594. Tin Toy – John Lasseter

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SUMMARY: A small tin toy of a mechanical one-man-band tries desperately to escape the clutches of a destructive baby.

WHY IT’S HERE: Produced at a time when Pixar’s future was in doubt, ‘Tin Toy’ went on to win the company their first Oscar and helped cement the deal to make ‘Toy Story’, their first feature length film. ‘Tin Toy’ is an obvious forerunner of ‘Toy Story’, with many elements of the plot and its proposed sequel, ‘A Tin Toy Christmas’, ending up in ‘Toy Story 3’. The destructive nature of very young children, making them a source of terror to small toys, was a big plot point in ‘Toy Story 3’ but in ‘Tin Toy’ it is the whole story. A big, grotesque baby named Billy is the unwitting villain of the piece here and he became the most problematic element of the short. Pixar were still struggling to create human characters that did not look horrific or plastic, so Billy became something of a test ground. In the finished film, Billy is still frightening, although this actually proves to be a strength given the film’s story. Thankfully, Pixar mastered making visually attractive humans in time for ‘Toy Story’, with their mastery of the technique growing through subsequent films. A half hour sequel to ‘Tin Toy’ was proposed as a test before committing to making a whole feature film but it never went ahead. It would have been called ‘A Tin Toy Christmas’ and was to have featured the character of a teddy bear called Lotso, another element that eventually ended up in ‘Toy Story 3’.

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