Toy Story is the film that brought Pixar to the attention of most people, and it’s Toy Story that the studio keeps going back to time and again. There have been three films released so far, each receiving a fair amount of critical and popular acclaim, and there is discussion of a fourth being in the works. This news was received with a bit of controversy, as many feel that the trilogy as it stands is complete and could potentially be tarnished by a fourth. (I personally have seen only the first film, due to bad luck catching Pixar films, so I can’t say one way or another). But people generally have no problem with the numerous little short films that have been put out under the Toy Story franchise, and in the past couple years Pixar has brought two holiday-ish offerings to television featuring everybody’s favorite toys. Last year’s Toy Story of Terror was released shortly before Halloween, and this year December was kicked off with Toy Story That Time Forgot, set a few days after Christmas.
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, the main stars of the franchise, reprise their roles as Woody and Buzz, but their parts are relatively small in this TV special. Instead, the focus is on Trixie (Kristen Schaal), the triceratops toy that Bonnie continually plays with in every role except as a dinosaur. The toys are brought wtih Bonnie on a play date where they meet her friend Mason’s latest acquisitions: a large assortment of anthropoid dinosaur action figures, led by Reptillus Maximus (voiced by Kevin McKidd). The figures are imaginatively designed, and reminiscent of action figures from the 1980s onward. Trixie’s excited to meet some more dinosaurs, and all seems to be going well until it becomes clear that these wild action figures have no idea that they’re toys…. The reused plot element is given a gentle lampshading with Buzz remarking on how incredible it is.
It’s hard to imagine Pixar failing to deliver an entertaining show here, and while this isn’t a special I would consider a must-see every Christmas, it’s pretty good. It’s Toy Story, so you know it’s going to be bright and colorful and just an overall treat to look at. It has a fair amount of humor in it and just enough excitement to keep it interesting. It’ll easily hold any child’s attention, and it’s unlikely adults will tire of it (at least, not the first few times through).