MR. POTATO HEAD, BUZZ LIGHTYEAR,   MR. PRICKLEPANTS, JESSIE, WOODY, REX

Director: Angus MacLane Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen & Joan Cusack Synopsis: “The toys go on a road trip, when an unexpected event leads them to a roadside motel, after one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious, monstrous, and terrifying sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate.” Runtime: 22 minutes

“Usually this is the point of the story where the characters are picked off one by one.”

There is one major downside to Pixar’s short film, Toy Story Of Terror, and that is it’s a short film. It’s so well done, timed so well and such a joy to spend time with the familiar characters again that by the time you’ve settled into the film, it’s over. Obviously we know there are not meant to be anymore cinematic sequels to one of Pixar’s finest efforts, so any chance to catch up with Woody and company is a distinct pleasure, and from a marketing standpoint it’s great to leave fans wanting more so I won’t grumble, it’s just something of a shame that we only get to spend 22 minutes with these characters.

After the emotional events of Toy Story 3, we find our heroes, a selection of them anyway, on a road trip with new owner Bonnie and her mother. After their car breaks down, Bonnie, her mother & the toys find themselves staying in a cheap roadside motel for the night while a storm rages outside. With Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Rex, Trixie, Mr. Potato Head and Mr. Pricklepants having watched a horror movie during the journey, narrated brilliantly by Mr. Pricklepants, the tone is set for a night of adventure.

Upon arriving in their hotel room, the toys begin to explore their new surroundings and leave Bonnie’s carry bag. Of course, this being a Halloween special, things go very wrong very quickly as each character is picked off one by one by an unknown assailant. Mr. Pricklepants continues his in movie narration throughout, as he expertly informs the audience on what to expect next, while never once ruining proceedings for us.

JESSIE, BUZZ LIGHTYEAR, WOODY

The toys soon find themselves caught, and in danger of being sold on an internet bidding site, and it’s up to Jessie to confront her biggest fear and save the group. We also come across new characters who have seemingly being trapped or who are hiding in the nooks of the motel evading capture. There’s a wonderful nod to Transformers with Transitron, a PEZ Cat and an intense performance from Carl Weathers as Combat Carl. Also, if you ever wondered what Lego pieces get up to when no one is around then wonder no more.

The characters are as watchable as always and all the original actors return to voice them. It’s a shame that no more of the characters feature here, especially John Ratzenberger’s Hamm. This is understandable though, as it’s unlikely Bonnie would be able to take all of her toys with her all the time. Hopefully a few more of the cast will return for the next special, Toy Story That Time Forgot, which is due to be a Christmas special this year.

As always, Toy Story never fails to entertain. Providing laughs, surprises and heartfelt sentimentality along the way while somehow never bogging us down in melodrama or nostalgia, and instead provides us with a first-rate tale of bravery in the face of adversity. Pretty good for a 22 minute animated short.

In summary: It’s always fun to return to the Toy Story universe, and despite its runtime, Toy Story of Terror is a great addition to the mythology of the series, and adds a strong arc to Jessie’s character while expanding on events from Toy Story 2. Recommended.

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