Book Review: Funny! (The Pixar Story Room)

Twenty-five Years of Laughter from the Pixar Story Room

Disney Pixar Funny 001

Forward by John Lasseter / Intro by Jason Katz

Right out of the gate I will say this book was a disappointment. ‘Not Very Funny!’ would probably have been a more appropriate title.

The book covers the first sixteen animated movies released by Pixar up to The Good Dinosaur. It contains sketches from the story department that were used to pitch gags to the various directors of the productions. I have no doubt that it must be very funny, and fun, to work in the story department at Pixar, but no real hilarity comes across in this publication.

Disney Pixar Funny 002          Disney Pixar Funny 005

Cute, but no belly laugh

Each film is featured in a chapter with brief snippets of wit and wisdom from one of the story persons who worked on it.

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OK, I would buy this in die-cast!

Some of the ideas, pictured in this post, are amusing. But I wouldn’t consider the majority of them to be ‘funny!’ at any stretch.

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It took all of one hour to read through and digest the images in this book making the purchase price of $29.95 US feel a bit high. I’m glad it wasn’t priced at the much higher figures of similar books from Disney Press. Perhaps being manufactured in China by Chronicle Books brought the price down?

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My expression after finishing the book

Final Review: I’m not always gushing with my praise for Disney books and I certainly rarely pan a Disney book so thoroughly! But I can only give this effort a 2 out of 5 Stars.

The potential was high but the reality ranged from boring to disturbing with only a few chuckles in-between.

The Original Space Ranger: Rocky Jones

Long before Buzz Lightyear found himself on the surface of a strange planet, which turned out to be a bed, Space Rangers were blasting through space to keep the galaxy safe! Just who were these space-ranging pioneers?

These original cadets weren’t members of Star Command, and they had never heard of the evil Emporer Zurg. But they were waging a battle against space-bound evildoers, and doing it all in amazing

Astroscope!

May I introduce to you:

Rocky Jones SR 001

R o c k y    J o n e s :   S p a c e    R a n g e r

Don’t worry, he only wore that helmet when his space ship, the Orbit Jet, ran out of air. But what made this man a true Space Ranger? Let’s look at him by the numbers:

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  1. Cool Name: You just know a man with a name like Rocky must be tough!
  2. Agency: For Rocky, he is proud to report to the Office of Space Affairs.
  3. Personal Space Ship: The Orbit Jet may have seemed like every other ship, but it wasn’t! It was the only one with a name.
  4. Sidekicks: Winky. Yup. That was the name of his co-pilot. Oh, he also had a girl (a full-grown woman to you and me, named Vena Ray) onboard whom he didn’t want onboard and that he often told to go knit and get out of the way.
  5. Missions: Rocky and Winky (yup, really Winky) cruised the galaxy to bring law and justice to outer space. A big job, but someone had to do it!

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Rocky Jones, Space Ranger was an American science fiction television serial originally broadcast in syndication from February to November 1954. The show lasted for only two seasons and, though syndicated sporadically, dropped into obscurity. The show was based on the exploits of clean-cut, square-jawed Rocky Jones, the best known of the Space Rangers. These were Earth-based space policemen who patrolled the United Worlds of the Solar System in the not-too-distant future. Thirty-nine 30-minute episodes were filmed and shown over the period starting in February, 1954 into January, 1955.

Richard Crane played the lead character and so beats out Tim Allen as the world’s first Space Ranger! Thought you were the first Mr. Allen? “I don’t think so, Tim!”

Oh yes, we need to add a sixth point to prove that Rocky Jones is indeed a Space Ranger extraordinaire. But let’s also review the first five again:

  1. Name.
  2. Agency.
  3. Space Ship.
  4. Sidekicks.
  5. Missions. And last but not least:
  6. Catch Phrase!

Buzz Lightyear made going ‘To Infinity and Beyond’ a popular, if not impossible, destination. But only Rocky Jones can take us:

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But remember, if you want to go along, you can’t be a girl. This was the 1950’s after all! The danger could only be handled by men with names like Rocky and Winky.

It actually makes sense if you think about it. No it doesn’t.

Action Figure Showdown: Buzz Lightyear Vs. Baymax

ACTION   FIGURE   SMACKDOWN

There can be only one ULTIMATE ACTION FIGURE on the market. The one to whom all others bow down and acknowledge. Year after year new contenders arrive to vie for the title, but just being new won’t necessarily win first prize. Old toys can have powerful legs that carry them to victory from yesteryear… to infinity… and beyond!

Today I give you my picks for the TOP TWO contenders:

 Buzz 4     BM 2Buzz Lightyear and Baymax

Let’s take a close look at these two heavyweights. What makes them great? Do they have the cool factor to both win over and retain consumer loyalty? Hey, who’s Just. Plain. Awesome? First up, the older contender from out of this world:

BUZZ   LIGHTYEAR

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Buzz has had some trouble along the way. He is prone to visions of grandeur and even greater heights of delusion. But when push comes to shove, or it’s time to fall with style, you can always count on this Space Ranger to get the job done!

Buzz 3     Buzz 2

FEATURES: If we take the “You! Are! A! Toy!” factor out of the equation, Buzz can fly. And not just through the air, but in Space itself! And he has that cool blinking light (a.k.a. laser) to blast his enemies with. He has natural fighting skills (not to mention latin dance moves) and superlative tactical ability. Oh, and he has a cool ship!

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ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Buzz rocketed to popularity so quickly that he got his own show on Toon Disney where we got to meet many more Cadets from Space Command. And even when he got lost on a strange planet, he was able to make friends with the locals, making him an impromptu diplomat. Of sorts.

CONCLUSION: Buzz Lightyear is a solid contender, but let’s look at him by the numbers –

  • Cool Factor: 4.5 out of 5 – The suit and his ship are just too much!
  • Popularity: 4.5 out of 5 – Introduced in the 1990’s, he shows no signs of winking out!
  • Features: 3 out of 5 – With only one offensive weapon and a ship, he’s a bit light here.
  • Accomplishments: 3.5 out of 5 – High rank in Space Command and ability.

Next up is the newbie with the soft inside wrapped up in a polymer shell:

BAYMAX

Big Hero 6 008

OK, admittedly, this powerhouse starts off as a bit of a marshmallow, but when he suits up, his cool factor ramps up considerably:

BM 3

Hero and Sidekick. But which is which?

Baymax has a heart of gold and a never-say-no attitude. He’s there for you when you have a boo-boo or when you need to fight an evil villain. Granted, everything he knows was programmed into him, but that just means he can learn and do anything.

BM 6     BM 7

FEATURES: Baymax has one offensive weapon, that being his rocket punch. But he can also fly, which is always a handy feature to have when fighting evil. He can also program into his memory any tactical maneuver or fighting style. Any. Yup, that’s some serious advantage right there!

BM 4

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Baymax is first and foremost a personal healthcare companion. So while he can, after suiting up, beat the daylights out of you, he can then nurse you back to health again. And no-one gives a better hug! He also has great empathy and can bring people together, making him a natural part of any superhero team.

CONCLUSION: Baymax is also a solid contender, but let’s look at him by the numbers –

  • Cool Factor: 5 out of 5 – He inflates. And his tech suit is beyond awesome!
  • Popularity: 4 out of 5 – Introduced very recently, he has caught on fast.
  • Features: 3 out of 5 – With only one offensive weapon and flight, he’s a bit light too.
  • Accomplishments: 4 out of 5 – Medical and fighting ability is a killer combination!

So who wins the Action Figure Smackdown? Here are the tallies:

Buzz Lightyear: 15.5 out of 20                    Baymax: 16 out of 20

Keep in mind that the contest isn’t over yet! Baymax has yet to stand the test of time. And Buzz Lightyear isn’t one to sit around and accept defeat. He will demand a rematch!

So who would you have chosen? Do you think our ratings are accurate?