The Christmas Toy
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this plot of this movie might seem overly familiar, but the Muppet visuals have a special feel. It's probably not for kids 3 or younger, but the idea of toys that come alive will be irresistible to 4- and 5-year-olds. This is just what Santa ordered for grade-school kids. Younger preteens will appreciate the more satirical gags, but the older kids may find it too immature for their tastes. The story shows a toy, Rugby, having to come to terms with sharing his human with other toys. Families who watch this video may want to use it as an opportunity to engage children in a discussion of sibling rivalry and tolerance.
What's the story?
In THE CHRISTMAS TOY, the toys in the Jones house come to life when their owners aren't looking. The playthings are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new Christmas toy for the family's daughter, Jamie. But Rugby, a stuffed tiger who was Jamie's new toy last year, wants to sneak under the tree to be a present for a second time. This trickery is dangerous because a toy "freezes" forever if it's caught by humans in an unnatural position. Rugby chances his luck, and sets out for the Christmas tree. A toy rescue mission follows, and a catnip mouse's quick-thinking saves the holiday for the toys.
Is it any good?
It's impossible not to think of Disney's 1995 feature Toy Story while watching this lesser-known Muppet predecessor. The stories are similar, and Jamie's new toy even turns out to be a space action figure much like Buzz Lightyear. Kids will relish both videos, but it's no contest: Disney's Cowboy Woody is more likeable a hero than the boastful Rugby. Not even magical Muppetry can match the digitally animated toy's-eye view of the world of Toy Story.
Aside from Rugby, the supporting Muppet toys are rich and funny. Most are original to this video. The hero turns out to be Mew, a mouse who belongs to the family pet and has to overcome the other toys' prejudices against him. Meanwhile, Rugby must learn to accept that Jamie no longer has eyes only for him. Here's an opportunity to engage children in a discussion of sibling rivalry and tolerance.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the puppetry of this film compares to computer-generated films like Toy Story.