Babes in Toyland (1986 TV Movie)
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Does anyone else remember the original, the song between Jack and Mary or Lisa singing before going in to the Forrest?
I think this needs to be re-released in its original form!
We bought the VHS a while back and saw the edits, I decided to watch on Netflix online and there has been other times when it just seems that something is missing, a skip or something so you know there is stuff missing.
My 9 year old LOVES the whole thing. The weird little beat up cars and leftover stuff they must of used from a closed amusement park. This looks like a episode of Puff N Stuff on a lower budget. I can certainly see how all the people who truly love this movie must of loved it when it first came out. Lets just say, if I didn't have a 9 year old, I would of clicked right by. :)
Needless to say he lasted 10 minutes but for me it brought back so many happy memories as I watched this film over and over when i was younger. I remember it being a little scary and also I was desperate to be Lisa!! (Drew Barrymores character).
Yes this had really bad acting etc but it is also very endearing and has some great moments in it.
I was also surprised I remembered the words to all the songs (so bad they were good lol). Give this film a go especially if you have kids :-)
The acting apart from Mulligan and Morita doesn't work. Eileen Brennan does a decent job with what she has, the problem is that she doesn't have much to do, so no matter how much she puts into it it wasn't worth the bother if the film wasn't going to use her talents well. Drew Barrymore, a promising child actress and has done a lot of great stuff(Grey Gardens and Ever After: A Cinderella Story), has some moments of cute charm but others where she was too syrupy, so it was more an uneven performance than a bad one. Keanu Reeves in an early role is handsome but very wooden with line delivery that is suggestive of him reading from a cue card. The script is uninspired, and the story- admittedly one of the weaker points of the Disney film and the operetta- has very little charm or wonder, partly because of the mix of real life and Toyland(and the whole only a dream premise), themes that seem rather mean-spirited for a fantasy/holiday film and also the unimaginatively staged musical numbers. It also comes across as far too stagy in a theatrical way, is at times ploddingly paced and can be overly cutesy and corny. Clive Donner's direction throughout is unimaginative and bland, it's sad to see a director who did such a great job with one of the best versions of A Christmas Carol two years previously directs with seemingly little interest or enthusiasm. Babes in Toyland has its moments(one really good song and two good performances especially) and has some curiosity value for Barrymore and Reeves early in their careers but overall it doesn't have a whole lot going for it. Stick with the Laurel/Hardy and Disney films instead. 4/10 Bethany Cox
But this third version is truly, truly amazing in its awfulness. It has no air of fantasy or magic whatsoever. It looks as if it had been filmed in a cheap theme park for very young children, rather than in a dazzling fantasy setting. The toy soldiers are simply men in costumes,not digitally animated,or stop-motion animated (as was done in the previous two versions). The acting is on the level of a kiddie school play, with Drew Barrymore at her most syrupy sweet. The Toyland story has been incongruously combined with a modern 1986 setting and turned into a dream (they don't even try to follow the original 1903 plot,but that really doesn't matter---the 1903 story was lousy to begin with).
But worst of all of the decisions, the one which belongs in the Hall of Infamy, is the decision to retain only the two best-known songs from the original score ("Toyland",and "March of the Toys") and replace them with new songs by Leslie Bricusse! This is the man who murdered the 1967 "Doctor Dolittle" and the 1969 "Goodbye,Mr. Chips" by providing them with perhaps the two worst scores written for a 1960's film musical. His songs (NOT the ones he wrote with his former partner,the late Anthony Newley) have become synonymous with bad movie musicals. The results in this film are truly excruciating-especially in comparison with the Victor Herbert-Glen MacDonough original score.
See this only if you're either curious or a movie-musical masochist.
Why'd I watch it? I found it laying around the house, it must of been stuck in the back of a closet for 13 years, and decided to give it a viewing before passing it on to charity.
It's bad medicine for anyone over the age of 10. Real bad.
