Rated: PG-13 Reviewed by: Chris Release date: December 18, 1992 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
This movie is hard to describe. It's a feast of special effects and delightful sights and sounds.
On his deathbed, toy factory owner (Donald O'Connor) leaves his business to his whacko brother, Leland Zevo (Michael Gambon - PBS's Maigret series) because his daughter (Joan Cusack) lives in a world of her own and his son, Leslie (Robin Williams) is not responsible enough.
The factor produces cute bright colored pull toys adorable wind-up dolls and novelty gags and every worker is so happy to be here, they dance and sway to music as they work.
The sets are marvelous. It's as if a great big pop-up book is placed in front of you and every page is chock full of incredible sights. Adult-sized doll house rooms, toy bumper cars to ride in and beds made out of huge mechanical ducks - what a swell place to be!
That is, until Leland and his camouflage-expert son (rapper, LL Cool J) move in and decide to make war toys. They design small remote-controlled tanks and helicopters that shoot real bullets. The climax is a full-blown war between the good and evil toys. The PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the fighting between the toys, which will probably upset young children.
All the actors are good, especially Cusack, who's pert and doll-like; she dresses up in large prototype paper doll clothes to decide which outfits will be the big sellers. Williams surprisingly underplays his part. He could have easily gone over the top with this childish character.
Barry Levinson (Good Morning Vietnam) directs this anti-war-themed film with terrific computer and video graphics. Every scene is inventive and interesting and the combination of march/rap music that is prominent adds a crazed Babes In Toyland - like atmosphere.
Toys mixes weird, amazing, silly and awesome. Leslie's father's epitaph says "May Joy and Innocence Prevail" and with movies like this, it is doing its best to keep that promise.