Who is actually the best ‘Toy Story’ toy?

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Best idea wins': how Pixar grew up.

On November 22, it will be exactly 22 years since the American release of Pixar’s Toy Story, the world’s first computer-generated (CG) feature film.With an original theatrical release on Nov. 22, 1995, “Toy Story” has had an impact (to infinity and) beyond its magnificent box-office take ($192 million domestic, $362 million worldwide).Now that the first teaser trailer is out for Finding Dory, the long-anticipated 2016 sequel to Pixar’s 2003 animated smash Finding Nemo (Saturday, 3.40pm, Disney Movies), this is a good time to re-acquaint young people with the original.

Pixar’s first animated hit has also been the subject of its fair share of conspiracy theories, especially when it comes to Andy’s parents and their story. The movie that brought Ellen DeGeneres back from her dormant career, the movie also stars comedian turned actor Albert Brooks as the protective father in search of his son. The franchise is still going strong after the heartbreaking third film in 2013 – they were in a furnace and held hands, it was VERY upsetting – with a fourth movie set for 2018.

The years in between have seen the studio grow from a scrappy, little-known operation to the most celebrated animation house in the world, possibly even the most celebrated movie studio of our time. But more importantly, with fledgling animation studio Pixar at the helm, the original “Toy Story” set new standards not only for computer animation but also for emotional and complex narratives that appeal to children and adults alike. Celebrating the original film’s 25th anniversary, here are the biggest theories about Andy’s mum and dad – they might give you a new perspective on the whole franchise! The prospect of someone new stealing the affections of someone we love can be all-consuming, as Andy’s toys prove while they await news of his newest gift (Buzz Lightyear). Later that same day, those same young people have a chance to experience all three films in the trilogy that marks a high point in American animation to date.

Andy’s mum remains nameless through the entire Toy Story series, leaving her actual identity and character a source of debate and speculation for fans of the films. The original movie, 1995’s blockbuster Toy Story (Saturday, 6.30pm, Disney Movies), features the voice talents of Tom Hanks as Sheriff Woody and Tim Allen as space explorer Buzz Lightyear.

Jon Negroni – the man behind the infamous Pixar universe theory – has been at it again, and has made a suggestion that makes any other option inconceivable. This was the first feature-length film from the Pixar studio following a series of acclaimed short animations, and it put the then-fledgling studio on the map. First question for Negroni comes from the fact that Andy’s cowboy hat is so different to Woody’s, given that he clearly thinks a LOT of his cowboy toy. Initially the company made computers; when that venture proved unsuccessful, it moved into creating CG animation for commercials, hiring ex-Disney animator John Lasseter. Meanwhile, despite no immediate signs of intelligent life (sorry, Woody), it takes a Buzz a while to realize that — spoiler alert — other sentient beings exist.

We find out in Toy Story 2 that Woody is a collector’s toy from the 1950s, and has been in the family a long time – which the sheriff has NO recollection of, along with other owners. And if that means giving Buzz Lightyear a temporary pass for believing his “flight” is anything more than latching onto a toy airplane that’s tethered to the ceiling of a child’s bedroom, so be it. “Toy Story” came out long before beachfront selfies and perfect-children posts on social media made us question if everyone else’s lives are better than our own. Jessie was abandoned by her owner Emily, and in the emotional montage set to When Somebody Loved Me we get a look at the child’s room, which has a very familiar hat on the bed. Among the most emotional and affecting animated films made, it follows Woody and the gang as they realise their owner is headed off to college and mistakenly believe he’s throwing them away. Emily – who looks to have grown up in the 60s and 70s, due to the decor and record player in her room – never puts this in her box to be donated, so we can assume she kept it.

The final half-hour of the movie will bring a tear to the eye of anyone who has ever had to confront life-altering change. (A fourth instalment is set for release in 2018.) Moving to live action, two recent German films are worth the time to seek out or revisit. Yep, Emily and Andy’s mother could very well be one and the same, and Negroni even thought out the reason she didn’t react to her son playing with a childhood toy. It’s amazing how our friends can help us through our toughest times, whether they involve a sadistic next-door neighbor or a dangerous ride upon a rocket-fueled skateboard. There’s a reason Randy Newman was Oscar-nominated for both his “Toy Story” score and its simple yet sweet theme song, which ends with: “And as the years go by / Our friendship will never die / You’re gonna see it’s our destiny / You’ve got a friend in me.” I’m not crying. Playing fast and loose with time and space, the film follows a determined young woman in then-contemporary Berlin determined to save her boyfriend from the wrath of gangsters.

Your first assumption probably wouldn’t be that they’re the exact same toy.” Jess Nevins is the originator of this theory, although Negroni has built on it with his own thoughts – with everything pointing to Andy’s dad LEAVING the family. Meanwhile, Andy’s sister Molly is a baby in the first film, suggesting that whatever did happen to their dad, happened recently – if he died, you’d expect his presence to still be felt. On her recovery, he becomes determined to persuade her that the GDR triumphed over capitalism, which leads to some insightful satire on the gulf between the two sides of that barrier.

