This week, we watched Day & Night, Toy Story 3, and the Toy Story Toon Hawaiian Vacation.
Kicking off this week was Day & Night, which is one of my favorite shorts yet. Featuring a blend of traditional animation with Pixar’s usual computer animation, we get a wonderful story of two different entities (day and night) and how they relate and interact with one another. The animation is beautiful and the lesson of viewing the world through someone else’s eyes is relatable and inspiring. I recommend it highly.
Toy Story 3 is the conclusion of the Toy Story trilogy. Picking up about 10 years after Toy Story 2 left off, Andy is now headed off to college which forces the gang to question their place in the world and where they belong. Are they still obligated to be with Andy or do they find a new kid who will play with them? This idea is key and runs throughout the film.
One of the best things about the Toy Story franchise is that it has allowed the audience to grow up with it, as opposed to the sequels to Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, which picked up immediately after the first. We have been able to grow up with not just the characters, but the evolution of the technology and Pixar itself. The animation looked very different in 1995 with the first Toy Story than it did in 2010, with the release of this film. Not only has the technology improved but also, I think, the maturity of the characters and the story itself. Each film has built on the previous entry and taken a lesson or theme even further. The first film was quite simple in terms of storytelling: one character has to learn to get along with a new member of the team. Toy Story 2 explored the lessons of home and family and this film looks at growing up and dealing with change, which is the most mature of all.
I remember loving this film when it came out but now, as a college student, these themes are even more potent and relatable. Seeing Andy grow up and move on is such a real part of life and I commend Pixar for dealing with it so well. Seeing him play with these toys again just reinforces that we all have a kid inside of us, regardless of our age or where we are in the world. Though this film was the conclusion of Andy’s story, I am looking forward to what Pixar has in store in June with Toy Story 4 and am curious if they can continue to top what is seemingly an already perfect set of films.
With the release of Cars 2 the following year, Pixar continued telling stories in the Toy Story universe with Hawaiian Vacation. This short follows the toys as Bonnie goes on vacation to Hawaii and leaves them behind in her room. After she leaves, the toys decide to have their own vacation, with Barbie and Ken joining them. For fans of this franchise, this is an enjoyable outing, especially alongside Toy Story 3.
Next week, we’ll be watching Cars 2 and Mater’s Tall Tales.