By Cameron Hatheway
Two toys enter, one toy leaves. Last Tuesday saw the premiere of the latest Toy Story short on ABC, Toy Story That Time Forgot. Only 22-minutes long, the holiday themed episode focuses on Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the usual suspects encountering a tribe of dinosaur warrior toys that don't know that they are toys—much like Buzz in the first Toy Story film. It's up to Trixie (Kristen Schaal) the triceratops to try and convince her fellow dinosaur toys to release her friends and save the day.
Much like the other television special that aired last October, Toy Story of Terror!, Woody and Buzz aren't the stars, but rather a part of the supporting cast. Jessie (Joan Cusack) was dealing with claustrophobia/abandonment issues in Toy Story of Terror!, and in Toy Story That Time Forgot it's Trixie undergoing an existential crisis about her dinosaur self. Her owner Bonnie (Emily Hahn) plays with Trixie as if she's a baby reindeer, an upset coffee shop patron, or even a goblin fairy: everything but a dinosaur.
When Bonnie takes her toys over to a friend's for a playdate, the toys meet the Battlesaurs, dinosaur gladiators who enjoy nothing more than fighting each other. The leader Reptillus Maximus (Kevin McKidd) falls for Trixie, for she's different from the rest, but the sinister Cleric (Steve Purcell) doesn't trust Bonnie's toys and makes sure they shuffle off their mortal coils in the battle arena. The Battlesaurs don't know that they are toys because their owner Mason got a state-of-the-art video game system for Christmas, and only got so far as unwrapping their packaging. Left to their own devices, the Battlesaurs set up their own colony and routinely force Mason's other toys to fight to the death.
It was enjoyable seeing Trixie and Rex (Wallace Shawn) as the leads for the special, interacting with their fellow dinosaur brethren. They even get their own armor and attachments to help fit-in with the Battlesaurs, with Rex's metal arms reminding me a bit of Robert Kirkman & Jason Howard's Super Dinosaur comic book. In the end Trixie feels better about her role with Bonnie, and the results are heartwarming in typical Disney fashion.
The Battlesaurs are figurines I would have loved playing with growing up: they're gladiators with awesome armor and weapons who just so happen to be dinosaurs. Shut up and take my money! As it turns out, the figurines are exclusively available at Walmart, which aired a commercial alerting me to this fact before the end of the special. After seeing that commercial, a part of me was slightly annoyed that I was essentially watching a 22-minute commercial. But at the same time, bravo to Disney and Walmart for taking advantage of both my inner 6-year-old and the fact that Christmas is right around the corner. After further searching online, no Reptillus Maximus action figures can be found at Walmart's site, but are available for purchase at Amazon.
Toy Story That Time Forgot was just as enjoyable as Toy Story of Terror!, if not more so. With Toy Story 4 coming out June 16, 2017, it's great that Disney & Pixar keep producing these television shorts to keep our interest in the franchise alive. With a Halloween special and now a Christmas-esque special, I can only guess what the next special will revolve around: Black Friday? Bonnie's birthday? Perhaps a Marvel crossover of some sort involving Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man? The possibilities are endless.