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Toys To Life
Directed by Gary Trousdale
Kirk Wise
Produced by Christopher Woodrow
Screenplay by Irene Mecchi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
Story by Gary Trousdale
Kirk Wise
Irene Meechi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
Starring Owen Laramore
Ella Anderson
Will Arnett
Idina Menzel
Catherine O'Hara
Drew Barrymore
James Corden
Jenny Slate
Jimmy Fallon
Music by John Powell
Edited by Andy Keir
Production
companies
Paramount Animation
Nickelodeon Movies
Worldview Entertainment
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date October 28, 2020
Running time 82 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $198 million


Toys To Life is a 2020 American computer animation comedy film produced by Paramount Animation, Nickelodeon Movies, and Worldview Entertainment (as its first animated film) the film was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, produced by Christopher Woodrow, and written by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. The film features the voices of Owen Laramore, Ella Anderson Jimmy Fallon, Jenny Slate, Will Arnett, Idina Menzel, Catherine O'Hara, Drew Barrymore, and James Corden.

Toys To Life was released on October 28, 2020 in the United States by Paramount Pictures. The film received generally positive reviews and grossed $198 million at the box office. Toys To Life was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It is the first installment in the Toys To Life franchise, being followed by three sequels: Toys To Life 2, Toys To Life 3, and Toys To Life 4 on March 25, 2023, March 9, 2026, and March 17, 2029.

Plot

In Toytown, a dimension inhabited by anthropomorphic talking toys, John Playskool, the father of a 15 year old girl named Rebecca is a oddball tour guide at the Toytown Museum. His troopers, Ian the lion, Tina the train, Ouch the giant pillow penguin, Ribbit the frog, and Robone the robot dog attend. Anji the Christmas ornament and her students are the only regular visitors, although most of them (except Anji, and a toy truck named Little Spence and her best friend Mousey the toy pink elephant) find the museum a boring and insensitive place, and are condescending toward John. Rebecca, who is also bored, wants to experience the world, but John worries this can lead to her missing out on her childhood. His troopers and Murray, the king of Toytown and a Bionicle-like toy, have faith in John.

One day, John and his troopers learn from Murray that the museum is to close due to its lack of money and declining popularity. Snake, Murray's bigger sister, plots to both turn the museum into a haunted house the next week. With the weekend to spare, John and his troopers head out to find a new exhibit called the Lava Lamp of Amazement to save the museum and make John be the king, with help from a commando unit of four red monkeys named Ronald, Krasinski, Brad, and Creeko. They find the Lava Lamp of Amazement, which they hope will attract costumers, but it turns out to be smaller. John and his troopers despairingly return to Toytown with the small Lava Lamp of Amazement. Murray gathers the crowd for questions when Toytown will see the lamp. John is reluctant, fearing everyone seeing the lava lamp's small size would jeopardize the museum's future and his career. Snake, desperate to get her haunted house, kicks John out of the museum after Rebecca accidently destroys an Argentinosaurus skeleton while climbing it.

John and his troopers encounter his snap bead-made snake friend Ken the Color Worm (Ken for short). John's troopers build a projector that enlarges anything small, including the lamp. They get to the museum and enlarge the lamp. Snake tries to convince them John's plan would fool the public, but Murray and Rebecca see it as the way to save the museum. Crushed and jealous, Snake foils John's plan by pouring a latte on the projector, causing it to explode. Snake claims the incident was John's fault. John addresses the crowd outside, saying the museum is to close forever. He reveals the lamp's small size to the crowd. Outraged at her father's deception, Rebecca abandons him, while the crowds storm off in disappointment.

John discovers that the small lava lamp reveals a pitcogram when turned to the light, and realizes the inscription: when help up to the sun, the small lava lamp is actually a map to the real lava lamp. Having a change of heart about Rebecca, John reveals his new discovery to Rebecca, who immediately reconciles with him. John, Rebecca, and his troopers find the real Lava Lamp of Amusement. When they return, Snake is about to shut down the museum, but John arrives and successfully convinces Murray that the lava lamp is real. The lava lamp is finally put in the museum, which goes back in business and becomes more successful than ever. The toys praise John as a hero. John decrees the museum is to permanently stay open. A new kids' zone is opened, funded by Ken and his inventions. Despite being distraught over not getting her haunted house, Snake gets a job as the valet and finds joy in her brother finally being proud of her. John allows Rebecca to have fun, having come to terms with Rebecca taking care of herself.

Cast

  • Owen Laramore as John Playskool, a blue snowboarder action figure and Rebecca's overprotective father who is a tour guide at the Toytown Museum and the soon-to-be king of Toytown.
  • Ella Anderson as Rebecca Playskool, John's 15-year-old daughter.
  • Will Arnett as Ian, a smart-talking toy lion and one of John's troopers.
  • Idina Menzel as Tina, a toy train and one of John's troopers.
  • Catherine O'Hara as Ouch, a pillow-sized toy penguin resembling a Dachshund who is one of John's troopers. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was set to voice the character, but eventually departed the project.
  • Drew Barrymore as Ribbit, a ball-shaped toy frog and one of John's troopers.
  • James Corden as Robone, a robotic dog and one of John's troopers.
  • Jenny Slate as Snake, a Bionicle toy and Murray's sister who intends to replace the museum with a haunted house. Snake was supposed to be male, but the producers were displeased with this idea and made her a female.
  • Jimmy Fallon as Murray, a Bionicle toy and Snake's sister and the king of Toytown.
  • Brooklynn Prince and Ana Ortiz as Little Spence and Mamo, two Tonka trucks who are mother and daughter.
  • Sarah Vowell as Mousey, a 2-inch-tall elephant toy and Little Spence's best friend.
  • Warwick Davis as Ken the Color Worm, a snake made of snap beads and is an inventor.
  • The Red Monkeys:
    • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Ronald
    • Jim Cummings as Krasinski
    • Benedict Wong as Brad
    • Frank Welker as Creeko
  • Annie Potts as Anji, a Christmas ornament who is a teacher.
  • John DiMaggio as John's cab driver

Reception

Box office

Toys To Life opened on October 27, 2020 in the United States and was projected to gross anywhere around $40--45 million in its opening weekend. As of March 23, 2021, the film has grossed $93 million in North America and $105 million internationally, for a total of $198 million worldwide.

Critical response

Toys To Life received generally positive reviews from film critics, who praised its animation, screenplay, humor, voice acting, and musical score. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 75% approval rating based on 239 reviews. The consensus reads, "With an all-star voice cast and colorful animation, Toys To Life marks a successful animated co-production between Paramount Pictures and Worldview Entertainment". It is the series' highest-rated film on the site, and often considered the best film in the series. On Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, the film has a score of 67 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.