Charlie B. Barker and Itchy Ford are back with Sasha and the gang having a Dicken's of a time as they try to save Christmas from Carface and an evil spirit that wishes to use dogs all over ... See full summary »
An animated, musical version of Mark Twain's classic novel about the adventures of Tom Sawyer, along with his friends Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher. While spending most of his days avoiding ... See full summary »
When Timmy is taken away to Thorn Valley, he is treated like a slave. Then, after finding a girl mouse, a mouse who's parents are captured, they set off to find the great owl. Little do ... See full summary »
The first wedding anniversary of Princess Odette and Prince Derek is distracted by field fires set by Knuckles. His master Clavius, wants to conquer the world, and he needs to capture a ... See full summary »
The Evil Queen is dead and Snow White is on her way to see the 7 dwarves when Lord Maliss, the Queen's brother, sees her in the looking glass. He attacks her in the form of a dragon, taking... See full summary »
Approaching his second birthday, Baby is still quite a handful for his long-suffering sister and parents. He's very demanding, hard to put to sleep, and they can't take their eyes off him ... See full summary »
It's 2 days before Christmas, and the Toyland Toy Factory has just received its biggest order ever. But the evil Barnaby, who doesn't believe in toys, has plans to shut the factory down and spoil the holiday for everyone. Now it's up to Toyland's most recent arrivals, young Jack & his sister Jill, to help their newfound friends Tom Piper, Mary Lamb, Humpty Dumpty, and the rest of Toyland stop Barnaby's plot and save Christmas! Written by
James Drury <email@example.com>
This was originally intended by MGM to be a theatrical release for 1996, but had been delayed because of the commercial failure of All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 (1996), and eventually released straight to video in 1997. See more »
Are you Tom's girlfriend?
I'm his boss.
But... I think she'd rather be my girlfriend.
Right, when cats play fiddles.
[a cat playing "Here come the bride" to a newly wed plate and spoon with his fiddle]
Ha ha ha ha ha ha, what do you know, he's playing our song.
See more »
I was originally introduced to the "Babes in Toyland" concept via the Walt Disney soundtrack, which had the story and song, in Kindergarten. I liked the record a lot, but when I finally saw the Disney production it was based on when I was 8...well, I was horribly disappointed. It was stupid, spoofy, had lousy acting and was just plain awful. I wasn't surprised to learn that it was one of Walt's flops and was considered one of his worst failures.
So, having had the concept ruined for me for a long time, I was not exactly enthusiastic when I was visiting my mother at Christmas and she recommended it to me. I said no way, as I was guessing it would stink as badly as the Disney version only worse (they just aren't making animated films well here in the USA these days).
"No, you've got to see this one," she assured me. "I saw it just the other night and it puts the Disney production to shame."
Being a professional cartoonist, I tend to be extremely picky about new animated material. So I was very suspicious as I settled myself into a chair and waited to see what I was in store from as I feared the worst.
What I got was a fantastic surprise! This version of "Babes in Toyland" is genuinely charming, boasts nice animation and superb songs which actually WORK without being overly "showy" (the only bummer being the song sung in The Goblin Forest), fine character design and captures a special childlike magic and innocence that Disney's version simply never achieved.
While Disney's was a bunch of adults who refused to take any of the material seriously and hammed it up through a shoddy production attached to a smirk, this one is smart and serious with its characters. It also features good character development (!!!) and a better script.
Not being familiar with the original stage production, I'm not sure how much liberty has been taken here although I'm sure a lot has. Except for the classic songs "Toyland" and "March of The Toy Soldiers" and the basic concept of Toyland being a home for nursery rhyme characters, the villain Barnaby and a love story between a Tom and Mary, it is otherwise COMPLETELY dissimilar to the Disney version of the story.
In this one, Jack and Jill (you know, "Jack and Jill went up the hill...") are being sent to Toyland to live with their uncle, who unfortunately happens to be Barnaby. Mary (and her little lamb) is the sweet, professional and kindhearted owner of Toyland's prized toy factory inherited from her father. Her top employee and main man in charge, Tom (the piper's son, who looks a LOT of Leonardo DiCaprio--I'd swear he was the character model if it weren't for the fact that this was made before TITANIC) is the loveable lunk of a genius who happens to be a personal friend of Santa Claus himself and is responsible for creating the toys to order and preparing them for delivery. Tom is crazy about Mary, Mary is crazy about him as well but isn't willing to admit it to herself yet.
One of the things that is especially nice here is how the characters actually come across as being believable souls, and the script features all the little details as to why they feel and behave the way they do, such as Mary's comments which give away why she is so secretly smitten with Tom. (She affectionately remarks to him, "You're becoming more and more like my father all the time.")
All except for Barnaby, of course... but hey, he's a villain who simply hates toys, does a children's cartoon NEED a detailed explanation for HIM? This version of Barnaby is far more threatening and sinister than Disney's klunky version ever pretended to be.
But the wonderful thing about this one is how it captures a real feel for Toyland itself and what it could be like. I get the impression that everyone involved here had a lot of fun making it and that they all genuinely loved the concept enough to make it work. Toyland feels like a real place with real citizens, so to speak, and it truly does look like a child's fantasy come true.
And hey, this feature actually makes children AND their parents genuinely *care* about the fate of Toyland when it's harassed. As though it's a real and beautifully precious place.
That's not an easy feat to pull off.
This one has become a annual holiday favorite within my household, and our children (who range from ages 5 to 15) all adore it. And so do I. It deserves a long life on both videocassette and DVD (if the latter is ever released...and I certainly hope so!).
While I was able to recognize all the traditional characters from nursery rhymes and stories here, there's one that puzzles me... in the toy factory, one of the workers there appears to be a silver fox...well, at least he's far too sleek-looking and pointy-muzzled to be a wolf. I simply don't recognize who he's supposed to be!
10 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?