Remember a week ago when I said that I had three different comic ideas about Toy Story 3? I realized after uploading today’s comic that my idea for the third comic had completely evaporated from my mind. So unless I get kicked in the head by a mule or the idea comes to me again in some other random fashion, this might be it for Toy Story 3 comics for a while. I hope you enjoyed it!
Thinking about the Toy Story movies, I was always a little bit mystified by the absence of Andy’s father. Where is he? Did he move out? Did he and Andy’s Mom divorce? Is Andy’s Mom a widow? Maybe she went to a fertility clinic? The world may never know!
More likely than not, the animators of the original Toy Story didn’t want to design, model and animate ancillary characters that didn’t advance the plot. For example, I don’t think we ever see the face of the Pizza Planet delivery guy. It makes sense, if you think about it. Why go to the trouble of creating a “Dad” character when there isn’t much he can say that wouldn’t be mirrored by the “Mom” character.
That, and it’s a story about toys. So who really cares about the Dad?
Although, now that I think about it, didn’t Sid – the kid next door that tortured toys in the original movie – have both a Mom AND Dad?
Granted, we only hear the Mom off camera. But I think we see the Dad (or at least the Dad’s arm) when Buzz sees his television commercial for the first time and realizes he’s a toy.
As I recall, the Dad was also fast asleep in his armchair and it was fairly early in the morning. From that, I think you can infer that he maybe fell asleep in front of the television the night before. But I prefer to imagine that he was a raging alcoholic that passed out in front of the television. He’s an absentee father and that’s why Sid tortures toys – because no one is their to guide him.
Clearly I think about these things far too much.
Of course, you’re also dealing with a guy who tried to unravel the existential meaning of being a sentient toy. What does the passage of time mean in this context? Does consciousness come and go? Also, how and when do the toys officially become self-aware? When they’re manufactured? Or only after they’ve been packaged and “brought to life” by imaginative play.
Clearly these are questions for the ages.
Something else I’ll say, I don’t want people to assume that I am promoting the idea that a single mother can’t raise two well-adjusted, college-bound children with today’s comic. I’m just saying it would be challenging. I have two kids barely out of diapers and I feel like I’m screwing them up all the time. Thank goodness I have Cami to bounce things off of. If you’re a single mom, you have to have serious stones to keep kids on the right track.
So, in other words, hooray for single moms!
Did that sound creepy? Maybe a little forced… No. Definitely creepy.
I’ll stop talking now. You pick up the slack. Toy Story 3 comments? Leave ’em below!
Apologies for the comic being a day late. The July 4th holiday threw a monkey wrench into things for me. At what point did July 4th change from being a holiday I looked forward to and into a holiday I can only hope to survive.
Oh, yeah. When I had kids. Now I remember.
This is the last of the Toy Story 3 comics I had rattling around in my brain. Next week I plan on moving onto greener pastures. Specifically, Predators. I’m looking forward to this movie so much, it’s ridiculous. So be on the look out for that one.
Before anyone says anything about my depiction of Sid in today’s comic, let me come right out and says that – yes – I’ve heard the rumors that Sid makes a cameo in Toy Story 3 as a garbage man.
Here’s the thing, though. I’m not sure I believe it.
Pixar is known for throwing Easter eggs into their films, referencing their past and future films. But Pixar is also kind of known for promoting these Easter eggs as a way to entice and reward the hard core fans.
I’ve read a few articles that have suggested Sid’s cameo, but there aren’t any images from the movie floating around online.
Fortunately, I snagged a shot from a book that my Mother-In-Law gave Henry over the weekend. I’ve scanned it and am posting it here. Is this Sid? You be the judge.
I can see how people can think it might be Sid because, in the movie, he’s wearing headphones, banging on trash can lids and generally acting like the destructive little Ritalin money we’re familiar with from the first film.
They say he’s wearing a black shirt with a skull on it like he does in the first movie, but this shot makes it kind of hard to tell. I guess until I see the movie a second time, I feel like the jury is still out. Maybe I’m just in denial because I wanted Pixar to make a bigger deal about Sid’s return or at least be a little more obvious about it. I dunno. Maybe that would take all the fun out of guessing?
What do you guys think? I this Sid? Had you already heard the rumors or is the first you’ve been told about it? Will you see Toy Story 3 a second time to confirm?
