Animated Movie Debate – Old-School vs New-School

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Is Disney  Better Than Pixar?

 How could anyone suggest that Pixar is not the top dog when it comes to animation in Hollywood? Well, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Pixar. They’ve produced some of the finest animated films in history. But right now, Disney has taken its spot back on top of the hill, while Pixar looks wistfully up wondering how its former production partner usurped the throne. Curious to know my reasons for viewing the current state of animated movies this way? Well, we’re glad you asked, because I’ve got some pretty compelling reasons about why Disney is better than Pixar.

10. Even Pixar’s Best

Movies Were Disney


Look, we’re not going to sit here and suggest that movies like WALL-E and Up aren’t superior to 99% of the animated films produced by any studio, let alone Disney or Pixar. But the fact of the matter is that, with a couple noteworthy exceptions, most of the best Pixar films were produced when the studio was still enjoying a fruitful partnership with Mickey Mouse’s Mafia. Disney and Pixar announced their split in 2004, with Cars standing as the last real joint effort, so we’ll put that as the marker for BS and AS (before split, after split).

Included in the BS period are Toy StoryA Bug’s LifeToy Story 2Monsters Inc.Finding NemoThe Incredibles, and Cars. The films that were produced AS include RatatouilleWALL-EUpToy Story 3Cars 2BraveMonsters University, and the recently released Inside Out. Things are certainly okay with Pixar, but notice the decline in quality since the split, with Cars 2Brave, and Monsters University standing as three of the four worst reviewed movies Pixar has done. Inside Out bucked the trend, but look at Pixar’s upcoming slate: it’s almost entirely sequels to movies produced while they were under the Disney umbrella.

9. Pixar Has Run Out of Ideas


And that’s what leads us to this point. Pixar has put together some fantastic films over the years, including one of the best and most original superhero films ever made. But look at the slate mentioned in the last entry, and feel the depression grow as you realize that, Inside Out aside, Pixar seems to be rapidly running out of ideas, or at least jettisoning originality in order to try to make more money.

Of the next six titles announced for Pixar, four are sequels to previously existing Disney properties, which also means that Disney gets to slap its logo on there and rake in at least part of the profit. Because Disney owns the rights to Toy StoryFinding NemoCars, and The Incredibles, Pixar’s original agreement during the split was that they could make sequels but could only bring in 35% of the profit, meaning that Disney is still making the lion’s share of money. Unless Pixar is able to come up with original concepts like Inside Out on a more regular basis, they’ll never really come out ahead in the split.

8. The Marvel/

Star Wars Behemoths


Disney has never really been much for originality, and we know that you staunch Pixar supporters have been gritting your teeth and angrily seething about that fact since you saw the header for the last entry. But one thing that Disney has that Pixar doesn’t is an endless supply of ideas, because Disney has become the most powerful entity in Hollywood, bolstered by the acquisitions of the Marvel and Star Wars brands.

That means that along with their own original concepts, like Frozen andWreck-It Ralph, Disney can also mine the Star Wars and Marvel brands for an endless number of animated possibilities. They’ve already programmed basically the entire Disney XD television schedule around shows based on those two properties, and Big Hero 6 was the first joint Disney/Marvel animated feature, and was a smash success as the Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature last year and with the continued popularity of Disney’s Star Wars animated shows, a movie or two may not be far behind.

7. Disney Owns the Animated Musical


Ask yourself this: could you ever envision Pixar making an animated musical film? We can’t, either. Sure, there are a few musical elements here and there, but no full fledged song and dance numbers like the Disney classics. That’s an entirely untapped market for Pixar that it likely won’t bother ever even trying to expand into because Disney simply owns the market. Disney hasn’t been quite as focused on animated musicals the way they once were, with movies like The Jungle BookThe Little Mermaid, or Beauty and the Beast, but they’ve still been putting out popular entries into the genre.

Look at the enormous success of Frozen, which became the most successful animated movie of all-time. Not only that, it’s also the fifth highest grossing movie of any kind, ever. Not bad for an animation studio that was thought to be dead in the water once the split with Pixar took place. It’s also not the only animated musical they’ve put out, either, with Tangled standing as another popular animated film on Disney’s resume.

6. The John Lasseter Influence


You probably don’t know who John Lasseter is, but if you go back and look at the best animated films of the past 30 years, chances are he influenced the vast majority of them in one way or another. The head of Disney animation, who has also served as the chief creative officer for Pixar, is an enormous part of the reason for Disney’s recent upswing, and can probably be pointed to as the man most responsible for helping Mickey’s gang in reclaiming the animation crown.

Lasseter began his career as an animator before directing some of Disney-Pixar’s biggest films, including Toy Story 2 and Cars. If the split between Disney and Pixar could be viewed as a divorce, then the battle over custody of the favorite child was eventually won by Disney. Lasseter began running Disney’s animation in 2006, which you may remember as the exact time the shift in power began to sway back toward Disney.

