Just in time for the Christmas season, Toy Story That Time Forgot, Pixar’s first Christmas special comes to Blu-ray. But is this special really anything special?
The Film ✮✮✮
Presented to audiences as a “Christmas Special,” the film actually has little to do with Christmas at all (apart from the Angle Kitty decoration and Bonnie’s home being filled with Christmas decorations); however, if that’s the premise we needed to get this new Toy Story iteration, then so be it. The majority of the special gives us a look at the Battlesaurs, a fearsome fighting breed of dinosaur toys that have Trixie captivated.
Trixie, having grown up in a mostly improv household with Bonnie, realizes she’s not meeting her full potential as a dinosaur. When other toys get selected to play dinosaur parts, that’s the last straw. But, one day, Bonnie gets invited to her friend’s house for a play date. However, her friend – Mason – is no longer interested in toys, but instead plays video games all day. Bonnie tosses her toys aside and begins to spend the day vegging out in front of the console with Mason. This is when Trixie and the toy gang meet the Reptillus and the rest of the Battlesaurs and immediately start suiting up for battle. While Trixie is busy flirting with Reptillus, a muscly, hunky dino, Buzz and Woddy are taken hostage by some of the other Battlesaurs.
Overall, the short is cute and it’s fun to see the Toy Story characters back on our screens. However, the story feels flat and trite, rehashing the same conflict Buzz encountered in the first film: toys not realizing they are toys. That being said I still enjoyed the wildly creative and fun Battlesaurs, from their ’90s rockin’ theme song to their overdeveloped action figure muscles.
Bonus Features ✮✮✮✮
Pixar delivers again in the bonus feature department even though this is just a 22-minute TV special. Based on the amount of extra goodies on this release, one would think this was a feature-length film. The extra effort and time Pixar puts into its releases is what one of many reasons why this studio stands out above the rest.
- Reptillus! – This behind-the-scenes segment focuses on the design, personality, and development of the special’s breakout star Reptillus Maximus. The filmmakers also talk about the origins origins of the Battlesaurs’ world and culture.
- Commentary – Check this one off the list of “Blu-ray bonus feature must haves.” We are treated to an excellent commentary with director, Steve Purcell, and head of story, Derek Thompson. You’ll learn new tidbits and insights about the special that you won’t get anywhere else.
- Toy Story Goes to Comic-Con – Comic-Con seems to be something all studios try to do nowadays to promote their films. Back in 2014, Toy Story That Time Forgot was no exception. Follow the team to San Diego as they unveil the project to the public for the first time, led by their own longtime Comic-Con veterans, director Steve Purcell and head of story Derek Thompson.
- My Unexpected Friend – This is an interesting bonus feature that consists of two 80s-inspired karaoke tracks for the song “My Unexpected Friend.” One is Reptillus singing the song and the other is a track for the viewer to sing. Reptillus’s song is so bizarre, long, and drawn out, it’s hard to get into it. I’m not going to lie: it was weird.
- Battlesaurs Animated Opening – Anyone who grew up in the ’80s or ’90s will get a kick out of this 2D animated opening sequence for the fictional animated TV series, ‘Battlesaurs.’ This theme song was part of a deleted scene (which you can see in its storyboard form in the deleted scenes section of the bonus features), but Pixar took the time to animate sequence and bring it to life. After seeing this, I really want to see ‘Battlesaurs’ on the airwaves now.
- Deleted Scenes with Intros & Outros – And, of course, what Blu-ray wouldn’t be complete without some deleted scenes? Here we get five different scenes, each introduced by director, Steve Purcell:
- “Battlesaurs’ Christmas”
- “Light of Play”
- “Prisoners of Bone”
- “Trixie’s Proposal”
It’s no question for Toy Story fans that the Toy Story That Time Forgot Blu-ray is a must own. However, for everyone else, it might be worth picking up. While the story may be a bit familiar, the fantastic new cast of over-the-top characters and excellent bonus features make it worthwhile.
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes