Think back to your greatest childhood accomplishment, was it making a pot holder out of popsicle sticks? Or maybe beating Super Mario Bros. in a single afternoon? Impressive feats, but Morgan and Mason McGrew spent eight entire years of their childhood using a combination of stop-motion and live-action footage to recreate Toy Story 3. It’s a staggering achievement, and one you can finally enjoy in its entirety on YouTube.
If you’ve ever endeavoured to create a stop-motion animation before—even something as simple as creating a flipbook of crude stick figure fights in the corners of a school textbook—you already know it’s a painstaking process that’s really only worth it if a movie studio is paying you millions to create a feature film. That’s not the case here. This is purely a labour of love of fandom, and to spend eight years recreating the Toy Story 3 sets, costumes, and characters (which required the pair to modify many of their childhood toys to be stop-motion friendly) is a concept that’s nigh impossible for most of us to wrap our heads around.
What might be even harder to believe is that the McGrew brothers actually had Disney’s blessing to create their homage. You can head over to their YouTube channel to finally watch the whole thing, and there’s no risk of Mickey Mouse’s lawyers sending a cease and desist to pull it down, or hauling the brothers into court. That being said, there’s always the chance YouTube’s automated copyright systems might have issue with the film since it essentially uses the original audio ripped from Toy Story 3, but let’s hope the site allows this masterpiece to rack up the millions of views it deserves.
If you’re interested in how the McGrew brothers actually made this fan film happen, you can head over to their Facebook page which features a series of behind the scenes looks at what went into their amateur production which started back in 2011. The British website Joe also published a fascinating interview with the brothers last year after the trailer for their film was released back in June of 2019. Be forewarned, though, it might leave you questioning how you spent your teenage years. The McGrews aren’t going to rake in billions of dollars from their fan film—that would certainly have Disney changing its mind about giving its blessing—but there’s little doubt this pair is going to be embraced by Hollywood, assuming they’re now not sick of filmmaking.