Happy Birthday Toys! The sweet little film from the 90s finally celebrates its silver anniversary and it’s time to give it the respect it deserves. It is a fun movie, full of great visuals, and heartwarming moments and doesn’t deserve the negative reputation it has garnished.
A Forgotten Wonderland
The best way to sell someone on the movie Toys if they haven’t had a chance watched it is by comparing the film to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The viewer sees a bit of the real world here and there, but once you are inside the factory of Zevo Toys, you are transported to a land straight out of a dream. The sets are full of color and highly designed in a way which makes a person wish they could apply for a job at the company.
The most recognizable attraction of this film is Robin Williams as he plays manchild who seems right at home in the world the film portrays. This is not to downplay the importance of performances by LL Cool J, Michael Gambon, or Joan Cusack in any ways. The entire cast helps to present characters who seem right at home in the world which opens up in Toys.
There is also the underlying aspect of how the film can be applied to modern times. The film’s antagonist wishes to make military toys and by the end of the film produces an army of attack drones. Given how prevalent drones became in modern culture, it’s impossible not to miss this type of foreshadowing.
It really is important to give the film the appreciation it deserves. The movie resulted in director Barry Levinson receiving a Razzie Nomination (They also gave nominations to The Bodyguard and Newsies so not exactly the best year in there book). It also currently holds an unnecessary 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not a film which offends the audience and talks down to them. Instead it tries to reward them for having imaginations and enjoying a bit of whimsy.
If not just to honor the late great Robin Williams, this film is a fantastic little ride through some engrossing sets and costume designs. Watch if for yourself and if you enjoy it head over to Rotten Tomatoes and help to raise the user score for the film. It’s pretty low as well.