I wanted to post a review of the latest installment of the Toy Story series over Halloween, but life got a little hectic. So here’s a no longer seasonally appropriate review of Toy Story of Terror.
Toy Story of Terror is an episode length feature with a running time of approximately 21 minutes. The film follows on from Toy Story 3, with the toys belonging to Bonnie instead of Andy (I’m still not over that ending and I never will be). The film opens with the toys watching a classic horror film, each giving their own opinion about what the heroine should do in the situation. Very quickly they find themselves in a similar position and Jessie takes the role of our horror story heroine.
Early on Jessie gets trapped in a toolbox for about a minute and has a panic attack. When Trixie the dinosaur asks “What’s the matter with Jessie?” Mr Potato-Head explains that “She was abandoned in a box for years”. A deliberate reference to the other most heat breaking moment in the Toy Story universe; Jessie’s abandonment . Jessie’s panic attacks don’t really match up with her introduction where she was content to be shipped off with Woody and the gang, but I don’t particularly mind the lapse in continuity because its actually pretty impressive character development, especially for a kids film.
The toys find themselves in a series of horror movie clichés: the car breaks down and they end up spending the night at a motel during a thunderstorm, all of which are pointed out by Mr Prickle-Pants. The group spilt up, leaving Jessie alone in an enclosed space, where she has another mini panic attack. Jessie is later separated by the group again and a lot of the screen time is dedicated to her acting like a typical horror heroine, running from some unknown danger, which turns out to be an iguana which collects toys which his the manager of the motel sells online (another call back to the second film and Jessies introduction to the series).
The toys are reunited when the manager places Jessie in the same cabinet in which the other toys are being stored whilst the manager attempts to sell them online. Someone pays two thousand dollars for woody and Jessie is similarly sold for a large amount of money. (Interestingly the address on the shipping label is Al’s Toy Barn, another reference to a previous film). Jessie is told to get in one of the boxes in order to save Woody and she has to face her fears in order to save both herself and Woody from confinement.
All in all, its not really that much of a Halloween story, just the few moments of horror parody at the beginning. However, it is a great depiction of fears and panic/ anxiety attacks and it is good to see Jessie as our lead instead of the usual focus on Buzz and Woody. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the Toy Story of Terror, especially the way in which the main plot is Jessie battling her anxieties.