Some people spend each year looking forward to annual events like birthdays, sports championships and holidays. And then there are those of us in constant wait for the next Toy Story special and/or short to come around and make us feel like children again. Thankfully, the post-Toy Story 3 days have been as fruitful as ever for our gang, and this year’s Toy Story That Time Forgot is an expectedly near-perfect new adventure that was absolutely worth the wait.
At just 21 minutes, Toy Story That Time Forgot is a lean, green plastic fighting machine, introducing franchise stalwarts like Woody, Buzz, Trixie and Rex to an all new world of malevolent playthings. Below, you’ll find our five favorite moments from the dino-filled animation, although the entire shebang could have been the lone entry on this list. Man, I love these things.
Trixie Gets the SpotlightOne of the best parts about the expanded Toy Story universe is that the side characters get to stand front and center for a while. The wholesome personality of Trixie the Triceratops (Kristen Schaal) is our focus here, along with Rex (Wallace Shawn) to a smaller degree. Though she is initially annoyed that toy owner Bonnie would rather pretend that she and Rex are anything BUT dinosaurs, her trip into the world of the Battlesaurs teaches her about presupposition, showing her that a toy’s role is truly in the eye of its beholder. It’s not the most progressive lesson to be taught, but it shows the importance of letting your personality shine through no matter what designation one is given in life. Even if it’s a reindeer with pipe-cleaner antlers.
The BattlesaursIn this adventure, Bonnie takes the toys to her friend Mason’s house, and while the two children are busy playing new video games, Woody & Co. stumble across the Battlesaurs, a squad of action-heavy dinosaur toys that have no grasp of their toydom, much like Buzz Lightyear in the first film. (And then again in the second film.) There’s the powerful Reptillus Maximus (Kevin McKidd) and the evil cleric leader Ray Gon, voiced by director Steve Purcell (Brave). Most of the other Battlesaurs are just minions for the cause, but they make for an impressive whole, creating an enjoyably ridiculous threat for Bonnie’s toys to save themselves from. More of them in Toy Story 4, please!
Mason’s RoomSomething I used to hate about watching toy commercials was seeing the kids playing in huge specific settings that I could never recreate at home. This is exactly what Mason’s room is: a giant plaything ecosystem, where the Battlesaurs have created an enormous community with the plethora of toys that Mason has started ignoring. (There’s even a periscope thing that they use to spy on Mason in the other room.) With loud horns sounding community events, an air conditioner vent used as a torture device, and square footage that probably dwarfs my entire house, Mason’s room is perhaps the most unrealistic setting the Toy Story universe has presented to us, but that’s what makes it so fascinating and unpredictable. I need one of them.
The Battle SceneBecause the Battlesaurs are somewhat presented as technologically advanced warriors of the Greco-Roman era, their methods and behavior follow suit, which leads us to a big coliseum-style showdown between Reptillus and Trixie, with Woody and Buzz thrown in for good measure. (I always laugh when Buzz’s buttons get pressed in the midst of a fight.) Rex also comes in as the unintentional bad guy with big robotic arms controlled by the cleric. To be expected, it isn’t a bloody affair, but it’s the turning point in the episode, as Trixie realizes that she’s been engulfed in unassuming sadism since they arrived. All those poor, poor headless toys.
The Wisdom of the Angel Kitty OrnamentThe Toy Story franchise is a lot of things, but randomly surreal isn’t usually one of them. Thankfully, that’s what the Angel Kitty ornament is for. When she’s at first chosen to be Kittysaurus, to the ire of Trixie, she unleashes her first bit of unprovoked schmaltzy advice: “Greet the world with an open heart.” Personally, I prefer her “Limitations are the shackles we bind to ourselves,” a lot more. And even if Angel Kitty’s wide-eyed optimism wasn’t weird enough for everyone, she disappears at the end of the special after uttering one last Hallmark-ready message. Disappears! This is the kind of moment that would definitely have haunted me as a young child, but it’s the perfect oddity for Adult Me to enjoy. Real-life Angel Kitty toys are coming soon, right?
What was your favorite part of Toy Story That Time Forgot?