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TV Review: 'Toy Story That Time Forgot' (Special; ABC, Tues. Dec. 2, 8 p.m.)
Production: Produced by Pixar Animation Studios.
Executive producer, John Lasseter;
Producer, Galyn Susman;
Writer-director, Steve Purcell;
Editor, David Suther;
Music, Michael Giacchino.
Duration: 30 MIN.
Voice cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kristen Schaal, Kevin McKidd, Wallace Shawn, Timothy Dalton, Don Rickles, Joan Cusack
The conceit could hardly be simpler: Little Bonnie has a play date with a friend, and takes a bag of her toys along. But once she gets there, the boy has a topnotch game console, and the more tangible diversions are quickly abandoned.
Left alone, the toys encounter a group of dinosaur-like playthings (a cross-pollination, essentially, of the “Transformers” and “He-Man” strains) that appear to be somewhat unclear on the whole “toy” concept. That leaves triceratops Trixie (voiced by Kristen Schaal) to try to help save her pals, while dealing with a warrior toy named Reptillus Maximus (Kevin McKidd).
Written and directed by Steve Purcell (“Brave”), the fast-moving half-hour would seem to owe a debt to a certain early “Star Trek” episode, thrusting Woody, Buzz and Rex into the roles of unlikely gladiators. Yet there are also some rather priceless bits worked into it — including a Christmas message, a sly “Star Wars” homage (“I find their lack of armor … disturbing”) and an adorable little toy called Angel Kitty, who spouts disarming lines of Hallmark-card wisdom.
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their familiar roles, but as with “Toy Story of Terror,” which centered on Jessie, they play a relatively minor role — one that impressively demonstrates the breadth and depth of the franchise’s bench.
Synergy is often overrated, but in this case, ABC’s connection to Disney yields obvious dividends, providing what should be a ratings boost, while ensuring “Toy Story” remains present in the minds of children — and not incidentally, those who buy them holiday gifts. (Disclosure: My wife works for a unit of Disney.)
Beyond such practical concerns, however, “Toy Story That Time Forgot” — which will be paired with the perennial “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — actually fulfills that time-honored tradition of delivering genuine family fare around the holidays. And for at least one night, anyway, the spirit of specials past has a friend in ABC.
by Brian Lowry / TV Columnist / Variety.com
December 1, 2014 | 09:00AM PT