LittleChef
Even though I really like this special and watch it almost every time it comes on, I can't help but feel disappointed that this is Pixar's Christmas Special. When they first announced they were doing holiday specials, I was really interested in what they would do for a Toy Story Christmas. With so many ideas with Christmas and toys, I was so confused when they announced the plot with the Battlesaurs. I get they wanted the 22-min runtime, but it still seems like an odd choice. I would've really liked seeing the toys getting mixed up with like Santa's toys and they would go to his workshop or something. Now we're probably not going to get anything like that, or at least not for a while.

Am I alone on this?
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ThePolishGent
I can really see what you're coming from and in fact, I do actually agree with you a whole lot. The 22 minute short really didn't feel a Christmas special of any sort due to the fact that the story mainly focus on both the Battlesaurs, Bonnie's toys and the shenanigans that goes on between them. In fact, what warrant it to be label as a Christmas special other than the fact that it took place during the Christmas season? That's the question that needs to be answer.

Yes, I agree with you a whole lot on this one. The next time Pixar attempts on making a Christmas special that involves the Toy Story gang, they really need to incorporate something that ties into the Christmas holiday season. Like the example you gave out LittleChef.
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ReptilePatrol
Was this advertised as a "Christmas" special? Or was it advertised as a "holiday" special? It's a subtle difference but there's great significance here.

The only issue I can see with that is Disney has been avoiding Christmas as of late simply because of the religious connotation that it carries. Yes, Christmas was featured in the original Toy Story, and I certainly hope Disney had no creative influence in the making of anything Pixar does. However, this is a trend that has been ongoing across all the film studios, as well as across all large corporations. Most films with Christmas featured, such as the aforementioned Toy Story, tend to be older.

Not that there's anything wrong with Christmas and its religious connotation, of course. However, corporations tend to be socially progressive, and as a result they're increasingly adopting the "Happy Holidays" approach instead of the "Merry Christmas" approach, to avoid criticism from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu & other religious minority groups who don't celebrate Christmas or who celebrate other holidays at this time of year, like Hanukkah. A tangible example of this shift would be Starbucks' recent cup changes around this time of year, having gone from Christmas-themed cups to cups with generic festive designs.
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LittleChef

ReptilePatrol wrote:
Was this advertised as a "Christmas" special? Or was it advertised as a "holiday" special? It's a subtle difference but there's great significance here. The only issue I can see with that is Disney has been avoiding Christmas as of late simply because of the religious connotation that it carries. Yes, Christmas was featured in the original Toy Story, and I certainly hope Disney had no creative influence in the making of anything Pixar does. However, this is a trend that has been ongoing across all the film studios, as well as across all large corporations. Most films with Christmas featured, such as the aforementioned Toy Story, tend to be older. Not that there's anything wrong with Christmas and its religious connotation, of course. However, corporations tend to be socially progressive, and as a result they're increasingly adopting the "Happy Holidays" approach instead of the "Merry Christmas" approach, to avoid criticism from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu & other religious minority groups who don't celebrate Christmas or who celebrate other holidays at this time of year, like Hanukkah. A tangible example of this shift would be Starbucks' recent cup changes around this time of year, having gone from Christmas-themed cups to cups with generic festive designs.


To answer your question, it was advertised as "a holiday event", but in the actual special they mention Christmas several times and show Christmas trees and decorations.

I can completely get where you're coming from with Disney trying to avoid criticism for focusing on Christmas only. I can get then why they wouldn't do something with like Santa or anything religious. It's just that it seems weird to me seeing specials playing on Freeform like Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas and The Santa Clause followed by this one that's basically about dinosaur toys battling each other. How can that relate to any holiday?

 

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ReptilePatrol
Hmm, perhaps Pixar was purposely trying to move away from the Santa focus whilst still keeping a Christmas theme? Of course, it's perfectly fine to make something about Christmas — representing minorities is all about inclusion, after all — the only problem is when you advertise it as exclusively Christmas.

Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas and The Santa Clause are both interesting examples you've got there. Both are older movies with a lot more Christmas/Santa focus than Toy Story That Time Forgot. This actually just reminded me of Toy Story, and how it rebelliously and purposefully broke the Disney musical formula. Perhaps something similar is happening here? The two older examples follow very traditional Christmas special approaches, whereas Toy Story That Time Forgot finds Pixar emphasizing something else — Christmas is mentioned, but isn't the main focus. It would be very un-Pixar-ish for them to copy a formulaic approach imo, though whether or not their alternative approach is superior can be up for debate. Not saying that formula is bad — Moana is one of the most formulaic, yet fantastic, movies of the year — but it's something that Pixar has shied away from before.

Full disclosure: I have not seen Toy Story That Time Forgot since the night it premiered so forgive me if my memory is a bit fuzzy.
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Pixar Post - T.J.
Interesting topic and thoughts. I'll first say that I'm sooo glad that Pixar didn't do something as "on the nose" as Santa's workshop or something like that. As fun as that may be, it would also feel really forced and not honest. BUT...that being said, one thing to keep in mind about the Halloween special, Toy Story of TERROR!, is that it doesn't really talk about Halloween at all - it's just a spooky tale. So, I'm thinking they were going for the same kind of vibe on TSTTF - just brushing the edge of Christmas.

It should also be mentioned that when we were talking with Steve Purcell (Director) on our Podcast, he noted that he originally pitched his story as a short film (in the 6-7 minute range) and after talking with Lasseter about it, they felt there was so much more story to tell. John thought it would make sense to slot into one of their upcoming TV specials...so, the Christmas theme was introduced after the story technically began, so I wouldn't say it wasn't Disney's influence to trim it back - I feel like the holiday theme was built around an existing idea.

I was talking with Julie about the topic too and she said that she likes that it's not a typical Christmas story and that the touches of Mason's toys and Angel Kitty (with Christmas-inspired lines sprinkled throughout) filled the void for her. I do understand where you're coming from, though - there are times where the "holiday theme" could have been inserted more for me too...maybe even just more snow or something outside of the house (which is what always came to my mind).
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