Sunday, October 19, 2014

TV Special Review: Toy Story of TERROR!

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Entertaining adventure story with some old friends
Cons: Might scare the most sensitive children out there.
The Bottom Line:
Toys disappearing
From creepy roadside motel
Who is after them?

Don’t Stop at the Roadside Motel

Last year, I was all excited about the premier of Toy Story of TERROR!, but for some reason I didn’t especially care for it.  However, I decided to watch it again this year when it was on TV this year, and I wound up really enjoying it.  Now, I’m at a bit of a loss to figure out why I felt the other way.

This half hour special is from the people at Disney/Pixar and includes the original cast back to voice their characters.  While not all the characters are back, we get a good chunk of the old and new characters as they accompany Bonnie (voiced by Emily Hahn) on a road trip.  When her mom’s car gets a flat tire in the middle of a rainstorm, they pull into a nearby motel in the middle of nowhere until they can get it repaired in the morning.

The toys have been watching a scary movie in the trunk, and Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), who is an expert on them, continues to warn the toys of the dangerous things that can happen.  But instead, the gang wants to explore the room where they are spending the night.  Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) is the first to vanish followed quickly by Rex (Wallace Shawn), Pricklepants, Trixie (Kristen Schaal), Woody (Tom Hanks), and Buzz (Tim Allen).  With only Jessie (Joan Cusack) free, it is up to her to save her friends.  But where are they?  And can she face one of her biggest fears to save the day?

Maybe my expectations last year were too high, and I was expecting a full movie’s story in 22 minutes (got to factor in commercials).  Watching it this year, I was actually surprised at how quickly the story moved.  They’ve got time for lots of action and some nice character development in that time.  And we can’t leave out the humor since there are several good laughs along the way.

Actually, I mention character development, but really only Jessie gets any significant development.  Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the cast is their usual charming selves, but it is Jessie that has to overcome her fear of being left in a box.  Yes, so it is predictable, but still, it is nice to see this weakness brought up again and faced over the course of the story.

Despite have “Terror” in the name, I don’t think this will truly scare kids.  Yes, the toys are watching an old fashioned vampire film early on, but there are so many laughs with the character’s reactions to it, I’m not sure it would scare them.  The only really scary thing might be the weird thing grabbing the toys, but once that is explained, I’m not sure that would scare kids for long.  I don’t think it would have scared me as a kid, but I think you’ll only need to worry if you have super sensitive kids.

While the animation doesn’t include any of the beautiful money shots we normally get from a Pixar film, it is certainly up to telling this story.  The voice cast, new and old, does a great job bring their characters to life.

So if you somehow missed Toy Story of TERROR!, fix that today.  It’s a fun story that you will enjoy as long as you aren’t as stupid as I was last year.

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