Sure, this is a great for Halloween watching, complete with a cheesy black-and-white Saturday drive-in style movie (love that puff of smoke!), but it’s also year round fun for Toy Story fans, as it could be thought of as an unofficial “sequel" to Toy Story. Many of the characters introduced in that film are here again, and they get more screen time, like Mr. Pricklepants, the self-appointed movie expert (you can almost see Marshall McLuhan making a cameo to contradict him, á la Annie Hall).
The 22 minutes focus mostly on Jessie, which is welcome. She’s a character with a lot of layers and audience empathy. Who among would want to be shut into a suitcase or box? The others characters are supportive in their various ways. One just wants to watch them do things together for as long as possible.
In this story, they find themselves at a creepy old motel with a manager hiding creepy secrets, but don’t worry about it being kid-friendly, it’s not Psycho, though nods to numerous suspense conventions abound. There’s a lot packed into this special.
The three Toy Story Toons included on the Blu-ray alone are worth having, since they in effect are follow-ups to the Toy Story films. Michael Keaton and Jodi Benson walk away with “Hawaiian Vacation,” Rex gets his time to shine in “Partysaurus Rex” (a stunner in high-def), and the characters have to grapple with their happy meal identities in “Small Fry.” Everything in this package is highly rewatchable.
The original movie voices are here, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack and Don Rickles, plus Carl Weathers voicing Combat Carl, a G.I. Joe type action figure with the fierce intensity of Liam Neeson (“Hurry! There’s no time!”) and the tendency to speak in third person like Regis Philbin likes to.