A couple of days ago, I had the chance to interview the very talented and very kind Pixar veteran, Mark Walsh, the director of the latest Toy Story Toon, Partysaurus Rex. Following Hawaiian Vacatian and Small Fry, Partysaurus Rex is the third Toy Story Toon, and is currently playing in US cinemas before Finding Nemo 3D. However, Nemo 3D doesn't hit the UK until March of next year, so in preparation for the interview, I was able to watch Partysaurus Rex online, via a secure server, and, as I have been with both of the preceding Toy Story Toons, and in fact with all Toy Story films, short or feature, and in fact with everything Pixar have released, I was very impressed! So, check out a brief review of Toy Story Toons: Partysaurus Rex, after the jump break.
Spoiler alert: if you're the one person in the world who hasn't seen Toy Story 3, you may want to skim read this review:
At the end of Toy Story 3, Woody, Buzz and the gang were - heartbreakingly - handed over, from Andy, to Bonnie, as Andy's, and our, childhood with the toys was over, a new generation's had just begun, and the toys could enjoy the renewed attention and affection of a new owner again. So, the Toy Story Toons series chronicles the toy troupe's adventures with Bonnie, keeping the characters we all love so dearly alive, without resorting to a fourth film. Hawaiian Vacation (directed by Gary Rydstrom) felt like it had the most complete story, whereas Small Fry (directed by Angus MacLane) bore the most resemblance to the story structures of the original Toy Story feature films. Both were fantastic, funny, great films, but Partysaurus Rex is easily the most original of the Toons!
Based around the seemingly ludicrous premise of everyone's favourite neurotic dinosaur, Rex, reinventing himself, and as a raver no less! Rex is chosen by Bonnie to take place in bath-time games, however, when she leaves, the bath toys' fun is over, if only they had arms and could turn the water on all by themselves. That's where Rex comes in. Although his hands are usually occupied wringing themelves, they are hands all the same, so he can, and I do quote here, "get this party started up in here". Reinventing himself as the eponymous Partysaurus Rex, he fills the bath and the Toy Story rave follows from there, but his nervous tendencies soon flood through.
The short also introduces several hilarious new characters, including a Rubber Duck and Captain Suds, that I hope we see at least a little more of in the future. It was also packed with cameos, in one of the first images we were given (above) we could spot a Monsters, Inc. inspired toilet seat cover, and, in the actual short, I spotted several Finding Nemo references (apt giving that it precedes the 3D re-release of the film), including bath toys that bore striking resemblances to Peach and Mr. Ray.
I said Partysaurus Rex is the most original of the Toy Story Toons, and it's also the funniest! This is one of the things that Mark Walsh spoke about in our interview, saying that he felt the short "expands the universe a little bit", and that future Toons have the potential to do likewise and experiment with the toys and their new owner. This contrast of the old and the new, the familiar and the modern, provides huge laughs. Because that's something that Partysaurus Rex does phenomenally well: makes you laugh. The fact that this is such a departure from the Toy Story-norm shows that Rex is out of his comfort zone, and that just cracks you up!
The music adds to that massively as well. Provided by Grammy nominated electro-artist, BT, who previously worked with Pixar on the Cars Toon: Tokyo Moater, it's brilliant. Pounding and powerful, it adds to the party atmosphere of the short and is genuinely rhythmic. And if you experience the short in select cinemas with Finding Nemo 3D, you'll experience the music in a 7.1 surround sound mix, so it's, Mark Walsh says, "swirling around you at times like a tornado, it’s like you’re in the club."
Another big plus for the short is the animation. Handled by Pixar Canada, the company's sister studio in Vancouver, the animation here is the best Toy Story has ever looked; vibrant, lively and colourful, the brilliantly animated and detailed water and bubbles make Partysaurus Rex the perfect partner for Finding Nemo 3D!
Even Walt gives Partysaurus Rex his seal of approval!
All in all, a great, hilarious short that looks wonderful, will make you hoot and roar with laughter, and expands the Toy Story universe a little bit. If Finding Nemo 3D itself hadn't convinced you to head to the cinemas yet, then take my word for it that Partysaurus Rex is worth the price of admission itself, even if Nemo 3D sucks - which I hear that it definitely doesn't!
Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Partysaurus Rex director, Mark Walsh.
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