The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

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The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Olivus Prime on Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:04 pm

So I was wandering around a store one day when I found a wonderfully gigantic book called "The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey", and the blurb described the book as covering the entire history of the Toy Story brand, media-wise. Obviously I was interested as to whether or not it had a section regarding BLoSC, so I opened it up to some chapter between TS2 and TS3 called "Buzz and Woody in Limbo", as if they had been dead or forgotten or something in those years. It did indeed have a BLoSC section, and I thought I would review it here to save you all the trouble of buying the book for it (I think you can tell by that statement that I wasn't impressed...).

The text was pretty poor. It described how Disney, raring to make more money out of the Toy Story brand and eager to keep it in the public eye, went ahead and produced some show called "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command". No detail is put into the description of the production process, it simply states the excruciatingly simple main reasons why the show was made, without any kind of depth whatsoever. It then described the plot of the pilot movie, to the point at which it claimed Mira was from "Tangeah", whilst subtly decrying Buzz's chums as predictable characters. To finish the one paragraph dedicated to the series out of the massive 192 page book, the author, Charles Solomon, writes that the series passed "with little fanfare"... not taking into account that the DVD did better in its first two weeks than the home releases of two blockbusters, one of which was a James Bond movie, and the fact that the series was popular enough to be rerun for 7 further years. Assisting the text are two relatively regular pieces of art - the one of Buzz flying alongside Mira, Booster and XR (though I could have sworn that this is fanart), and the images of Buzz and Zurg from the DVD back cover dropped onto a background from the series. The book claims that both of these are stills from the series.

If it isn't already clear, I hate that whoever had primary control over this book (I assume Solomon, but Pixar could have had some part by just providing crap information) neglected the fact that there are people out there who would genuinely love to see both the art and creative processes behind this series, and, more importantly, that BLoSC, profitable or not for its creators, is still a part of the Toy Story series, and that it deserves an equal focus. I love Pixar, but the one thing I hate about them is how they handle the existence of the series. Presumably they hate it because Disney took three of their original characters and created a whole world of mythology and brand new characters to surround them, despite the fact that Disney consulted Pixar during the creation of the series (to what extent we'll never know, let's face it). Just because they hate it, it doesn't mean our knowledge of the series, and our appreciation of it, has to be hindered. It's like a director retracting art books of their popular film from sale just because they don't like it.

I suppose my giganto-rant links in some ways to the DVD boxset issue that Nothing but Cartoons analysed in the post that Rook linked to in the boxset discussion. Anyway, how do you feel about BLoSC's inclusion in this book? Do you think we should be thankful that it got in, or angry that it got mistreated?

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Re: The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Ranger-Nova on Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:30 pm

Blargh, it sounds like whoever wrote that didn't care much for BLoSC. This makes me sad. D:

Anyway, thanks for posting this.

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Re: The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Steel on Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:39 am

Unfortunately, your post doesn't merely confirm that they never gave a rat's ass for the series -- it merely strengthens it, given Tad Stones' attitude as well as how nobody ever mentions the show. I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but Tad Stones did a podcast a while back with The Animation Guild, and he sounds so unenthusiastic when talking about BLoSC. And John Lasseter says he hates it, too.

I suppose we should be grateful there even is a mention, as poor as it is (I'd like a scan to snag those images, but you probably didn't buy it.), even though it's painstakingly obvious that most of those involved in BLoSC didn't give a damn about it.

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Re: The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Olivus Prime on Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:33 pm

I don't believe I heard that podcast, but I'll look it up. It disappoints me that, like you say, the big bosses of the franchise don't have much respect for it. I suppose you could say that Stones was assigned a franchise when he wanted to helm an original piece of fiction, and that Lasseter had the fun of watching a bunch of other guys toying with his characters, but is there no way that them, let alone everyone else at Disney, can look back with any good feeling?

I'm afraid I can't scan the book as I didn't buy it - I simply flicked to the chapter to see what was written, and left it alone Crying or Very sad . One of the images is this one:


The other I know I've seen on the internet, but I just can't find it on search. It was literally Buzz crouching and Zurg pointing at him in front of a Hornet factory background. The characters were the images from the DVD box.

