Hey, guys. I’m back!

In case you missed the blog post on Monday, there was no comic due to my experiencing another hard drive crash. The same thing happened to me a year ago and I lost a TON of important information. There was less of an impact this time around because I’ve been backing up all of my art files, music, movies, photos and what not to a pair of Western Digital external passport drives. So once I went out and bought a new intern drive, I was up and running again fairly quickly.

One thing I’ve learned, though, is that I still don’t have enough redundancy on these files. I never used to have hard drive problems like this. In the past, I had machines that slowed down to the point of not functioning from years of disk rewrites and things picked up along the way surfing the internet. But I’ve never had machines outright fail like I have these last couple of years. So now I’m looking at online storage houses like Mozy and CrashPlan to help insure my data further.

I guess in the past I didn’t have as much important data as I do now and I’m finally to the point where I’m not going to take chances with it any more. A monthly investment in off-site data backup has finally penetrated my miserly bubble that kept me from springing for the service in the first place.

Anyway, I’m back and at full strength, so let’s talk about the new comic!

I was very excited to see Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D over the weekend. But monitoring Twitter (as I do) and reading all the posts from people wetting their pants about Zombieland, I started to experience a little buyers remorse. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you missed out on a cool, new movie. Especially after the extended dry spell we’ve been having at the multiplex lately.

Here’s something messed up that happened: You know how the advertisements for Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are all “Two movies for the price of one?” Yeah, not for us.

Looking at the start times for our local theater, we saw that they had a 7:00 and 8:55 showing. Assuming that they were playing the movies in two theaters, we figured that we’d go to the 8:55 showing (to reduce the chances of encountering a bunch of screaming kids at the theater). When we went to buy tickets, I said “Two for Toy Story, please” and the teenager behind the counter mumbled something about Toy Story 2.

Maybe it was my fault for not listening more closely, but I thought she was trying to tell me that I wasn’t buying a ticket for just Toy Story, but Toy Story 2 as well.

“Yeah, yeah. The whole package,” I said.

We went to the ticket taker who instructed us to wait as they cleaned the theater. “Great! A fresh theater!” I thought.

Imagine my surprise when they finally let us in and half the seats were already filled. Wait, what? How did these people get in?

We grabbed some seats and tried to make sense of the situation. I talked to some people sitting behind us. “Were you guys in here for Toy Story 1?” I asked. “Yeah,” they said. “This is the intermission part. We’re waiting for Toy Story 2 to start.”

Son of a bee! They sold us a full-price ticket for one movie!

I wanted to stir up trouble, but Cami told me not to. It worked out anyway because as great as Toy Story is, we were really more interested in seeing Toy Story 2. When it was all said and done, I don’t know if we would have lasted through two movies anyway.

I was a little peeved that I missed the intermission stuff. I heard there was some trivia and original Pixar content buffered between the two movies. But I did get to see the trailer for Toy Story 3 – which they won’t release online until after Toy Story and Toy Story 2 have finished their two week theatrical run – and the movie looks great.

If you haven’t heard the plot synopsis yet, basically they’ve followed the toys in real-time after the 1995 original. It’s 15 years later and the toy’s owner Andy has grown up. Since he’s outgrown his toys, he’s donated them to a children’s daycare center. The toys are sad to see Andy go, but are excited to be played with again. That is, until they wake up in the daycare and it is total mayhem! The rest of the trailer is the toys running around screaming about how they have to get back to Andy. It doesn’t give away a lot, so it should be interesting to see not only how they toys escape, but if they’ll be accepted back into Andy’s life.

The thought of a real-time sequel to the movie is very interesting to me. I hope they find a way to work in Sid, the sadistic toy-destroying neighbor from the first movie. Hey! Maybe he’s driving the Pizza Planet truck now!

As for Toy Story 2, the movie looks great in 3D, even if it doesn’t have a lot of effects that capitalize on the 3D technology. There aren’t really very many scenes that reach out and grab you. At the same time, there isn’t that gimmick exploitation of people pointing stuff down the lens of the camera or cheesy effects of things whizzing by you.

I will say this: I noticed A LOT more detail in the movie than I have in previous viewings. The opening sequence with Buzz Lightyear on the alien planet was a particular standout to me. I mean, I was noticing pebbles and stuff rolling around on the planet’s surface that I had never really noticed before. It looked great.

I could go on, but this blog entry is long enough. If you want to listen to a couple of thought provoking ideas about the Toy Story 2 universe, I encourage you to watch my uStream of this comic from last night. I was up very late working on it and came up with a few crackpot theories as to what it means to be a sentient toy.

Specifically, I discussed the main conflict in the movie for the toys – being abandoned. What happens when no one plays with them any more? They go into storage or into a landfill. Jessie (played by Joan Cusack) is very adamant in the second movie about NOT going back into storage. Her character is written as a little off-kilter, suggesting that all the time she’s spent in storage so far has made her a little nutty.

What does this mean? Does this mean that the toys are self-aware while they are locked away in darkness, immobile and trapped? Does this do something detrimental to them psychologically or do the toys “reboot” themselves between their animate and inanimate states?

Also, considering that Jessie, Woody, Stinky Pete and Bullseye are toys that a roughly 50 years old, does this mean they are immortal in some way? How long will they continue to live and what are they really?

Perhaps they are reincarnated souls? Imperfect people from a previous life reborn into the bodies of children’s toys to bring happiness to the world? But if that’s the case, how can you explain Buzz Lightyear – whose every single iteration of the character seems to share the same clueless template by assuming they are a real space ranger?

I think the concept of the Toy Story movies is charming and plays directly to the heart of the child in all of us. Who among us didn’t think of their toys as alive when we were young? Who among us didn’t wonder if they sprang to life while we weren’t around?

I’m not saying that the magic of the Toy Story universe needs to be thoroughly explained. All I’m saying is that if you follow the logic of sentient toys, it leads to some pretty disturbing questions.

Okay, okay. One more for your breadbasket. In Toy Story 2, Woody is completely oblivious to the fact that he is a toy based on a pop culture phenomenon that was popular 50 years ago. How does he live his life without the information and yet Jessie, Stinky Pete and Bullseye all see seem to be aware of their relevancy?

It could argued that they only know of their importance because they are surrounded by the artifacts of this phenomenon in the collector’s apartment. But if Buzz Lightyear emerges from his packaging thinking he’s the actual Buzz Lightyear, how did Woody emerge from his packaging and who did he think he was?

I’ll stop there because I’ve infected the internet enough with my particular brand of crazy this morning. But if anything I’ve said interests you, feel free to comment on it in our comment area below. I would be interested to hear your responses and maybe some theories of your own!

Thanks again for your patience as I got my hard drive situation figured out. See you back here again on Friday!
It’s all food for thought.

↓ Transcript
Did you see anything good this weekend?

Yeah! Cami and I saw Toy Story 2 in 3D!

Seriously? With so many great new movies in theater, you spent twelve bucks to see a movie that you own on DVD and have probably seeng a hundred times already?

Don't even get me started on that 3D gimmick!

HEY! It's not a gimmick!

In fact, I'd argue that the film has never looked better!

The 3D added a richness in detail that breathed new life into the characters and environments. It made them even more real.


These tears.

They're tears of joy.

That's how good this movie looked.