5. History Favors Disney


Obviously, this one is going to skew toward Disney since the history of the studio is so much longer, but there’s no denying that Disney has always been the go-to place for animated film. Looking back on the incredible body of work of Disney’s animation studio is breathtaking, producing the bulk the greatest cartoon films ever made. Films like The Lion Kingand Cinderella are all-time classics, and with the exceptions of Up and perhaps WALL-E, there really haven’t been any that fit that bill that weren’t also made under the Disney umbrella.

Obviously Inside Out could wind up becoming a classic, particularly with itsincredible 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes, but again we go back to the point that the movies Pixar is best known for are all owned by Disney. Toy Storyis considered a modern animated classic, but since its rights are owned by Disney they get to take credit even though it came out after the split.

4. Disney Creates An Entire Culture


One of the things that has the very real capability of putting Disney ahead of Pixar is the fact that, with Disney’s endless reach in pop culture, it can force any product it wants into any medium it wants and we’ll all wind up thanking them for it. Frozen is an enormous success? Here, let’s put Elsa on the ABC series Once Upon a Time. Disney owns Star Wars now? Here, let’s build the biggest, most immersive experience fans could hope for and tell them exactly which characters, including the animated ones, they should love.

Disney’s ability to penetrate the mainstream is unparalleled. Honestly, we’d call it a monopoly but we don’t want them to get any ideas and start buying up every classic board game ever made, too. At the end of the day, Disney will always win out of Pixar if for no other reason then because Disney makes twice as much money every year than Jamaica and Haiticombined.

3. Pixar May Be Too Smart for Its Own Good


This seems like a strange criticism, since intelligence is part of what makes Pixar films great, but it’s a genuine concern for animated movies. One of the things that has always set Pixar apart in the past is its complex, emotional storylines and characters. Pixar films have always dealt with themes that are far more mature than you’d expect in an animated film, and that may actually be a bit of a detriment when comparing the two animation studios. After all, what’s the target demographic for an animated film? Kids, of course.

Take the movie Up, for example. The opening sequence is one of the most moving and powerful love stories ever put on screen, but it’s the kind of heavy content that may leave some kids feeling cold toward a movie, and make parents hesitant about introducing such ideas to their children at so early an age. Toy Story 3 featured a very distressing sequence near the end of the film that forced the audience to question life, death, and existence. It’s brilliant storytelling – but it’s a fair point to wonder if it may be a bit too much for the younger demographic. To put it a different way: in most instances, Disney animated movies are just more fun, and that’s all they strive for.

2. Disney Still Holds All the Cards


We already mentioned the sequelitis that seems to have struck Pixar, and also the fact that Disney still rakes in money from Pixar by the handful. So if you started wondering if maybe those two things are connected, congratulations, you win a cookie. Okay, that was a lie, you don’t actually win a cookie, because what are we, made of cookies? Don’t be ridiculous. Anyway, because Disney owns sequel rights to all of the movies they’ve previously put out under the Pixar name, they can basically tell Pixar what they want, when they want it.

That’s the deal according to The Hollywood Reporter, at least. With Lasseter basically in charge of both studios, Disney has the ability to control Pixar’s output, to a degree. The fact that one of Pixar’s latest endeavors, The Good Dinosaur, has hit so many snags in production only solidifies Disney’s plan to pump out sequels to proven franchises even at the expense of originality and creativity. And as long as Disney has that much control over the things taking place at Pixar, it’s hard to imagine the former champ regaining its title belt anytime soon.

1. Pixar May Not Even Be

Disney’s Biggest Challenger


Believe it or not, one of the biggest reasons that Disney has emerged ahead of Pixar is the fact that a third challenger has risen up and may be more of a threat to Disney in the long run: DreamWorks Animation. Now, don’t get us wrong, the quality of the movies that DreamWorks produces is almost uniformly worse than Pixar, but the box office has been pretty terrific, and they don’t have any pesky contracts dictating they split the money with Disney.

DreamWorks has been responsible for some of the biggest animated films of the past 15 years, including the Shrek franchise as well Kung Fu Panda and the rapidly blossoming How to Train Your Dragon franchise, which might wind up being the biggest single threat to either Disney or Pixar there is. Add in titles like MadagascarThe Croods (which, remarkably, grossed $587 million worldwide), and Home, and DreamWorks has a solid stable of proven animated features that could help it surpass Pixar as Disney’s biggest challenger in animation sooner than later.

Old-School vs New-School


– Animated Movie Debate

Toy Story Religion – WIF Allegories

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Religious Beliefs Hidden

In Toy Story

The Toy Story movies, aside from being a great way to keep your kids busy for a few hours, can be seen as an in-depth discussion of  faith and religion. You may think that we’re reading too much into it, and you’re absolutely right — that’s what makes the Internet fun. Read on to see if we can convince you!

