Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb….
On Friday, amongst others, Bleeding Cool, Coming Soon, /Film – and, of course, Flickering Myth – all covered the release of images from Toy Story of Terror! revealing Combat Carl, voiced by Carl Weathers:
“Disney has revealed this first look at Combat Carl from Pixar’s upcoming TV special “Toy Story of TERROR!” Combat Carl, who was briefly scene [sic] far away in the first Toy Story, is a character the toys will meet on their spooky adventure…”
Read the full article from Coming Soon here.
On escalators, as I move from ground level towards the deep recesses of the London Underground, I see videos telling me about Toy Story of Terror!. In fact, in the UK, it is due to air on Sky Movies next month and it has been used to advertise Sky Movies in and of itself across the country.
So, what is it? Clearly, Toy Story of Terror! is not due to hit the cinemas, but it is advertised to such an extent – *Shock News! Carl Weathers is voicing a character!* – that it almost has the marketing of a theatrical release. It is a 22-minute short that will surely just sit as a ‘special feature’ to support a box-set of the trilogy in the coming few years. This short will be the first “Television Special” and joins the collection of shorts classified as “Toy Story Toons”. So far, we have seen Small Fry (a 7-min short film to support The Muppets in 2011 featuring a mini Buzz Lightyear), Partysaurus Rex (7-mins prior to Finding Nemo 3D) and Hawaiian Vacation (5-mins before Cars 2 featuring Barbie and Ken). As the longest film in the Toy Story franchise since Toy Story 3, the marketing can only be increased to celebrate this.
Since Toy Story 3, we know Pixar has lost a little credibility – but these shorts only serve as an example of a cheap production that garners a tidy profit. It is not a cinematic release, it doesn’t adhere to the same expectations of a feature film, and the quality can also be lower as they are throw-away ‘shorts’ anyway – and I’ll bet Tim Allen, Tom Hanks and Co. were signed up to these when they agreed to voice Toy Story 3. I’d venture that maybe all the voice-overs were recorded back in 2009.
I love Toy Story, and I’ll defend the trilogy as amongst the best animated films in cinema history but 20-minute and 7-minute shorts feel like Pixar is squeezing every last drop from the series. Why not commit to a feature film? We know the answer – it costs too much and these are considerably cheaper alternatives. McToyStory’s perhaps – while I crave a three-course meal.