Toy Story of Terror ReviewOctober 19, 2013
I am not one to review television shows, for I almost never watch TV these days. However, if someone told me that Pixar was releasing a Toy Story Halloween special on ABC, then I would turn on my television in a heartbeat. Pixar did just that in the form of Toy Story of Terror, a Halloween-themed TV special. I made the time to watch it, and I am very glad that I did.
There really isn’t much to discuss in a short film that is meant to extend beyond the reach of an already concluded film trilogy, but either way it is safe to say Toy Story of Terror is a very fun 22 minutes. In fact, I would even go as far as declaring this short film as the best thing Pixar has produced since Toy Story 3. Even so, the short is not without its minor flaws. The opening minutes of the special are somewhat rough in trying to establish what sort of tone Pixar is going with. The script felt somewhat messy and unfocused in that sense, while a couple of the jokes fell flat for me. However, Toy Story of Terror picks up rather quickly after its opening segment and soon becomes a consistently entertaining, hilarious and even suspenseful television special.
Much of the plot and humor of the special is derived from the character Mr. Pricklepants, a Shakespearean actor/hedgehog toy who was first introduced in Toy Story 3. From him, it’s clear that Pixar had no intentions in making a simple horror comedy; instead, the short plays very humorously not just with horror conventions, but basic narrative structure in general as Timothy Dalton’s Mr. Pricklepants gleefully narrates almost every moment of Toy Story of Terror. This special isn’t just funny for that reason though; there are also some great lines given from each of the returning cast members of the films, while the short also has plenty of Pixar’s visual touches in the comedy as well got some great laughs out of my family. Oh, and remember the scene from the original Toy Story where a small action figure named a Combat Carl was destroyed by Sid? That character makes his way into Toy Story of Terror in quite a hilarious way, voiced wonderfully by Carl Weathers of Rocky and Happy Gilmore fame.
Aside from the comedy, though, this special actually has a good story to boot. It may not have quite the same amount of meaning as its theatrical predecessors, but Toy Story of Terror benefits greatly from the character development in those films by putting the gang we all know into a surprisingly thrilling and equally suspenseful situation. This story also provides for great moments for Jesse to shine, lending her genuine opportunities to confront her demons that hadn’t been seen in the past two films. In other words, she is the hero of the special, and to great effect at that. And of course, the animation is just as great as the visuals in the films. When all is said and done, though, Toy Story of Terror is great proof that this franchise may have ended on the silver screen, but it may have a bright future on our televisions.