MENU

Author

Toy Story’s Most Iconic Stills After 25 Years

Stills, Toy Story

Posted by Joanna • November 22, 2020

The Twitter account @OnePerfectShot is a truly inspiring page to scroll through. There’s something immensely satisfying about seeing a screenshot that not only perfectly represents the movie, but just looks good too. Pixar movies take inspiration from a huge range of movies, both classic and modern, and you can see these influences sprinkled throughout the studio’s work. Cinematography does exist in the world of animation, and a whole lot of thought goes into it.

We’re going to go through each Pixar movie in order, each of us hand selecting the stills that we find to be the most iconic. That’s right – we’re choosing our own ‘one perfect shots’, and we’re starting off with Toy Story, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary today!

Maya Ved

Maya’s Pick:

With time, seams inevitably begin to show. The technology Pixar uses has come a long way since their first feature length film, where control over elements like texture, shadows, and light was limited. The Woody and Buzz we see in the first Toy Story don’t look drastically different from their later installment counterparts, but they are still noticeably less polished, less delicately rendered.

None of this however comes to mind when watching a sequence like this one, where Woody at last acts upon his selfish resentment towards Buzz. Instead of limitations, just from this still alone, I’m reminded of how well-crafted and beautiful the film is. Animation after all is not simply the look or style of the film, but the composite of atmosphere, environment, character movement and interaction, and of course, story. Even when I was too young to understand why the visuals were so appealing, I was always drawn to the golds, pinks, and purples of the sunset outside Andy’s room. Now that I’m older I can see how those colors underline the building tension to create a dramatic mood. I also appreciate the framing as well, how the ever recognizable cloud wallpaper shares center stage with Woody’s narrow-eyed profile, and how to the left we see the pinboard that sets off the chain of events that launch Buzz out of the window hinted at on the right. It’s the perfect image to mark the turn of the plot.

But all that technical consideration aside, more than anything else this moment is just plain amusing. I can’t remember my first reaction to seeing Woody’s guile in play but with every repeat viewing the absurdity of his pettiness gets even funnier. A lot of serious work went into creating this moment of Woody coming up with a seriously unheroic idea, and it’s a delight to look at.

Joanna

Joanna’s Pick:

Toy Story is a simple movie, but somehow manages to carry a series of pretty intense plots: betrayal, loss, an identity crisis… Buzz coming to terms with his identity is a huge part of the movie, but would probably be considered a ‘sub-plot’ by some. The more I watch Toy Story, the more I realise that Buzz’s struggle with who he is ends up being the most hard-hitting storyline.

This still brings back those feelings brought about by Randy Newman’s “I Will Go Sailing No More”, with a pang of irony and humour, all while being perfectly and very satisfyingly framed.

Simoa

Simoa’s Pick:

The still I chose for Toy Story isn’t meaningful in any way, just funny. But it was hard narrowing my choice down to just one. Although the film was released in 1995, before computer animation was as sophisticated as it is today, the visuals are still impressive. I think this is the best in the series. I was just four years old when Toy Story was released. I didn’t know that it was making history. But now as then, it’s a movie I don’t get tired of watching.

Toy Story is that rare Pixar movie that doesn’t make me bawl my eyes out. It’s not emotional at all, and yet, it was the first full length feature made by the studio. So I just had to choose a shot that makes me laugh. Woody has just challenged Buzz to fly around Andy’s room, and Buzz readily accepts. His face is determined while Woody is left a bit dumbfounded watching him go. This of course, after Buzz hits him with those terillium carbonic alloy wings. And we know that Woody’s feelings will be more or less the same with this Mr. Lightbeer around. So to me, it perfectly encapsulates the central relationship between these two and is one of the reasons Toy Story is unsurpassed. A story about friends is good, but enemies to friends is even better.

Karla

Karla’s Pick:

Choosing a singular screencap from Toy Story was difficult but in the end, I chose one that felt the most significant to me. In this still, Woody and Buzz had just landed from their most iconic scene. They felt victorious because after their troubles and tribulations throughout the movie, they had finally made their way back to the person they loved the most — Andy. This screencap was the exact moment that they both decided “Hey, he’s alright”. To me, this was the beginning of their beautiful friendship. A friendship that would be referenced for years to come. Sometimes I wonder… Did the Toy Story crew know that they would be creating a legacy that would span decades? 