And – real quick – what about The Last Airbender? I mentioned it on Facebook last week because it seemed like no one was talking about it. Then, there was an avalanche of bad reviews. But lo and behold, the film made over $70 million at the box office this weekend! Will terrible word of mouth kill this film in the second week or are the Airbender faithful going to keep it aloft?
Another question; Considering the large box office this weekend, is a sequel inevitable? If so, will M. Night Shyamalan be asked to return?
More grist for the mill! Thanks for your patience and leave your comments below!
Show us your good side, Mater.
A couple of days ago, Pixar released the third official trailer for Cars 2 – which seems weird because I feel like I’m already seeing commercials and exclusive clips of it everywhere.
For your benefit, I’ve included it here:
The reaction among most of the online movie blogs was typical. People were licking their chops writing up their best disses.
“If Pixar is the standard by which we inevitably, unfairly measure all other cartoons,” wrote FilmDrunk “Cars is the franchise that proves they’re still human.”
“Eh, it’s Pixar,” opined Pajiba “You’ll see it eventually. What choice do you have?”
Look, I’m not blind. I know that Pixar capped this trailer with a bidet joke. If this were a Dreamworks movie, I’d be worried.
But Pixar just came off their best year ever with the largest-earning, best reviewed Academy Award-winning Toy Story 3. You really think they’re going to take a dump in the punchbowl now?
I get it. People don’t like Cars and they don’t understand why Pixar would line up for a sequel – especially when there are more deserving properties to explore like The Incredibles or Monsters, Inc. I’m with you. BELIEVE ME, I’m with you.
But frankly, this kind of snark is nothing new. People have been predicting Pixar’s downfall ever since they hit their stride. I know I’ve said this before, but I remember people bad-mouthing Finding Nemo when it’s trailers first hit the internet. Where are those critics now. Yeah. Shut up.
I freely admit to being a Pixar fanboy and drinking the Kool-Aid. But that’s only because all of these other critics are so damn intent on asserting themselves as being above-it-all. And should Cars 2 tank critically or financially?… They’ll be the first to say “I told you so!”
It’s really unfortunate because no one ever calls these guys out when they’re proven wrong. “Remember when you said that Wall-E looked like garbage on wheels?” There’s no accountability.
I’m guilty of the same cynicism. I won’t pretend like I’m not. I see a movie like Beastly or Red Riding Hood and my eyes roll so hard they nearly fall out of my head.
But there’s a difference between bargain-basement movie making and a studio with an artistic pedigree. To quote Star Wars (for no reason at all), “I find their lack of faith… disturbing.”
Someone is going to call my a hypocrite for this one, but allow me to explain myself.
Last Friday, I went on a li’l Twitter rant (as I am sometimes prone to do) about the critical response to Cars 2. What specifically set me off was this article from Cinema Blend titled “5 Ways Pixar Can Move On From The Critical Failure Of Cars 2.”
I have a problem with this because the article was published at 10:30 in the morning on THE DAY of the film’s release. General audiences haven’t even had a chance to see the movie yet and sites like Cinema Blend were already calling it dead on arrival.
To his credit, my good friend Joe Dunn from Joe Loves Crappy Movies tweeted “Tom I love ya but you are just as guilty of this as they are. It’s the nature of the world we live in. :(” This gave me pause. Mostly because, well, he’s not wrong. I’ve been MORE than guilty of this in the past.
Except (and I’m not trying to justify myself here) but when I react negatively to a film before it lands in theaters, I’m usually reacting negatively to the marketing. If I’m 50/50 on a seeing a movie, bad marketing combined with bad reviews will usually keep me away. But if it’s a movie I want to see – like Green Lantern – I’ll probably go regardless. And if it’s a movie I’m wrong about – like X-Men: First Class – I’ll be the first to admit it.
What Cinema Blend is doing is basically saying “The movie is terrible. Critics have already weighed in. Don’t bother. What’s next for Pixar?” I found the assessment premature.
I totally understand WHY they ran the story. Journalism (such as it is) is all about Getting There First. In entertainment journalism particularly, it’s all about citing the trends early and (in some cases) creating them.
American’s also have a weird relationship with their heroes. We love to celebrate their successes and we love to watch them fall. More importantly, we love to watch them get back up. We love a good comeback story. To make that happen, Pixar had to stumble and Cars 2 was easy pickin’s.
