Toys in the Attic Movie Poster Image

Toys in the Attic

(i)

 

Foreign stop-action film blends the beautiful and grotesque.
  • Review Date: September 6, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie's message can be perceived as a tribute to unconditional friendship and the lengths that true friends will go to in order to rescue someone they love.

Positive role models

Buttercup's friends all valiantly attempt to save her from the grips of the Head and his minions. Buttercup stands up for herself even though she's also a very maternal character who takes care of her friends.

Violence

There's a menacing tone to much of the film, particularly the parts concerning the Head, the black cat, and the rest of their allies. Buttercup is kidnapped by the Head's minions, including a rogue cat and a swarm of creepy crawlies. A toy made out of clay is squashed but can reform himself.

Sex

Some sinister sexual undertones to the way the Head treats Buttercup; he asks her to give him a kiss (on the forehead) and forces her to spoon-feed him.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The Head smokes a cigar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Toys in the Attic is the English-dubbed version of a 2009 Czech film. A combination of stop-action and live-action characters, the movie is too menacing -- and some of the creatures too frightening -- for younger moviegoers. While the "secret life of toys" set-up might sound like Toy Story, the characters can be downright creepy, and the evil Head (who smokes cigars) incredibly disturbing (he's obsessed with kidnapping an antique doll and forcing her to do his bidding). Tweens with a sophisticated film palate or an interest in stop-action animation will be intrigued, but it's not for younger kids.

Kids say

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What's the story?

In a dusty old attic, the inhabitants are divided between the peace-loving, communal-living residents of the West and the Land of Evil in the East. The villain, a statue's bust called the Head (voiced by Douglas Urbanski), plots to have his minions (creepy insects, rotten vegetables, and a rogue black cat) kidnap the beautiful antique doll Buttercup (Vivian Schilling). After she's held prisoner, it's up to a motley crew of misfit friends -- train-conducting Teddy (Forest Whitaker), Spanish marionette Sir Handsome (Cary Elwes), clay creature Laurent (Marcel Tubert), and radio-announcing mouse Madam Curie (Joan Cusack) -- to figure out a way to defeat the Head and rescue Buttercup.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Director Jiri Barta inventively depicts the idea of toys coming to life by including animals and vegetables and a combination of stop-motion and live-action characters. Visually, TOYS IN THE ATTIC is a stunning, remarkable film made by a true craftsman. But to American audiences brought up on Disney and Pixar, the scene might be too frightening and creepy -- grotesque, even -- to be considered appropriate for younger audiences.

Although the voice cast is top notch, there was almost no need to re-dub the film in English. The stop-action animation genre might be considered family fare by many, but this is really more of an art-house film that would have been better served in the original Czech. As an option for older children familiar enough with foreign movies to read subtitles and adults who enjoy grown-up animated fare, this is a perfect pick, but for families who prefer their stories light and their animation straightforward, hold off on this at-times macabre story for another time.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the filmmakers employed the use of real humans/objects mixed with the stop-motion figures. Was the result different than films that include computer-generated characters? Which do you prefer?

  • Some of the characters were frightening. Do you think Toys in the Attic is more an art-house film or a family film?

  • Can you tell that this movie wasn't made by an American studio? How? Are there other foreign animated movies that you enjoy?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 7, 2012
DVD release date:February 5, 2013
Cast:Cary Elwes, Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack
Directors:Jirí Barta, Vivian Schilling
Studio:Hannover House
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild peril and brief smoking

This review of Toys in the Attic was written by

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Quality

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 October 19, 2012

toys in the attic

Families can talk about how the filmmakers employed the use of real humans/objects mixed with the stop-motion figures. Was the result different than films that include computer-generated characters? Which do you prefer? Some of the characters were frightening. Do you think Toys in the Attic is more an art-house film or a family film? Can you tell that this movie wasn't made by an American studio? How? Are there other foreign animated movies that you enjoy?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byCabassoG February 16, 2013

A Darker Toy Story: Creepy But Good Arthouse Film

Short review/what you should know: Positive messages/role models: The toys trying to help the other one. Violence/Scary scenes: Potential, especially for younger children. See spoilers at the bottom Sex: none Language: None Consumerism: None, as the toys in the film are not really those that this generation Alcohol/Tobacco/Drugs: Smoking, the main villain smokes in most of his scenes. Main review You can think of this movie as a much darker stop-motion version of Toy Story, though not as remember-able. It can be useful to get older children; more specifically those over the age of 10; into darker animated movies such as many of Miyazaki's teenage movies like Princess Mononoke or potentially others such as Persepolis and otherwise. Unlike Miyazaki's films or the majority of Pixar/Disney films, this film however is not really for children. There are creepy images, among them smoking and violence. Some of the younger children in the audience and some of the young adults seemed to be visibly creeped out by some of the scenes. The movie is fine, I would give it a 3.5 stars if I could but it is closer to 3 than 4. It is too "cutesy" to appeal to older teenagers while it is too dark to appeal to young kids without scaring them quite a bit. The lessons are fine but they are taught in a way that does not appeal to many people. Slight spoilers: In terms of violence, there are scenes of squishing, though it comes back together, as well as a toy leg melting which is rather creepy. In terms of scary scenes, those, and the kidnapping scenes/general peril scenes.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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