A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Toy Story That Time Forgot is an action-packed addition to the beloved Toy Story saga and sees the characters come face-to-face with a colony of battle-ready dinosaurs who have been tricked into believing they're actual warriors by a scheming, self-serving villain. There's a lot at play here, from a main character's identity crisis to barely obscured admonishments about letting video games consume your playtime, but every turn has a positive message about relationships, loyalty, and being true to yourself. There are multiple instances of peril for some favorite characters, and other toys are subjected to some violence (they're clubbed, hurled long distances, and, in one case, unstuffed), and the villain can be scary at times. Marketing tie-ins are always a consideration when you're dealing with established characters like these, but the story's superb, family-worthy entertainment value overshadows everything else.
What's the story?
It's days after Christmas, and Bonnie (voiced by Emily Hahn) arrives at her friend Mason's (R. C. Cope) house for a play date only to find him enthralled with a new video game. With the kids preoccupied, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Trixie (Kristen Schaal), Rex (Wallace Shawn), and a new friend -- a tree ornament named Kitty Angel (Emma Hudak) -- explore Mason's playroom and discover a veritable army of brand-new Battlesaurs, whom Mason quickly neglected in favor of his virtual games. Much to the delight of Trixie, who laments the fact that Bonnie never casts her as an imposing dinosaur in her play, Reptillus Maximus (Kevin McKidd) welcomes them to the inner fold of the Battlesaurs. But when the devious Cleric (Steve Purcell) manipulates the Battlesaurs' loyalties to threaten her friends, Trixie must convince Reptillus that being a child's plaything really is the ultimate joy.
Is it any good?
TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT is another little nugget of happiness for fans young and old who just can't get enough of these endearing characters. In surprising fashion, it casts Trixie as the central character and relegates Woody and Buzz to mere supporting roles, but the change proves a welcome one. As Trixie struggles with her own identity crisis from Bonnie's persistent imagining that she's any number of mild-mannered characters, she has to come to terms with her own self-image before she can help her new friend realize his. In so doing, she facilitates new bonds between a child and his toys, harking back to the delights of the original dynamic duo, Andy and Woody.
What this movie lacks is a strong holiday presence, although this isn't necessarily a bad thing. With the exception of a visible Christmas tree and the addition of Kitty Angel, there's little to suggest this is a Christmas special, which obviously bodes well for its broader appeal. But the clever concept of delusional Battlesaurs who fancy themselves real warriors welcomes jokes about Buzz's similar misconceptions as well as good-natured jabs at the grandiosity of modern toys ("Everyone needs an apartment shaped like their own head," Trixie agrees as Reptilius shows her his bachelor pad). And, true to form, the characters never miss the opportunity to impart wisdom on viewers of all ages, celebrating true friendship, loyalty, and the joy of recognizing your unique purpose in life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Trixie's efforts to remake her image. Why does she want to be scarier than she is? When she gets the chance to play that role, does she like it? Why are we often tempted to change how we look or act because of others' influence?
Why does the Cleric manipulate the Battlesaurs' actions? What does he gain from doing so? Can happiness ever be found by controlling other people?
Kids: To what extent are your desires influenced by what you see on TV and in the movies? Do you like wearing clothes or having accessories with character images on them? Why, or why not?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love holidays and Pixar
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