Monday, October 21, 2013

'Toy Story of Terror' Delivers on all Fronts

Last Wednesday night, fans were treated to Pixar's first ever television special, the spooky Toy Story of Terror, and needless to say, it did not disappoint.

Toy Story of Terror is essentially everything you loved about the Toy Story films packaged into a 22-minute short. It's fast-paced and filled to the brim with witty humor, quirky writing, references to classic horror films, and even character development. That's right! Character development in a television special! Under all the laughs and hijinks there is some actual depth to this short.

The story revolves around Jessie and her withstanding fear of being trapped inside boxes. Without giving too much away for those who have yet to see the special, she must muster up all the courage she can in order to confront her fear to save her friends and return safely to Bonnie.

I was amazed at all this short managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time. It took the already very fleshed-out character of Jessie and added yet another layer to her, which is exactly what these new Toy Story shorts and television specials should be doing, and it excites me to see Pixar pulling it off so well. We get to revisit this phenomenal cast of characters and see parts of them we've never seen before, all without ruining an already perfect trilogy. Brilliant.

We're also introduced to a wide array of fantastic new characters, including Combat Carl (voiced by Carl Weathers), who hilariously refers to himself in the third person. A personal favorite of mine, however, was his 1/3 scale counterpart, Combat Carl Jr., also voiced by Carl Weathers, albeit in a slightly modified, higher pitched voice. I'm a sucker for squeaky voices. All the new characters are a welcome addition to the Toy Story universe, and I really do hope we get to see more of them in the future.

Michael Giacchino provides an excellent score that adds a hint of spookiness to that classic Toy Story-esque music we're used to.

Other highlights include the always entertaining Mr. Pricklepants, who really steals the show here, and the gorgeous animation, which is, well, pretty much flawless.

All in all, Toy Story of Terror is a delight in practically every aspect, and destined to become a Halloween classic in the years to come. Also, between this and Small Fry, I'm starting to become a pretty big fan of Angus MacLane's work.

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