REVIEW: ‘Toy Story That Time Forgot’ — Was I Not Entertained?!


'Toy Story That Time Forgot'On December 2, ABC will premiere the second half-hour television special from Pixar Animation Studios, ‘Toy Story That Time Forgot.’ A follow-up to the Halloween-ish ‘Toy Story of TERROR,’ ‘Time Forgot’ is billed as a holiday special, taking place a couple of days after Christmas.

In the special, Bonnie brings a select group of her toys over to friend Mason’s house for a playdate. When she arrives, however, Mason is more interested in the video game he received for Christmas instead of the large selection of action play toys which are set up but neglected in his room, where Bonnie’s toys end up getting tossed. While Bonnie’s toys wonder what happened to their old pals that belong to Mason, they encounter a group of dinosaurs known as Battlesaurs (an homage to toy company original IP of the 80s), who — because they haven’t been played with yet — believe they are real. Not realizing how seriously the Battlesaurs are taking themselves, Trixie finds herself completely at home and in like with the Battlesaurs’ hero, Reptillus Maximus (Kevin McKidd) and it looks like she’s about to have the best Christmas ever — until some old friends show up and Trixie realizes what’s really going on and it’s up to her to save the day.

Where ‘Toy Story That Time Forgot’ really falls short is that it really isn’t a holiday film. It takes place after Christmas, but it’s clear that Christmas was chosen in order to provide an excuse for all of Mason’s  new toys (by the way, Bonnie appears to have gotten shortchanged in that department) and of course Toy Story already used the birthday excuse — but after all, isn’t a birthday exactly what Christmas is? To help remind viewers that it’s a holiday tale, there are occasional appearances by Christmas ornament-turned-star Angel Kitty (voiced by Emma Hudak), who spews out secular messages about peace and love in a horribly adorable way, but for the most part — save for a hairball gag — stays completely out of the way. She’s completely charming and underutilized and while it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, it’s also possible to have way too little. Once you throw away the holiday special wrapping, however, you are left with the story of the Battlesaurs which, to its credit, is well developed and often very entertaining with funny moments and homages to science fiction classics such as Labyrinth, Star Wars, Ghostbusters and more. And in true Pixar fashion, there are plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing what lurks just around the corner.

Bottom line, ‘Toy Story That Time Forgot’ plays out like a very good Pixar short, inflated into a not-so-well executed 21 minute television special — and I honestly say this not because the idea was initially conceived and pitched as a short (which it was), but because that’s how it really feels. It’s the juicy, delectable meat sandwiched between two slices of fruit cake. It’s not that the other elements aren’t enjoyable — especially the Andy-esque montage of Bonnie playing with Trixie and other toys — but they just don’t seamlessly blend.

That said, any fan of Pixar and the Toy Story series should check out ‘Toy Story That Time Forgot’ when it airs on ABC and hope that when the Blu-ray is released, it contains more Angel Kitty, deleted scenes, Angel Kitty bloopers, fake commercials for the Battlesaurs, more Angel Kitty and more Angel Kitty.

The cast of ‘Toy Story That Time Forgot’ includes Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Kristen Schaal as Trixie, Kevin McKidd as Reptillus Maximus, Wallace Shawn as Rex, Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head and Joan Cusack as Jessie. ‘Toy Story That Time Forgot’ is produced by Galyn Susman and directed by Steve Purcell.

 

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