The history behind Toy Story is so interesting. As the first Pixar/Disney collaboration and as the first feature-length animated film that was entirely computer generated, there was a lot of pressure behind this project. So much so, if it failed, Pixar would not exist today. I believe this is what drove the larger effort into creating an effective storyline. Even if the technology was lacking, audiences around the world would be too wrapped up in Buzz and Woody’s dynamic. And from there on out, Pixar would become known for their story and their technology. An amazing feat that started with two toys and their rivalry.

25 years since its release, and Toy Story is still being referenced in 2020. If you haven’t revisited the movie in a while, today is the perfect day. Happy anniversary, Toy Story!

Read article

Pixar’s First Emmy

Round-Ups

Posted by Joanna • September 23, 2020

Autumn is officially here, which means Soul‘s release date suddenly isn’t far away. In the meantime, here’s a quick Woody’s Round-up of the latest Pixar news.

Pixar’s First Emmy

Forky Asks a Question, created, written, and directed by Bob Peterson, is a short-form series exclusive to Disney+. It explores Forky’s adventures into the understanding of our universe, and it’s won Pixar its very first Emmy! It won in the category Outstanding Short Form Animated Program. The episodes are short enough that it’s easy to sit down and watch all 10 in one go, which we would thoroughly recommend. Congratulations to the Forky Asks a Question team!

Onward Coming to UK Disney+

At this point, it really does feel like Onward was released in another age. I went to see it in a cinema with lots of people and no masks. UK Pixar fans will be pleased to know that they can transport themselves back to this worry-free time by watching Onward on Disney+ from October 2nd.

Pixar and Adidas Team Up

Adidas are releasing a Toy Story-inspired collection on October 1st. Which is your favourite? The Buzz shoes might take the win for us.

Read article

We Chose Toy Story’s Best Quotes

Toy Story

Posted by Joanna • July 24, 2020

Pixar has provided us with countless quotes that have embedded themselves into our culture – and for good reason. Just as their movies often have that ‘instant classic’ feel, lines always seem to pop up in Pixar movies that are immediately unforgettable. It’s easy to think back to the movies that we grew up with and quote the famous gags and inspirational lines, but it’s a testament to Pixar’s writing that even in brand new releases, there are lines that resonate with millions of people after just the first watch.

We’re going to go through every Pixar movie in order of release and choose the best quotes – whether they’re the lines that have stuck with us, or the lines that have been overlooked (until now).

First up – Toy Story!

 

Joanna

Joanna’s pick:

“This isn’t flying – this is falling, with style!”

“To infinity and beyond!” is no doubt Toy Story’s most iconic quote, but this one has always felt more meaningful to me. It’s a throwback to Woody and Buzz’s first encounter – Woody dares Buzz to show off his ‘flying’ skills, and when he impresses the rest of the gang with what can only be described as an amazing feat of daring and luck, Woody exclaims defensively “That wasn’t flying! That was…falling with style!”

At the end of the movie when Buzz and Woody are soaring through the sky towards Andy’s car, the roles are reversed. This time it’s Buzz that disagrees with Woody and says “This isn’t flying – this is falling, with style!”

Let’s delve deep into this line. This quote says so many things.

  1. It’s demonstrates Buzz’s character growth. He now accepts that he can’t fly. He accepts that he’s ‘just a toy’. But he realises that these aren’t bad things – in fact, they’re great! He’s now at peace with who he is.
  2. It’s a defining moment in Woody and Buzz’s friendship. For most of the movie, they are exact opposites. They never see eye to eye. Buzz literally quotes what Woody said earlier, but with a different inflection. It shows that they’ve finally found a middle ground.
  3. It’s also kind of a beautiful quote to live by. We may never be the best at what we do, but we can put our hearts into things and have fun along the way.

 

Nia

Nia’s pick:

“You’ve got a friend in me.”

Randy Newman’s lyrics that launched an animation empire and a franchise that continues to grow almost 25 years after its debut in cinemas, changing film history forever. I know it’s not a direct quote from Woody or Buzz but you can’t imagine Toy Story without that verse from the song. There is nothing more magical and heart-warming than hearing those words for the first time, where we’re then introduced to the rest of the iconic toy gang and of course, Andy himself. The song not only fuels us with nostalgia but it also reminds us of the importance of friendship and no matter how old you are or where you are in life, you’re always going to be a kid at heart and you’re never alone if you have friends.

Sure, Clarence the angel from It’s A Wonderful Life famously said, “No man is a failure who has friends,” but Randy Newman’s lyrics give us a that reassurance and walk down memory lane as we revisit our companionships, past and present.

