Toy Story of Terror is a half-hour animated short that brings back a handful of characters from the beloved Pixar franchise, including Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and Jessie (Joan Cusack) amongst others. The gang is on a trip with their new owner Bonnie and her mom, when suddenly they get a flat tire. Seems staying at a motel is the only option for the night, and as Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton) begins to detail the plot points of a horror film, the gang finds themselves becoming victim to the exact statements he’s making. As the story progresses, Jessie becomes the focal point of the short, and she meets some new toys that definitely highlight the second half of the episode. It’s up to the yodeling cowgirl this time to come to the rescue of her friends who have been toy-napped by a mysterious creature.
Toy Story of Terror really amazed me with how great the animation looked, even for a Pixar short. They could’ve easily cut back a bit, and it still would’ve been fine, but no, not here. A lot of the episode takes place in the dark (as it should), but the use of the atmosphere fits the terror theme, as it should.
I would’ve like to have seen more toys from the movies, but I understand why they cut out so many. Mrs. Potato Head would’ve made the most essential addition, but I won’t split hairs; there’s a ton of new toys that are introduced halfway in, and Combat Carl (played by a Carl actually, Carl Weathers!), who gets a brief verbal cameo in the original Toy Story is a major player behind Jessie’s helping of her friends. There’s also a in-joke about Carl having a smaller sized doppelganger, a nod to G. I. Joe that put me in stitches.
There are a couple other toys too, and Legos finally make an appearance in the Toy Story world! There’s also a great gag with a pez dispenser, and Jessie also comes to the aid of a toy that has a name change due to licensing rights, but it no less hysterical. If you are a child of the 80s, you will recognize this toy immediately. When I saw him, I died. Well played, Pixar. Well played.
If I had any problem with Toy Story of Terror, I felt that the antagonist was a bit too similar to a character from Toy Story 2 (trying to avoid spoilers), but with that said, the short was definitely a lot of fun. The first fifteen minutes set up what is a hilarious second half and it was nice to see a different Toy Story character get a chance to be front and center.
I can imagine this short definitely becoming a traditional Halloween watch for yours truly, and just like I did with the other Toy Story short, ”Small Fry,” I want all the new toys that were featured. A truly hilarious little piece of the universe we’ve come to know and love, Toy Story of Terror was a scary good time.