10. The Mutant Toys Represent An Egyptian Myth


The Mutant Toys in the first movie live in the house of Sid and Hannah Phillips. Sid is a monstrous young child who steals Hannah’s toys, destroys them and then combines them with parts of other toys to rebuild them. The saga of the Phillips’ toys mirrors an Egyptian myth. The God-King Osiris is tricked by his brother Seth into lying down in a bejeweled coffin. Seth and his cohorts then put the coffin in the Nile, where Osiris subsequently drowns. Osiris’ body is later cut up into pieces. Those pieces have to be put back together by Osiris’ wife, Isis. After Osiris’ body is reconfigured, Osiris is brought back to life with magic.

Many Egyptian myths center around death and the journey to the afterlife. Sid, like Seth, is obsessed with violence and destruction. Sid is often seen wearing a skull on a black t-shirt. Sid’s house is literally a “house of the dead.”

9. Stinky Pete Is A Cult Leader


Stinky Pete is one of the main characters in Toy Story 2. He appears to be kind and affable until Woody attempts to escape — then his true colors shine through. He exhibits many traits that cult leaders use in order to keep their followers in line. A local Sheriff once referred to David Koresh as a “nice guy.”Jonestown followers were captivated by Jim Jones’ public speaking abilities.

Many of Stinky Pete’s darker qualities are shown in his relationship with Jessie. He recruited her to his cause while she was emotionally fragile. Jessie was abandoned by her owner, and Pete keeps Jessie subservient with the constant threat of going “back into storage.” A third of people successfully indoctrinated into cults are recruited after a personal loss. Cults then proceed to isolate and threaten their members to ensure their continuing loyalty. Pete has successfully sequestered Jessie and Bullseye within Al’s Penthouse.

Stinky Pete is also perfectly willing to use sabotage and violence to maintain control. Stinky Pete’s indoctrination even works on Woody. Woody is hesitant to accept the escape plan of Andy’s toys in favor of remaining with the Roundup Gang. At that point, Woody had succumbed to the cult indoctrination and sees the Roundup Gang as his “new family.”

8. Potato Head, Mormon


When people think of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, they generally associate it with Utah. However, nearly a quarter of the residents of Idaho are practitioners of Mormonism. Idaho is universally identified with the potato. Mr. Potato Head has a fairly antagonistic relationship with Woody, who as you’ll learn later can be seen as a representation of evangelical Christianity, during the first Toy Story. There’s still a significant division between Evangelical Christians and Mormons.

At the end of Toy Story, Mr. Potato Head is “gifted” with Mrs. Potato Head. The practice of an arranged marriage is not endorsed by the Church, but theFundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has has been accused of practicing arranged marriages. None of the other relationships in the Toy Story franchise indicate a marriage simply because the relationship was predestined by the toy company. Woody doesn’t have a romantic relationship with Jessie, Barbie helps the other toys conspire against Ken in Toy Story 3. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head seem to share a common belief system that leads to the union.

7. The Humans Are An Example of Dystheism


Dystheism is the belief that there is a God, but that God may not necessarily be good or evil. The dystheistic God can range from good to indifferent to completely vile. In the Toy Story universe, the fate of the toys is completely determined by their human owners. Al McWhiggin sees the toys as a means for profit. Emily threw away toys she no longer wanted. Daisy’s parents saw toys like Lotso as being replaceable.

Each of these owners, like Andy, wield absolute power over the fate of the toys. Even though they didn’t make the toys, the relationship is very much like that of a God and its creation. The fate of the creation is dependent on the mood of the God they happen to serve. The toys have little to no choice in their master or the fate of their fellow toys. As a matter of fact, the fates of Bo Peep and Wheezy are completely unknown. The only known element is that their fates were decided by humans.

The unofficial hymn of dystheistic ideals is “He Gives All His Love,” a song from 1971 which portrays a disinterested God looking down at human suffering. The song was written by Randy Newman, who would later work on the Toy Storysoundtracks.

6. The Squeeze Toy Aliens Practice Totemism


Totemism is a belief in kinship or a mystical relationship with a totem — something that’s a symbol for a family or a tribe. A totem can also be a person that represents an idea. Totemism is common among aboriginal populations. In the first Toy Story, the Squeeze Toy Aliens worship “The Claw.” The Claw is just a mechanical hand used as part of the game to grab the Aliens. However, the Aliens have turned the Claw into a totem with which they have a mystical relationship. The Aliens the Claw takes are believed to have been chosen for a better fate.

In Toy Story 3, the Aliens are similarly worshipful of a construction vehicle with a claw-like device. The Claw also serves as ancient plot device known as deus ex machina, or literally “God from the Machine.”

