the first-ever fully computer-animated feature and the film that put Pixar Studios on the map, is more than a technical tour de force. It’s moviemaking alchemy — a breathtakingly perfect blend of wide-eyed childhood wonder and wry adult humor, yesteryear nostalgia and eye-popping novelty, rollicking storytelling and touchingly honest emotion.