“You’ve got a friend in me” gives us a solid reminder of some of the most important friendships we’ve had in this life; reminds us to be grateful for all the people who are no longer with us. And like me, it reminds me of my childhood and the glee I found playing with my own toys and unlocking my imagination in my tiny bedroom as I daydreamed about one day telling stories and working in animation.

 

Simoa

Simoa’s pick:

“Now I know exactly who I am and what I’m here for.”

Toy Story is one of the rare Pixar films that isn’t heartbreakingly emotional. But it is punctuated by moments of melancholy. When Buzz realizes that he is indeed a toy (and one that can’t even fly at that), he’s devastated. What follows is one of the more brilliant musical touches in the film, with Randy Newman singing “I Will Go Sailing No More.”

“Now I know exactly who I am and what I’m here for.” Within the context of the scene, that line isn’t victorious. It’s admitting defeat. Buzz realizes that he’s just a toy with only a single purpose. Rather than joyfully embracing it as Woody has done for so many years, it depresses him. Dashed dreams, shattered illusions. And I think that’s one of the most familiar aspects of the human condition, figuring out exactly why we’re put on this Earth and what we’re meant to do with our time here. Even though this is a fantasy with toys that come to life, Toy Story doesn’t retreat from sobering realities. It takes Buzz some time before he finally accepts his purpose, and this shocking discovery was the catalyst. Sometimes we recognize our limitations and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like Buzz, we can still find happiness even if our impossible dreams don’t come true. We can dream new ones.

Read article

The original score for Pixar’s OUT is now available!

Soundtrack, SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • July 3, 2020

If you haven’t seen Pixar’s latest SparkShort “OUT” yet, then I envy you – watching it for the first time is an absolute joy. It’s on Disney+ along with all of the other shorts from Pixar’s experimental shorts programme. You can read our review of it here.

“OUT” was made even more charming by its soundtrack, written by Jake Monaco and Natasha Adorlee. The rainbow space cat and dog duo’s theme – which is titled Pink and Purple in the soundtrack listing (by Natasha Adorlee) – stuck with me in particular. I think it stuck with the protagonist’s parents too, evidenced by the fact that they hum along to it at the end of the short.

You can purchase and listen to the soundtrack now.

Apple Music 

Spotify

 

Read article

Catch A Sneak Peek Of Soul – Tomorrow!

Pete Docter, Soul

Posted by Joanna • June 26, 2020

Pixar’s next film Soul, directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, was originally set to release on June 19th. It will now be released on November 20th. Lots of ‘firsts’ have happened this year due to obvious reasons, so Soul is now Pixar’s first movie to be postponed not due to production delays but due to a…global health crisis. A lot of the marketing is clearly shifting to virtual means because of this too.

Tomorrow (June 27th), Essence Festival of Culture is hosting a virtual conversation with the team behind Soul. We’ll even be given an exclusive sneak peek at the film.

The team behind Disney & Pixar’s upcoming film, “Soul” – director Pete Docter, producer Dana Murray, and co-director Kemp Powers – are joined by Dr. Johnnetta Cole and Jon Batiste to offer an exclusive sneak peek at the film.

To see the little featurette, you need to RSVP by following this link. The Soul portion of the event will run live from 6:44PM to 6:54PM ET. Since it’s live, we’ll be tuning in a bit earlier to make sure we don’t miss anything!

 

For many of us, Soul is acting a bit like a light at the end of a very long tunnel. We’re hoping that November 20th won’t just feel a bit more normal, but also better than the previous ‘normal’. I’ll leave you with this lovely quote from Pete Docter that has seen me through a lot.

“It’s like you run into this dark tunnel, trusting that somewhere there’s another end to it where you’re going to come out. And there’s a point in the middle where it’s just dark. There’s no light from where you came in and there’s no light at the other end; all you can do is keep running. And then you start to see a little light, and a little more light, and then, bam! You’re out in the sun.”

 

UPDATE:

Here’s the sneak peek and conversation with the film makers in case you missed it:

Read article

Pixar’s “Out” Is A Weirdly Wonderful Coming Out Story

SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • May 22, 2020

The latest SparkShort Out, directed by Steven Hunter, is Pixar’s first coming out story featuring its first gay protagonist, Greg. It’s moving day, and Greg is preparing for a new life in the city with his boyfriend Manuel. Moving day ends up being a little more hectic and otherworldly than he expected – not only do his parents show up on his doorstep, but a magical collar appears, defying the laws of time and space.