It gets better – the theory even points to Buzz Lightyear and Woody as replacements for a father figure, with the astronaut and sheriff acting as masculine influences to look up to. It’s said that Woody represents the ‘old’, where Andy comes from, while Buzz is a representation of the ‘future’ he’s embarking on with the new home and life. And it said, ‘Why don’t you just make it for us?’ That opened the door for Disney to think of these ‘niche’ animated films that could be done.” After Pixar won its first Oscar for the short Tin Toy, about a wind-up toy being terrorised by a toddler, Ed Catmull pitched to Disney the idea of making a 30-minute television special based on it.

Catmull: “Peter Schneider [the producer of Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast] said to me, ‘If you can do a half-hour, you can do 70 minutes.’ So I thought about it for about one nanosecond – like, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ ” Lasseter: “We knew what computer animation could do. Humans were by far the most difficult to create, so we told the story from the toys’ point of view.” Andrew Stanton director: Finding Nemo: “[Originally it was] sort of a Rip Van Winkle story.

This little tiny toy gets left on the side of the road at a rest stop and goes on a road trip to find his owners, and he bumps into this hand-me-down ventriloquist’s doll who tries to help him. It was hard to believe in him as the most popular toy in the bedroom.” Freeman: “There are characters that didn’t make it: a fox puppet and a floppy puppy, a tiger teething ring. As great as it looked [at the time] it was a little rough around the edges by today’s standards.” Toy Story was a huge hit, making some £240 million worldwide. As traditional hand-drawn animation was becoming less profitable, attention turned to Pixar as the future of the medium. : “I vividly remember having dinner with Steve Jobs in San Francisco [just before the release of Toy Story]. I remember standing outside the restaurant afterward and he said, ‘John, at Apple the lifespan of a computer is maybe three years; after five years it’s a doorstop.

Then we could have faded from existence and that would have been the end of Pixar.” Lasseter: “It was really with the second movie that it was different. We had Pete Docter [Director of Monsters Inc., Up and Inside Out], we got Brad Bird [Director of The Incredibles] in and started building a studio where multiple filmmakers made movies. We lost control of it.” They assembled The Brain Trust, the pet name for the original Pixar filmmakers: Lasseter, Unkrich, Docter, Stanton and Joe Ranft, a beloved story supervisor who sadly died in a car crash in 2005. Stanton: “Getting together in the room again, thinking like Toy Story filmmakers, sort of unlocked these ideas…that would never have come up if we hadn’t all worked and think-tanked together on the first one.” [To Infinity and Beyond] Unkrich: “I remember something said by Steve Jobs…There was a point where we thought we’d figured the story out and could do to it, we just didn’t think we had enough time…We all had to collectively hold hands and gulp and do it.

The idea is to make an original film every year and a sequel every other year.” Lasseter: “When any other company has a hit it madly starts developing a sequel to capitalise on it. Newt, announced in 2008, was due to be a romantic comedy about two newts who were the last of their kind and brought together to mate, which they were not keen to do. Newt was one of those…We did a big announcement in New York where it was important, because it was at the time Disney was buying Pixar, to go way out and tell the world all these movies we were making. It’s been hard for as long as we’ve been telling stories and just because we have a bunch of hit films it doesn’t mean it gets any easier or we’re any more expert at it.

I think we’re just more resilient to the pain and know it comes with the territory.” Lasseter: “We’re always challenging the story…We have a discipline that every 12-16 weeks we watch the movie’s story reels in a theater. My notes are no more important than anyone else’s…Best idea wins.” Unkrich: “With Toy Story 3 I was handed the keys to a very shiny, expensive sports car by John [Lasseter] and entrusted with taking care of it. There were some people who were cynical about us returning to Toy Story but those are great characters and it’s a great world… When you define what makes a good movie, it’s the story and characters. Peter Sohn: “All Pixar movies begin with a ‘What if?’ The Good Dinosaur started with, ‘What if the meteor that killed the dinosaurs missed?’ In the film they became this very agrarian society. On Good Dinosaur it was big and we reworked the whole story based on the original concept.” Lasseter: “The one fundamental difference between now and when we started on Toy Story is experience.

It’s all trying to get to the best story possible.” Unkrich: “The world will never know the specifics of what [The Good Dinosaur] went through to get to where it is, but I do and I’m especially proud of knowing the challenges that it had.” Pixar has announced a release schedule up to 2020. The slate includes sequels to Finding Nemo, Cars, Toy Story and The Incredibles, plus the original film Coco, a story about the Mexican Day of the Dead, directed by Lee Unkrich. Lasseter: “What’s really special about Pixar is that it’s a film-driven studio and every movie is original, every movie is coming from a small group of filmmakers. On that side it hasn’t changed all that much.” Denise Ream producer: Cars 2, The Good Dinosaur: “I think everyone’s excited to see what comes from this new generation.

To be honest, women had been coming up through the tracks that would take them to directing, [but] we haven’t had a huge number in the animation business. But we need to do a better job with it.” Following his last directing job on 2011’s Cars 2, John Lasseter will be returning to filmmaking with Toy Story 4 in 2018. Nobody at Pixar, nobody at Disney, because we didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up…” Morris: “I know that in the age of new media this sounds a little old-school, but we just want to keep making cool movies that people want to see. They’re big films but they’re ultimately personal stories.” Lasseter: “I remember I had this great opportunity once to meet a family whose grandmother was a cel painter on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs all those years ago.

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