Toys

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Toys Movie Poster Image
Despite title, edgy fantasy-fable isn't geared toward kids.
  • PG-13
  • 1992
  • 121 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Basic message of military-warrior culture and guns being bad, innocent childlike types being good. On that note, it's proposed that generals and Pentagon are basically big kids themselves; they just prefer playing with war toys instead of dolls and wind-up animals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young-at-heart adults like Leslie are good, compared to military men represented by Leland Zevo, who are exaggerated, armor-plated, destruction-crazed maniacs. Racial diversity in the troops.

Violence

"Cartoon violence" shooting by robot tanks and other weapons, sometimes directed at humans, sometimes at other toys. Hand-to-hand scuffling. No blood.

Sex

A woman takes her top off (with her back to the camera) before "getting laid" with Leslie (no visuals, but their passionate sounds are overheard by a surveillance team). A woman in sexy lingerie reveals she's been sleeping with a father and son (but not at the same time). Assorted sexual double-entendres include a misunderstanding that a homosexual act happened.

Language

God's name in vain, "crap," "poop," "damn," "hell," "bastards," "S-O-B," "cock" and "penis."

Consumerism

 References to MTV, Disney, the American Tail movies, the Michelin Man, and a few real-life video-arcade console games.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

General Zevo gets drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, despite the title, Toys is not really a children's movie, though its unrealistic universe does play to a kid's POV. There is verbal sexual innuendo, and lead characters have a bedroom scene (nothing shown after the heroine starts taking off her bra). Swearing is at light PG-level. Plot involves the death and burial of an ailing father. Some of Leslie's favorite toys are imitation dog-doo, fake vomit, and other vulgar body-function novelties. Mid-90s jokes about Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, Mother Theresa, and other topics might call for explanations. Political bias is pretty thick: childhood innocence and sweetness vs. a hostile military-industrial complex.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byerinw2 November 1, 2014
Teen, 13 years old Written byryl February 29, 2016

Great acting and a good story

Really, this movie isn't that bad. It has its iffy bits but otherwise it's quite tame.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybiovox14 January 9, 2017

Dang, this was stupid.

Ok so I really like Robin Williams, but this was not his best. Sexual content and comments were relatively strong, violence, jokes that make fun of many, many,... Continue reading

What's the story?

TOYS is set in a surreal landscape where the amazing Zevo Toys factory stands isolated in endless, green, rolling hills. The dying president of the family-owned wind-up toy and novelty business thinks his man-child son Leslie (Robin Williams) isn't ready to head the company, and he instead wills it to his estranged brother Leland Zevo (Michael Gambon), a general in the US Army. Leland is far more interested in defense, munitions, and espionage than toys, and he soon has the whimsical factory filled with security troops, ID checks, and paranoia. A visit to a video-game parlor full of war-waging kids convinces the increasingly power-mad Gen. Zevo to secretly recalibrate the whole factory. Now it will create miniature, computerized toy-sized weapons (or deadly weapons disguised as playthings). Leslie and a small group of allies discover the conspiracy and try to stop it.

Is it any good?

On a visual-media level, Toys is breathtaking, a pastel- and primary-colored nursery-room world, with optical illusions and false-perspective shots borrowed from great surrealist painters. Even a shameless ad for MTV (Leslie and his crew fake the music-channel to fool guards) is so clever looking one almost doesn't mind. Almost. Sex gags, cussing, and the lack of child characters signify this is a more grownup toy story than Toy Story, but some teens might enjoy its vibe, visions, Robin Williams' energetic patter, and even the naivete of the politics.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the anti-war, anti-weapons message of the film. Did it change any attitudes?

  • Discuss with kids the occasional controversies over "war toys" and whether fake guns and mortars are suitable as playthings.

Movie details

For kids who love fantasy

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