I just wanted to talk about this briefly. The Toy Story movies are probably the last pieces of work related to Disney that I have been able to cherish on a level that really hits that sweet spot in my childhood. Yeah, I’ve enjoyed some of their films throughout my life, some more than others, but what has really stood out to me about the Toy Story movies is that they were the first films with the Disney logo on it that felt like a true underdog tales; watching our heroes overcome insurmountable odds and reuniting with friends and loved ones as you, the viewer can finally breathe a heavy sigh of relief.
Each film in the trilogy all basically had the same premise and structure; Woody and/or Pals get separated and must find every which way to 1) conquer their own fears or self-assurance 2) outsmart the toy/human antagonist and 3) take the gigantic leap of faith at the very end to make safe at home. Every kid loved their toys and while it’s clear that that love would never be reciprocated from a hunk of plastic and die-cast, Toy Story (or The Brave Little Toaster, another favorite of mine) manifested that vain hope and childlike innocence into a sympathetic device for these movies, and the stakes are even higher since these characters are foreign to a much larger world full of obstacles and possibilities that they can’t control.
I was almost 13 when I watched the first movie and didn’t see it until it came out on VHS nearly a year later, but I can imagine an 8-year-old sitting in the theatre clutching his parents sleeve as that matchstick was blown out near the end. Sure, the plot and situation is the same for all the movies, but they don’t need to be different. Yeah I wasn’t a big Jessie the Cowgirl fan at first, but her irrationality can be understood, and as long as I can identify that (we all aren’t wired the same), I can accept and move on. Trust can be hard if you’ve only known of having it broken or taken away from you, so it’s a necessary conflict and a character builder. Ultimately, I wanted to see her succeed, and that’s the primary goal is to conquer the colossal odds. Besides, I had a crush on Joan Cusack since Addams Family Values. That sentence has virtually nothing to do with anything.
Toy Story of Terror is the same premise, condensed into 22 minutes. For such a short special, they hit all the familiar franchise hits, except with an homage (or parody, depending on how you see it) to the classic horror film formula. It seriously feels so much long than its run time, and it is wildly entertaining. The new toys introduced are lovable and charming additions, even if you don’t get much of a chance to connect with them for very long. Combat Carl was great, but doesn’t hold a candle to Ken from 3 (it’s not his fault, Ken was just awesome and he stole that movie!) Given the conclusion of Terror could possibly hint of another movie (or special) centered around these new characters, but that’s just me speculating. I do highly recommend viewing it if you’re a fan of the movies. The horror clichés like the indeterminable creature picking off everyone is done nice, they even found a way to do a Psycho shower curtain scene with toys. The human antagonist was an interesting one this time around, much better than Wayne Knight from the second film, and the situation set itself up nicely so that even the viewing audience could see how this situation could be resolved. More importantly, it really is great to see these characters again and if these animated TV features became a little more commonplace in the Toy Story universe, whether it’s the holidays or just for whenever, I would consider them a welcome edition.
But if I hear You’ve Got a Friend in Me just one more time, I will skin whatever is nearest to me and wear it as a coat for Halloween!!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, DEAR READERS!!!!