When the title of Out was first revealed, I’ll admit that my mind at no point envisaged a coming out story, but I am so thrilled to have been surprised by this. Not only is it a coming out story, but it’s a weird one. In the best way possible. The weirdness doesn’t take away from the emotional impact – if anything, it adds to it.

Greg is suffering from a struggle that will be familiar to many – coming out as gay to his parents. When the opportunity is flung on him, he freezes and does anything he can to hide the truth. In fact, he is so determined to not have his parents find out about his relationship that even when he swaps bodies with his dog his first priority is to continue hiding the evidence. And that leads to some pretty drastic decisions.

It’s only when he’s given the chance to sit and listen to his mom’s own inner struggle that he finds the courage to open up about his too.

Pets are wonderful things. They can’t talk back (at least in human). They’re just there, and they let you talk through your feelings. It’s so cathartic to have a dependable ear for those words to fall on instead of having them dissipate into thin air. Countless people have poured their hearts out in front of their cat and then thought “Wow, I wish I could just tell my parents that.” It’s good practice though.

This is what went through my mind when Greg’s mom was taking a moment to reveal her worries in front of Jim the dog (she wasn’t to know that her son was currently residing in the dog’s body). We should all wear our hearts on our sleeves a little more, and I think Greg learnt that in this short snippet of his life. Even more importantly, though, is that he learnt that there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s gay, and that’s good.

“What is wrong with you?” “Hm…nothing.”

The story isn’t the only wow factor that Out has – the experimental animation style, the character designs, the voice acting, Wheezy from Toy Story 2…they’re all great. It’s amazing that they fit this all into just 10 minutes.

No two coming out stories are going to be the same. This one was based on a true story, and we’re wondering how much was real and how much was imagined. Fingers crossed that beautiful gay-space-rainbow cat and dog couple are real though. Bravo SparkShorts on yet another inspiring film!

Read article

New Pixar SparkShort – OUT – Coming To Disney+

SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • May 1, 2020

OUT is the title of the new short coming out of Pixar’s SparkShorts program, and it will be available on Disney+ on May 22nd.

We don’t know anything about the story of OUT yet, but here is a very charming still that was just released today:

We’re enjoying the different art style they’ve gone for here – it’s a little reminiscent of the lovingly drawn and animated SparkShort Kitbull. And look at what’s in this cute pup’s mouth: Wheezy from Toy Story 2! Right?! We wonder if his squeaker is still working.

The SparkShorts program is really inspiring – it allows Pixar employees from all sorts of different departments across the studio to tell their own stories and try out new things. So far we’ve been beyond impressed by Kitbull, Purl, Float, Loop, Smash & Grab, and Wind. It’s been exciting seeing how creativity can be fuelled by limited resources and limited time. The animation style experiments have been eye-opening!

Not all SparkShorts have quite been released on the European Disney+ yet. Wind was released last week, and Loop is still to become available.

Read article

What Pixar Have Been Up To During Lockdown

Round-Ups

Posted by Joanna • April 23, 2020

It’s time for another Woody’s Round Up on Pixar news! Even though the world in general is moving very slowly at the moment, there are some Pixar news nuggets to pick up on.

Companies around the world have had to drastically shift the way they engage with audiences. Pixar were already very active online on various social media platforms, but it’s been great to see some new content aimed at people who are stuck at home and feeling bored, anxious, or a combination of the two.

Learn how to draw your favourite Pixar characters

It’s no secret that Pixar employees are talented. Employees that are similarly stuck at home have put together some fantastic art tutorials. So far, there are tutorials on how to draw Barley from Onward by Kelsey Mann, Duke Caboom from Toy Story 4 by Emilie Goulet, and Lightning McQueen from Cars by Scott Morse. We’d love to see more! Learning a new skill is something that a lot of people are finding value in during lockdown, but it’s nice to just hear from the artists too. We’re all in this together! Remember to use the hashtag #DrawWithPixar

Pixar artists haven’t just been teaching us how to draw Pixar characters though – Ana Ramírez González also made an adorable ‘how to draw a koala’ tutorial to help celebrate Nat Geo’s ‘Earth Day at Home’ event.

Super cute!

 

WALL-E in 16 bit

This has been another addition to the Pixar YouTube channel which is incredible. WALL-E in 16 bit graphics! We can’t decide if we want a whole movie done in this art style, or a video game. Both would be ideal.

