Last week I visited Pixar Animation Studios outside of San Francisco to watch a nearly completed version of the highly anticipated Toy Story 3. A few shots were not quite finished and a temp soundtrack (mostly music from the past two movies) was in place, but that did not matter. This sequel proved to be a worthy addition to the franchise, and it’s actually a bit darker than the other movies, which suits me just fine. We’re not allowed to discuss the plot, but I hate spoilers anyway.
One thing that astonished me while watching the 2D version of the movie, and which was later confirmed when given a chance to see the opening in 3D the next day, was the inclusion of “Electric Eye” by Judas Priest. All I’ll say is that the song’s classic opening riff is used twice for a few seconds at the start of the film, blaring from a sports car. Naturally, I was the only journalist who noticed this, and when I brought it up the next day to director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson, they were amused and impressed that that caught my ear. Unkrich told me that unfortunately the song would not make the final film, although they’d use something with “the same feeling”. (I was also told by a Disney representative that it won’t surface in any advance public test screenings due to music rights issues. This was a private press event.) When I asked Unkrich and Anderson if they were metal fans, the latter replied, “We are for that sequence.”
So close, yet so far. Still, this is not the first time a Disney/Pixar-metal connection has emerged. Back in 2008, I attended a Disney presentation in NYC and was shown some footage from the direct-to-DVD movie Tinker Bell. Afterward I met director Bradley Raymond at the bar and asked when Tink would go through her punk phase and dye her hair purple. He then professed that he was a big Iron Maiden fan, which lead to a fifteen-minute discussion about classic metal bands. And last weekend I met Pixar employee Edward Robbins (official title: Technical Director, Characters), who is a fan of Kreator and Slayer.
I’m curious as to how many other Disney-Pixar peeps like to bang their heads? And I wonder how long it will be before we hear some metal tunes or maybe even see a leather-clad rocker in a movie like, say, Toy Story 4? Maybe they can do a movie about Andy as a college metalhead who has Rob Halford, Angus Young and Dimebag Darrell action figures on his mantle, and perhaps they could jam when he isn’t looking. Hey, stranger things have happened.