When “Finding Nemo” is theatrically re-released next month, re-formatted for 3D and following a similar trajectory that made “The Lion King” a surprise smash last year, it will come packaged with it a very sizable incentive – a brand new “Toy Story” short film, entitled “Partysaurus Rex,” and centered around our favorite neurotic dinosaur Rex (played, from the beginning, by Wallace Shawn). Today Entertainment Weekly debuted photos from the short, as well as new plot details.
The short focuses on Bonnie, the young girl who was seen at the end of “Toy Story 3,” who decides to grab Rex for some bath time fun. Rex, seizing the opportunity to reinvent himself, becomes a kind of emcee of a big splashy party. “If you’re a bath toy you get really intense playtime. It’s like a party,” director Mark Walsh told EW. Walsh has been an animator with the studio since 1998 (he was one of the first hires after the first “Toy Story” film’s phenomenal success), working on both features and shorts. This is his directorial debut. Walsh continued: “Then when the water goes down you can’t move. You’re helpless. And that’s pathetic, these guys at the bottom of the tub all the time.”
Since Rex is the only toy with actual limbs (everyone else is some kind of aquatic something-or-other), he is the one to get the party started. EW notes that there are some glow-in-the-dark toys that create a kind of throbbing disco effect, and that electronic musician BT, who memorably contributed to the score of Doug Liman’s “Go,” has created new music for the short.
“He wants to stand on the side of pleasure and happiness and joy,” the voice of Rex, Wallace Shawn, told EW. “I live this drama every day of my life!” While Walsh explained the scenario: “What I was going for was, you move to a new town and make new friends, and suddenly you think you have this chance where you can reinvent yourself.” One of the photos suggests Rex has really reinvented himself, looking like some kind of prehistoric club kid, while the other new photo – of Bonnie in the tub surrounded by a mountain of bubbles – gives us some typically cheeky Pixar in-jokes. Not only is the toilet seat cover the same spotted fur as Sully from “Monsters, Inc.,” but a number of the stickers on the side of the tub evoke characters from “Finding Nemo” (like Shelton the seahorse and Pearl the octopus).
“Partysaurus Rex” is the third “Toy Story” short released since “Toy Story 3” – the first, “Hawaiian Vacation,” premiered with “Cars 2” last summer and was undeniably the highlight of that particular evening; and “Small Fry” was attached to “The Muppets” last fall. What’s kind of fascinating is how different each of these films is – “Hawaiian Vacation” is a kind of broad mistaken identity comedy while “Small Fry” was somewhat more psychologically complex and way weirder – with “Partysaurus Rex” looking to be some kind of crazy pseudo-musical. In other words: we can’t wait.
“Finding Nemo” arrives in theaters on September 14th.