5. Lots-‘O-Huggin Bear and the Church of Satan


Contrary to popular belief, the Satanism of Anton LeVay as spelled out in The Satanic Bible is not the worship of a Biblical Satan. Satan is merely a symbol of their overall theology. The Church of Satan rejects the idea that there is an external divine being, arguing that divinity is a concept which is self-contained in the individual. The values of right and wrong are left up to the determination of the individual deities, a concept that doesn’t leave room for the worship of an external deity.

Lotso believed that he was abandoned and replaced by his external deity. In this case, the external deity was a little girl who owned him. With the lack of an external deity, Lotso reorganized his belief system into one which only recognized himself as a deity. Morality then became determined by Lotso and his new god-like status. Amorality for Lotso then evolved into a sense of chaotic evil. This belief system is best represented by Lotso when he mocks the other toys before attempting to murder them by screaming “Where’s your kid now, Sheriff?” Lotso is mocking the old belief of external deities controlling the toys’ lives. Lotso’s now in favor of his own personal self-determination.

4. The Toys Existence is a Form of Animism


Animism is the belief that all things possess a soul. It’s the the attribution of conscious life to nature and inanimate objects. English anthropologist Edward Tylor coined the phrase in his 1871 book Primitive Culture. Tylor stated that animism appeared mainly in tribal religions, and he goes on to dismiss the idea as superstition. However, the existence of animism in native cultures may indicate that animistic beliefs are in fact older than many organized religions.

The toys have a soul simply because they exist. They instinctively know how to behave around humans and animals. On some levels, these apparently ancient rules must predate them and possibly even toys in general. It’s possible the toys are the evolution of spirits known as dryads. Dryads were nymphs that lived in trees and were worshiped in Druidic ceremonies. If the tree died, the Dryad living in the tree would also perish. This is one of the earliest known forms of animism. The dryads could have evolved into living in objects made from trees and ultimately into living within the toys. This would make the concept of living toys much older than the age of modern action figures.

3. Jessie And The “Backsliding Christian”


Jessie is an example of what evangelical Christians would refer to as a“backsliding Christian.” Jessie started out with the same beliefs as Woody and other toys. After her abandonment by Emily, Jessie became “lost” and eventually fell into the cult of Stinky Pete. It’s only when Jessie returns to her core beliefs that she finds safety in Andy’s house. Her continuing belief also allows her to survive to the point where she is finally cared for by Bonnie Anderson, the new owner of Andy’s toys.

The implication isn’t that Jessie was the victim of forces beyond her own control, but that it was Jessie’s own lack of faith and non-adherence to ritual that led her to Al’s Toy Barn. When she found her belief again, Jessie’s life started to turn around. Backsliding, to Evangelical Christians, is when a converted Christian’s lifestyle falls back to a pre-converted state. Jessie was “brought back into the fold” by meeting Woody. In some Christian teachings, backsliding can ultimately result in a loss of the conditional security of salvation.

2. Buzz Lightyear And The Church Of Scientology


Did you know that one of the major goals of Scientologists is to achieve a“oneness with Infinity?” This “urge toward infinity” has been conveyed with atriangle overlapped with an infinity symbol. Scientology Leader David Miscaviage is quoted as saying “You are missing the signpost up ahead… the one that reads infinity.”

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was an avid science fiction writer, and in a certain context Buzz Lightyear appears to be a walking advertisement for Scientology. Lightyear’s signature catchphrase is “To Infinity and beyond.” His square jaw and features appear to be a caricature of Hubbard. Lightyear also believes that visualizing having a power is equivalent to actually having that power. This theory is most evident in Lightyear’s belief that he can fly. Scientologists use guided imagery and visualization to attempt to connect with the higher being within themselves. Buzz Lightyear appears to apply Scientology principles throughout the trilogy.

1. Woody and Christianity


Sheriff Woody is Andy’s favorite toy. Woody’s very name is evocative of thewooden Christian cross. Furthermore, Sheriff Woody is a symbol of theAmerican West in the nineteenth century. The time frame that Woody represents is the time of tent revivals, a period where many evangelical Christians were crusading to revive the country’s spirituality.

Throughout the movies, Woody is also a study in a belief system that receives many challenges. Woody believes that Andy will always be there for him. At the beginning of the first Toy Story, Woody has never experienced anything which would challenge that belief. Woody’s faith is tested by the arrival of Buzz Lightyear, as well as the incident at Al’s Toy Barn. But Woody keeps coming back to his faith even through its challenges. Woody also converts Jessie, and almost sacrifices himself for the other toys. Woody’s beliefs are not shared by all of the other toys. Woody frequently clashes with other toys, even though Woody appears to be their elected leader. Throughout the movies, Woody learns to trust that there is a higher power and plan for him even beyond his time with Andy. That belief is one of the hallmarks of the Christian faith.

Toy Store(y) Religion

-WIF Allegories