But yes, not a good buy if a) you've already got other Toy Story art books and/or b) you want some in-depth production info.

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Re: The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Steel on Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:00 pm

I really wish I knew the answer to that question, Olivus. I really do. The only other alternate I can think of is coming into contact with Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle, who are apparently really supportive of fans. I think one of them has a twitter? I don't remember.

Oh, I know that image, and the other you speak of! I figured those were the ones based on your description, but I've never found the latter in good quality. Just this:


I would've loved to get my hands on a scan, at least. *now wonders if a torrent of the book is floating somewhere in the internet*

Given the sparse information on BLoSC provided, I would not buy it. To be frank, I doubt any in-depth records actually exist, which really sucks because I'd have loved to know how they went about character designs, etc.

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Re: The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Ranger-Nova on Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:27 pm

Bob Schooley is on Twitter. I'm not sure about Mark McCorkle.

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Re: The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Olivus Prime on Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:50 am

Steel wrote:

Yup, that's the one, only without logos or text.

Steel wrote:I'd have loved to know how they went about character designs, etc.

That's always been the dream for me. Even with more popular Disney animated shows, production drawings/materials are relatively sparse, but I would love to see the concept designs and model sheets for BLoSC, if only to see what our favourite characters could have looked like! Also, if BLoSC began production before Toy Story 2, were designs for Zurg for the series finalised before the classic design was decided upon?

Ranger-Nova wrote:Bob Schooley is on Twitter.

When I have time, I'd like to ask him about the show.

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Re: The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Olivus Prime on Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:14 pm

Using the camera on my terrible, terrible phone, I have been able to extract the BLoSC text from the book:

The Toy Story Films - An Animated Journey wrote: While the idea for a 3-D Toy Story 3 languished, Disney produced Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins, a direct-to-video feature in drawn animation that served as a lead-in to a sixty-five-episode TV series of the same name.
Emperor Zurg's agents steal the "Unimind", a device that allows the aliens to function as a single intellect. The aliens form the support crews that keep Star Command running, but individually they're inept. During the course of the adventure, Buzz acquires the sidekicks who form "Team Lightyear": Booster, an overeager doofus, XR, a robot who's one of the aliens' less successful inventions, and the inevitable spunky girl, Mira Nova of the planet Tangeah. Tim Allen provided the voice of Buzz for the feature, but Patrick Warburton replaced him for the series. Buzz Lightyear of Star Command debuted in October 2000 on ABC, but attracted little attention.

There's that, and the two images above.

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Re: The Toy Story Films: An Animated Journey

Post by Kat Eclipse on Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:48 pm

Steel wrote:Unfortunately, your post doesn't merely confirm that they never gave a rat's ass for the series -- it merely strengthens it, given Tad Stones' attitude as well as how nobody ever mentions the show. I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but Tad Stones did a podcast a while back with The Animation Guild, and he sounds so unenthusiastic when talking about BLoSC. And John Lasseter says he hates it, too.

Olivus Prime wrote:I don't believe I heard that podcast, but I'll look it up. It disappoints me that, like you say, the big bosses of the franchise don't have much respect for it. I suppose you could say that Stones was assigned a franchise when he wanted to helm an original piece of fiction, and that Lasseter had the fun of watching a bunch of other guys toying with his characters, but is there no way that them, let alone everyone else at Disney, can look back with any good feeling?

Wow, that's really disapointing....I'll bet all the animosity and stuff is why they refuse to put the series out on DVD :/ Big wigs don't want re-kindled interest. (although they could have made a freakin' FORTUNE and a half if they had released it when TT3 came out! Rolling Eyes bet they would have had a little more respect for it then huh? Razz *enter bigwig zombies with dollar signs for pupils* Rolling Eyes gooooood grief! DX)

Ranger-Nova wrote:Bob Schooley is on Twitter.
SWEET! He co-created Kim Possible and worked on Aladdin 2 and 3!! (More favorites of mine Smile) That would be too cool to be able to talk to him!!

Oh, cool fun fact: Bob Schooley is currently a producer of 'Penguins of Madagascar' and Nicole Sullivan is one of the voice actors (Marlene the Otter)!!

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