Monday, February 4, 2013


***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Toys – 1 out of 5

I haven’t seen this 1992 film since, well, the early 90s. I remember it being on HBO all the time when it came out and since I was a dorky kid with no real friends, I remember watching it a lot and enjoying it for the sole reason of Robin Williams being in it. Years have passed and I’ve grown older and I thought I would revisit the film and see how good it really was—because I’m not going to trust my younger self because I was a stupid kid. I use to listen to M.C. Hammer…actually, I still listen to M.C. Hammer.

Suddenly Jack doesn't seem like that bad of a film.

Toys is a attempted fantasy film that seems fueled on hallucinogens about a toy factory that sees the owner and creator die and hand over the business to his brother, a militant…um…military man by the name of Lt. General Leland Zevo (Michael Gambon) and not the logical choice of his eccentric son who had the same odd mentality and love of child’s playthings; Leslie Zevo (Robin Williams). Leland quickly wants to do away with the awe and wonder of the factory and start producing more war-themed and dangerous toys with the help of his adopted son; Captain Patrick Zevo (LL Cool J). Now Leslie, his sister Alsatia (played by the Cusack that normally isn’t filmed in the rain; Joan) and Jen-nay from Forrest Gump (Robin Wright) are the only ones who can get to the bottom of it all and bring back the whimsy to the shop…and go back to making boring, shitty toys and not something cool like some Xbox 360’s or action figures but when you see that the factory is like an uninspired version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, can you blame them for making lame toys?

Lame Wonka factory or possible Batman villain lair?

Director Barry Levinson (you might have heard of him, he did Good Morning, Vietnam—also starring Williams—and the superhero movie about the man who could create and control torrential downpours; Rain Man) was at the helm for this film…although you would never notice it because the film is just a mess with no real direction going with its plot. I’m shocked that my younger self did know this but, I once again admit, my younger self was a moron. I mean, even though I knew I could never shoot the dog in Duck Hunt I always tried.

Someday, you son-of-a-bitch...someday.

"Toys...that's the future of warfare."
Despite the story being about the General taking over the company, the movie becomes a mess as Robin Wright’s character is brought in for no other reason than to be a love interest to Robin Williams’ incredibly creepy character (who’s passes at Wright are enough to warrant the man the “creepy” label by nearly all women but, then again, his father did own the company so that translates into dollars and woman can look beyond things such as creepy behavior, weight and potential rapist vibes to get that sweet cash).  Also the film fumbles with the fact that there’s no real focus on the General’s decision to make war toys other than “for the hell of it” for most of the movie until it ultimately boils down to “military purposes.” Add to it  that you don’t really see much of this covert stuff with the small exception of some montages about needing more space to develop and a few talking points about what’s being built in the “super secret area” all the while a poorly developed love story gets developed and a lackluster development of sibling camaraderie with Alsatia and Leslie goes on it shows the filmmakers weren't paying attention when they were making it. It’s kinda like the ones responsible for the script starting writing one story and saw a squirrel before coming back and found he wrote something else. Then they said “fuck it” and turned it in.

"I just go in the corner here..."

The plot is a mess but the lack of character development and overall lack of compelling and interesting characters is harder to forgive. Like I said, Robin Williams comes off more creepy than funny (and not even funny creepy) but it’s like the rest of the cast saw how little their characters are cared about in the script and decided to respond in kind. Robin Wright comes off just odd as her character shows no consistency, Gambon is a generic militant badguy, LL Cool J continues to prove that making the jump to acting might have been a bad decision and Joan Cusack is too busy being Joan Cusack to probably even notice the camera was on. But, on an interesting note, Jaime Foxx is in the film and despite having an incredibly small part, is giving a credit during the film’s opening.

Technically speaking he is unchained here...

"Fuck this...I'm going back to Cali."
Finally, some of the film’s action scenes (yes, there are actions scenes) are really sloppily put together and come off as damn near impossible to watch. In an effort to stop Lt. General Zevo’s war toys (that are hunting the protagonists) they utilize the company’s old toys to battle the monstrosities. Watching crappy wind-up toys gets blown apart by missile totting toy tanks can, at times, be heartbreaking to see (as in as heartbreaking as see that Ewok try to wake up the dead Ewok in Return of the Jedi…that shit is just sad) and it provides some commentary about how innocent times are gone (did you catch how I noted the toys the company made were lame? That’s because I’m not from that innocent time where clapping along to a monkey with cymbals was considered a fun time with a toy) and, in their place are more violent obsessed times but when the action sequences are blurry slow-motion shots that look more like one big motion blur than carnage, it’s hard to appreciate the symbolism or the pretty explosions.

Pictured:  Great action sequenced.

Toys is one of those movies that a person can easily cite when you’re having an argument about whether Robin Williams is funny or not (those debates are a daily thing right?) but it wasn’t just Williams responsible for how bad this movie was.
It was the wire holding that elephant.  That damn thing is entirely responsible
for the mistakes made in this movie.

Literally nothing works in this film. Sure there are some things going for it as there are some amusing moments (and you can create some more by making fun of the film) but the movie just feels like a disorganized mess—like a broken Transformer you bought from a flea market and didn’t realize it was broke until you tried to transform it from its robot form to its vehicle form when you got home and spent nearly an hour trying to figure out the damn until you black out from rage and when you come to days later have found all the glassware in your house and windows smashed and several bodies of unconscious people who wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time on your floor that were bludgeoned with the broken toy—I HATE YOU WEEKEND FLEA MARKET!!!! THAT TRANSFORMER COST ME 50 CENTS!!!!

I’m sorry…I kinda went on a tangent there. Where was I? Oh yeah, Toys

This movie could have been great as some of the symbolism was cool (and we’ll just ignore that I got angry trying to transform a toy that could have easily been one of the General’s war toys…or maybe I was making a point, I said ominously) but a lack of any real humor (this actually could have been a great dark comedy), no real developed characters and a messy plot—and the fact that there’s a slug monster that never truly gets shown in all its glory—
Why was this creature not the center of this film?

Toys ends up being a disappointment that, for some reason, my younger self would watch when it was on. But that’s because my younger self was a freaking imbecile…actually, after the flea market, I’m thinking I haven’t outgrown that fact.

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