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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The story intends to entertain rather than to educate, but there are some heartwarming messages about self-esteem and friendship.
Trying to be something you're not can lead you into trouble. The joy of physical play is favored over that of virtual entertainment. True friends are there for you in thick and thin, even if it means standing against the tide of popular perception. It's important to think for yourself rather than to just go with the flow. Feel-good reminders about realizing your potential, being grateful for individuality, and sharing joy with others, as well as the special bond between kids and their toys.
Positive Role Models
Trixie learns to accept herself just as she is, and her change of heart has a positive effect on others as well. A villain exerts control through manipulation, but he's usurped by the truth. Bonnie leads by example in reminding Mason about the joy of make-believe.
Violence & Scariness
Many characters face perilous moments at the hands of a group of battle toys. They're kidnapped and subjected to an arena fight against armored dinosaurs who carry blades and clubs. Some are knocked out of the ring, it's implied that a stuffed toy is ripped to shreds, and two are swallowed by a toy beast, then retrieved and hung over a spinning fan blade. Some of the villainous dinos are menacing, and one gnashes large teeth. Verbal threats.
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"Dang it," once.
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Products & Purchases
This short joins a huge franchise of movies and merchandise featuring the core characters.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.