Let’s face it: the original Cars didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Kids love it, but most adults loathe it. I used to be one of them. Of course, having a 4 year-old who is in love with the cast of characters from Radiator Springs kinds of forces a perspective shift. But that’s neither here nor there.
In some ways, returning to the well for Cars 2 smacks of greed. The licensing and merchandising revenue from the original film was HUGE. Cars toys haven’t left store shelves for the last 5 years. To leave money like that on the table would be pretty stupid from a business standpoint.
I think that’s what critics are picking up on and they’re punishing Pixar for it. Because here’s the thing: I saw the movie this weekend and it’s not that bad.
I’ll write a full review later over on the Bonus Materials blog, but my point is this: All the doom-saying going on? It’s trumped up. Is Cars 2 a great movie? No. It’ll never hold a candle to Wall-E or The Incredibles. But here was the deciding question for me – “Is it worse than the original Cars?” Not at all. To that end, it’s not worthy of the scorn it’s received.
In my view, critics just got tired of talking about how great Pixar is all the time. They saw their shot and they took it.
What’s been your reaction to the critical backlash against Cars 2? Do you feel it’s justified or is this an industry hit job? Leave your comments below! (and look for my Cars 2 review later in the day!)
In the meantime, I wanted to draw everyone’s attention to a little site-related business. I’ve been making efforts to spruce up the Theater Hopper store and am offering a few new products.
I have officially made available “Artist Editions” of all three of my books. For $3.00 more than the “standard” edition, I’ll draw whatever you want inside the book’s forward pages. For a sample of these sketches, check out the Facebook gallery I put together for all the Theater Hopper: Year Three illustrations I completed. Over 60 to thumb through!
If you already own all of my books, but would still like some custom artwork, I’ve recently made available commissioned sketches for $5.00. I’m deliberately keeping the price low so it gives everyone an opportunity to own an original piece of art. Plus, it helps keep me loose creatively. Some of the stuff people have asked for so far has been really inventive! I’m also building out a Facebook gallery of commissioned sketches as well, if you want to check that out.
Sorry to bog things down with site business, but I’ve realized that I don’t talk much about the business side of Theater Hopper anymore and things have suffered for it. Considering I only talk to you in this space once a week, I need to do a better job of folding that back in.
That’s all for now. Have a great week, everyone!
As you probably know, Cars 2 came out this weekend. And, as you probably know, most critics didn’t like it. Cars 2 has the dubious distinction of being the first “rotten” movie in Pixar’s 15-year production history.
Unfortunately, this is probably what Cars 2 will be most readily identified with – a punctuation mark on unsurpassed era of critical praise. This is unfair for a number of reasons.
The peripherals of Pixar’s films include a legacy of quality, critical response to that standard, box office success and merchandising ubiquity. In many ways, this is a Jenga stack that was destined to tumble. As each new film is released, any small imperfection will be magnified and exploited before the tower falls.
In this case, Cars 2 has the unfortunate distinction of being released behind Toy Story 3 which was Pixar’s most profitable, best reviewed film to date. Next to that, nearly anything would have looked like a pale imitator.
But does that mean that Cars 2 is a bad movie? No, it’s not. Is it a great movie? Well, no. Not exactly. Then what is it? Cars 2 is a perfectly serviceable piece of family entertainment that moves briskly, entertains thoroughly and doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence. That sounds like faint praise. But neither is it condemning damnation.
I guess walking out of the theater, the question that I tried to answer was “Is Cars 2 worse than the original Cars?” My conclusion was, “It isn’t!” So, by that logic, how can it be the worst Pixar movie of all time. Or, at the very least “rotten?”
Well, I would say that there we some opportunities missed. Unlike the original Cars, whose theme was basically “Slow down and enjoy life,” Cars 2 serves up a tepid lesson about letting your friends be who they are. It doesn’t exactly resonate.
Additionally, I find that one’s enjoyment of Cars 2 weighs heavily on their ability to tollerare comedian Larry the Cable Guy as the faithful tow truck, Mater. Make no mistake about it – Cars 2 is his movie. Either you’re okay with that or you’re not.
In the negative reviews I’ve read, most critics aren’t okay with that. It’s understandable why. As a character, Mater is well-meaning, but best in small doses. Regrettably, what Cars 2 does is makes him slightly more insufferable and ignorant so Owen Wilson (as racing superstar Lightning McQueen) has a reason to push him away in the film’s first act.