 

New Hallmark Pixar Christmas ornaments have been revealed!

Hallmark have revealed some new Pixar Christmas ornaments that will be available for purchase later this year. They’re the sort of ornaments you can imagine having out all year round and not just restricting to festivities. Our personal favourite is the Bo Peep one (available July 11th), but you’ll also be able to find the Pizza Planet Truck (!!), Boo from Monsters Inc, WALL-E, Woody and Buzz from Toy Story, Anger from Inside Out, Crush from Finding Nemo, Jack-Jack and the raccoon from Incredibles 2, and Ian from Onward. 

Read article

Soul’s New Release Date: November 20th

Pete Docter, Pixar, Poster, Soul

Posted by Joanna • April 13, 2020

Soul, Pixar’s next original movie directed by Pete Docter, has been pushed back from it’s original release date of June 19th to November 20th. This means it will land on the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Many movies have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first official word of Soul being pushed back, but it doesn’t come as a surprise.

Other movies with less notice have had to resort to straight-to-digital release, but with lockdown effects likely to be differing around the world come June, a delayed release seems the more sensible choice. It was revealed last week that a number of Pixar employees have been put on furlough – perhaps this would have had an effect on the completion and marketing of the film as well.

Soul was originally set to share a ‘release date birthday’ with Inside Out (another of Docter’s films).

Bring on November 20th – hopefully this new date will see us in a much more familiar world and will allow us to experience the film for the first time in an exciting crowded theatre.

Read article

Top 5 Best Pixar Movies To Watch While Social Distancing

Opinion Piece, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • April 10, 2020

We realise that this title alone raises a lot of questions – aren’t all Pixar movies great to watch during social isolation? And actually; aren’t they all great to watch at any time?

Yes. But we think that creating ‘top 5’s is a reasonable activity during these difficult times. A lot of people are looking for a bit of escapism right now, and we hope that either inspiring you to spend an evening losing yourself in a Pixar movie, or inspiring you to create your own ‘top 5’ list because you disagree with us, helps your day feel a little more normal.

To pick out our selection we’ll be focusing on this ‘escapism’ theme. Which Pixar movies are best at transporting you to a different world? Which succeed the most at helping you forget the outside world for longer than the movie’s runtime?

So, in no particular order:

1. Onward

At the moment, it’s important for us all to still feel connected. It’s great that there’s a newly released Pixar movie digitally available to a lot of us at the moment – something new to discuss and watch together (even virtually). But Onward offers much more than that. It fully embodies the fantasy genre, but puts a different spin on it. It has a world that you want to spend more time in and learn more about (and the multitude of fantasy references means it’s worth so many rewatches).

Onward will help you feel more connected to the world and your relationships not only because it’s ‘current’, but because family connection is at its heart.

2. Ratatouille

There’s something that only some very special movies are able to achieve, and I call that the ‘I can do anything’ effect. It’s when you have that feeling of endless possibility flood over you when the credits start rolling.

Ratatouille is one of those movies for me. “Anyone can cook!” Or, (this quote is better): “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” At the moment I think we all need a little bit of that feeling. Watch Ratatouille, and then go indulge yourself in some creative hobbies. Try a new soup recipe. Go wild!

3. The Incredibles

The Incredibles has such a beautifully fleshed out world and such an exciting plot that you can’t help but get lost in it. It’s just pure fun. We may be going through a crisis right now but there’s nothing wrong with taking time to smile and to laugh.

Also – the soundtrack will be in your head for days after, which is a huge plus.

4. The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur is one of the most relaxed and atmospheric Pixar movies. It has been criticised for its simple plot and slow pace, but honestly…I view those things as its greatest strengths?! It’s the perfect ‘chill out’ movie, while also being very cathartic.

Its scenery is also stunning. A lot of us are missing having access to nature right now, so let the beauty of The Good Dinosaur’s settings wash over you and remind you of the light at the end of the tunnel.

5. Inside Out

This was a difficult one. Inside Out deals with such complex emotions and doesn’t shy away from the ones that we perceive as more ‘negative’. Inside Out won’t be so much of an escape – it’ll be more like facing your feelings head on and coming to accept them. So this choice might not be for everyone. But if you’re feeling up to it, then it might help you feel stronger going forward.

 

Let us know what you’ve been watching to help you cope lately. We’re thinking of you all! Stay safe!

Read article