Friday, June 15, 2012

Could "Toy Story Toons" disable Pixar creativity

There should always be somebody around to point things out indelicately, just so that they're out there in the world. I am frequently happy to fill that role, and seeing as "Brave" is set to hit theaters in only a week now, I couldn't help but raise awareness for another cinematic treat that comes coupled with it. I speak of "La Luna", Enrico Casarosa's short film which is to be attached to the Pixar outing. The bits and pieces that have eked their way online have been both gorgeous and sweet, and mark a slight return to form for Pixar. Not too long ago, something happened that changed the Pixar landscape in a way nobody could have foreseen.

The mind may spring to "Cars 2", but I am in fact speaking of "Toy Story 3". I'm not about to lodge a complaint against the animated endeavor, as it in fact is so tightly constructed a conclusion as to delight, dazzle, and bring to tears anybody who watches it. Still, it seems that Pixar is having a little too much trouble filing a divorce from that precious franchise, which has manifested in a series called "Toy Story Toons". First shown a year ago in front of "Cars 2", and then again in front of "The Muppets", the shorts offer us the chance to reunite with those characters we've come to know and love so dearly, offering us the chance to never truly lose them.

Don't get me wrong, since it's a wonderful sentiment, and the segments do strike a tone of gleeful joy. That being said, in the whole of last year we didn't get anything truly new from Pixar, unless you had the fortune of seeing "La Luna". Furthermore, Pixar's shorts have been a time honored tradition since the very beginning, with bite-sized confections like "Luxu Jr.", "Geri's Game", and "For the Birds" offering pre-show escapism that effects on an equal, but different, level as the films they preceded. If you ask for my favorite, I'm inclined to present "One Man Band" for the immaculate design elements of it.

Are "Toy Story Toons" utterly destroying these other works? Clearly not entirely, as "La Luna" can attest to, but as beloved as this series has been, we crave something more. What makes "Brave" instantly more appealing as a concept is the fact that we haven't seen it before. I am not calling for the dismantling of "Toy Story Toons", and that's not going to happen since they have more coming for later this year, supposedly to pair with "Wreck-It Ralph" (UPDATE: Moments after this was posted, Disney announced their original "Paperman" short would accompany "Wreck-It Ralph". Pixar's "Partysaurus Rex" still unattached), and another arriving in Spring of next year. I hope, however, that it is meant to accompany "Oz: The Great and Powerful", and not "Monsters University". The gorgeous, sweet, and heartfelt originality of Pixar's traditional shorts is something too important to lose. This is not an accusation. Just an acknowledgement of something that can't go unnoticed.


10. "Toy Story Toons: Small Fry"
9. "Knick Knack"
8. "BURN-E"
7. "For the Birds"
6. "One Man Band"
5. "Geri's Game"
4. "Jack-Jack Attack"
3. "Lifted"
2. "Day and Night"
1. "Presto"

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