This feels a little disingenuous to the character. Despite Mater’s country-bumpkin exterior, in the original Cars, he at least seemed to have some awareness of how others perceived him. I’m thinking specifically when Lightning McQueen is brought in front of a Paul Newman’s Doc Hudson to answer for tearing up the main drag in Radiator Springs. When Bonnie Hunt as Sally shows up, Lightning McQueen is awestruck. Even moreso when Mater says Sally is his financée. “What?!” Lighning says, incredulously. “I’m just kiddin’,” Mater responds. “She jus’ likes me for my body.”
None of that self-awareness is on display in Cars 2 and Mater feels like he’s taken a step backwards as a result.
The resulting lack of message or character progression can make Cars 2 feel somewhat shallow if you listen to your inner cynic. “This is just a money grab!” “They want to sell more toys!” You’re inner cynic is right, by the way. I’m just saying that doesn’t mean Cars 2 is a bad film.
In terms of scope, creativity, design and attention to detail, Cars 2 delivers exactly the way you expect a Pixar movie to. In fact, once the dust settles and people seriously sit down and consider Cars and Cars 2 side-by-side, I think they will agree with that assessment. From a technical perspective, Cars 2 is every way superior to its predecessor. Animation buffs will be dissecting it for years.
Considering that Pixar has always been a studio that trumpted the value of “Story First,” Cars 2 failings in this area makes the rest of the film seem like a sell-out. I don’t feel that way because I never felt like the film was wasting my time.
The more I think about it, the more I acknowledge that maybe I have my “fanboy blinders” on. But I guess I feel like I see both sides of the equation. I know where Cars 2 doesn’t work but I don’t feel like that diminishes the accomplishments of what DOES work about the film. Therefore, I don’t feel like critics are necessarily justified in punishing the movie with abysmal reviews for an otherwise inoffensive and acceptable film.
If it was a Dreamworks movie on the other hand, maybe we could talk. 😉
As if you needed another reason to check out The Muppets when it lands in theaters next week – but it will be prefaced by a NEW Toy Story short called “Small Fry.” From the synopsis…
Buzz Lightyear is left behind at a fast food restaurant when a kids’ meal toy version of Buzz takes his place. While Bonnie’s toys are stuck with the annoying three-inch-tall Buzz impersonator, the real Buzz is trapped in therestaurant at a support group for discarded toys. As Woody and the gang devise a way to rescue their friend, Buzz tries to escape the toy psychotherapy meeting.
Check out a clip here:
It’s probably not fair to call Pixar’s new movie Brave “Scottish Mulan,” but I the comparison leaps immediately to mind.
Okay, okay. So Mulan wasn’t a princess, or whatever. But you know where I’m coming from.
Would you feel better if I said it looked like it was mining the same territory as >How To Train Your Dragon? Or, in the very least, possessing some visual symmetry?
I feel like I’m being disproportionally harsh on Brave and without just cause. Maybe it’s some kind of tic I’ve developed from being a Pixar fanboy for the last 15 years. I’m pretty much 100% positive that Brave will be awesome, so perhaps this is just an exercise in expressing my contrarian underpinnings.
Either way, you should probably watch the trailer – because it’s pretty awesome and I can’t wait to see it and omiGAWD!…
Pixar recently released a clip from La Luna, the short that will appear in front of their latest animated feature Brave, later this year. Take a look.
Is anyone else getting a Little Prince vibe off of this thing? Also, can I please live at Pixar? I won’t take up much, room. I promise. I can survive on a diet of Mountain Dew and Cheetos.
What’s your reaction to the La Luna clip? Leave your comments below!
Saddle up for the first wave of promotion for Disney/Pixar’s Brave. The film doesn’t hit theaters until June 22, but the studio has already released this 2-miunute clip from the film.
As a man with some Scottish ancestry, I’m going to be all over this film like stink on haggis. Bonus points for the red-headed protagonist. Rawr! Frankly, I’m thrilled she’s been cast as a headstrong, adventuring type. This is a huge win for little girls everywhere – an excellent role model that breaks type.
Brave features the voices of Kelly Macdonald (who you might remember played Josh Brolin’s wife in No Country For Old Men), Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane.
The studio also released a new poster for the film, which you can see below.
Who else is excited to see Brave? Leave your comments below!