Posted by: Mad Ness Monster | 06/27/2009

“Jim Henson’s ‘the Christmas Toy'” review

(11/24/03)

Raise your mug of cocoa if you’re lucky enough to remember this one.

This was the most adorable of the many Muppet holiday specials from the 80’s. Getting a new one used to be an annual event. I’m lucky enough to have a collection of them.
(And, in fact, I was going to review “Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas” as well, but… Well, at this age [And there IS such a thing as a Quarter-Life Crisis; you ever read Douglas Copeland?] I couldn’t really get over the fact that, although everything works out in the end, the message you get from the scene with the biggest impact is this: “Well-meaning, good-hearted, poor misfits are no match for rich a-holes. Merry Christmas.”)
“Christmas Toy” is about a plushy tiger who’s a tad bit confused about the true meaning of Christmas. Trust me, it’s a million times better than it sounds. Mostly because, as in “the Brave Little Toaster” and -of course- the “Toy Story” series, the older insentient objects are jealous of the newer ones. Furthermore, Rugby Tiger thinks Christmas is all about him. And there’s a world of risk involved in the toys coming to life.
“Christmas Toy” is actually pretty dark. Doesn’t life kind of suck for the toys? If you’re a toy in this story, you can come to life and talk and play and stuff. But if the humans catch you doing things polyester and fiberfill isn’t supposed to be able to do, you DIE! Of course, they don’t outright *call* it dying, but the point is clear. And it happens to a major character during the course of the movie, but he’s brought back to life through singing. So… is this song magic? Does it work anytime or only on Christmas? Shouldn’t they write the words down somewhere? But what if a human were to find them?
I have a headache. Ah, screw the plot holes, let’s instead recall how BAD-ASS Meteora is.

The Best Parts:
2 minutes in – Was I the only kid who was (still is, frankly) a little freaked out by this scenario?
3 minutes in – MONKEY!!! DRAGON!!!
4 minutes in – I can’t stand these kids already.
7 minutes in – Yeah, you’d think Rugby’d be going crazy on the catnip.
9 minutes in – (In a smarmy voice) “And I don’t want you to be jealous (that Christmas is all about me). It would be very hard not to be.” – Rugby (Wow.)
14 minutes in – DEAD TOY!!! Noooooooooooo!!!!!
15 minutes in – Sounds like the margarine commercial couple at home.
18 minutes in – Somebody is hella-confused.
23 minutes in – I want to kick Jessie and Jamie (especially Jamie) in the head.
26 minutes in – Okay, the Joneses appear to be very light sleepers. Remember that during these next scenes.
27 minutes in – METEORA!!!!! Hell yeah!!!
29 minutes in – Ohhh, snap! Maybe Hobbes should smack some sense into this kid?
31 minutes in – See, look how long that took!
34 minutes in – Now this is the BEST scene, but I want to see the toys try to fool the humans into thinking this was just the cat too.
43 minutes in – Hey, he’s like Buffy! “I was safe and I was loved…”
47 minutes in – Mewtwo?!? Then any logical sequel should have him kicking everybody’s ass with his psychic powers!
48 minutes in – Woah, doesn’t that raise a lot of questions?

Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“It was terrible! Worse then the time I got put in the washing machine!” – Mew

~*~ Poetry Corner ~*~
“If we can play with girls and boys / Then it only makes sense for toys to play with toys!!!” – the cast

“I’ll always remember how everyone cheered / that wonderful moment yours truly appeared! / Open the ribbon and on with the show! / Could anyone ever love anyone so? / No Christmas tree ever felt so tall / I was the greatest Christmas toy of all!!!” – Rugby

“There’s a wise and simple lesson / when the lights are growing dim. / Just take the word ‘Impossible’ / and throw away the ‘Im’!” – Belmont

“I am THRILLING!!! / Meteora!!! / And my glow outshines the planets near and far!!!” – Meteora, Queen of the Asteroids

Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Jack-in-the-boxes hate their jobs.
* – Barbie needs to get a damn clue.
* – Your toys talk about you when you’re not around. Creepy.

Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures?
Muppets!
Good Soundtrack? Yes.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? Uh, it’s a hallway and a living room.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Yes.

Drinking Game Potential? Drink when Rugby has a flashback to last Christmas. Drink when you see little random remote controlled or wind-up toys in the background, and drink again when they crash into each other.

Head Movie Potential? Muppets! ‘Nuff said.

Rating: Joey rating (bestest)
Muppets!!! Anything classic Muppet rates a Donnie by default, but this one gets a Joey! WOOOH!!!

Credits
A Jim Henson Film made in 1986, and released on home video in association with Walt Disney Productions. Written by Laura Phillips, songs by Jeff Moss and directed by Eric Till.
Cast (puppetry and voices)
Dave “Gonzo” Goelz, Steve “Wembly” Whitmire, Kathryn “Mokey” Mullen, Jerry “Waldorf (or Satler)” Nelson, and Camille “Meteora” Bonora.
Related Links:
IMDB page
Muppet Wiki page
ToughPigs review – With a very interesting interpretation of the whole “Frozen Forever” thing.

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