1. They meant to give you another version of it--there are several, and all of them are better than this one.
2. They meant to give you another movie altogether and accidentally picked this one up.
3. It made its own way into a batch of tapes to be delivered, so it's not their fault.
4. They were misinformed about its quality.
5. They secretly hate your guts and want to torture you.
Conversely, if you know some parents of small children whose guts you hate, just give them a copy of this movie. You'll be giving your feelings towards them away, but they'll be stuck watching this movie for years on end.
Children love this movie. They LOVE this movie. But it's so very, very bad that after just one or two viewings you will have fantasies of tracking down the cast and crew and demanding compensation, at which they will get down on their knees and beg your forgiveness for their involvement in this hideous torture.
It really is that bad. The story is ludicrous. The "music" is excruciating (especially the "Cincinnati" song). The writing is beyond awful. The direction isn't even imaginatively bad (anyone could do as well, probably better). The costumes and sets are so bad they aren't even funny: you can see the zippers in the bear costumes--hilarious, no?
With all of this working against them, I almost feel sorry for the actors. Sure, they're bad, but there was no way they could be any good at all in this movie. You alternate between pity for them and anger at them for their participation in it. I just hope they needed the money or the credit or something.
And it lasts FOREVER. Most kids' movies only last an hour or so; this one goes on and on and on and on and on....
The fanatical devotion that it inspires in children is frightening. Kids have no taste; this is the proof. To be avoided at all costs.
It is not so bad it is good. They ruined the whole thing. It felt like stale Christmas cookies or icky holiday candy way past it's expiration date. if you like this movie you know nothing about the origins of the story. even the uninspired Charles Nelson Riley version has more to offer than this cheap slapped- together rush job. It looks like it was put together with scotch tape and paper and filmed in a trailer park and those stupid go-carts look like they came from a supermarket carnival.
Instead of feeling Christmas cheer when I watched this, I just got depressed and wanted to kill somebody. I like Reeves and Barrymore as actors, but after this it took me a long time to be able to handle watching them again. This film should only be viewed by the terminally dull and unimaginative. Those people will probably like it.
All the versions of 'Toyland' can be a little cheesy, but they're fun. This ain't cheese it's poison. Even Ed wood would know better than to attempt this eye-sore of a movie. Yuk! I did'nt know production design could be so ugly, and that song, it gives Cincinnati a bad name.
The sets are hideous. Imagine the most boring and spartan buildings you can picture painted various shades of pink and purple, and you've got Toyland. Even the giant shoe the old woman used to live in manages to be boring.
The characters (most of whom are flat and dull) seem to spend most of their time running around and getting nothing of value done. For example, Jack gets thrown into jail, gets broken out of jail, and promptly gets himself trapped by the villain. Ample screen time is spent showing the characters running around town in kiddie cars instead of advancing the plot.
The movie hands out promises like it's Christmas and breaks every one of them. For example, George Porgie says that Barnaby occasionally rolls his bowling-ball-shaped house into town. You'd expect that to be foreshadowing for the film's climax, right? Nope, it never happens. Lisa attempts to play matchmaker between Barnaby and Mrs. Hubbard, something you'd expect to pay off SOMEHOW by the end of the film. It doesn't, unless you count a cheap joke to be a payoff. The Dark Forest is mentioned several times, leading you to think the characters might end up having to go into it, but in fact, they never leave town. The Toymaker hints that Barnaby could be redeemed... but in the end, he just gets banished to the forest.
A particularly ridiculous aspect was how Lisa, who frequently complains that she's "not a child," must learn to use her imagination again and "believe." However, up until the end of the film there is no real indication that Lisa isn't imaginative; whenever she insists that she's no longer a child she is clearly doing so because she does not want to be perceived as incompetent or incapable based on the fact that she's 11. Bucking against ageism and refusing to use one's imagination are not the same thing, which this film unfortunately implies.
As far as charming holiday specials go, this movie is not one of them.
Nice visual effects and simple plot. Not the most exciting movie, though, but still an innocent, family-friendly film that is nice to watch over the holidays.
The whole thing is nonsensical, which is the point, except that as a six year old child, I knew the whole thing was stupid. I can't recall ever having seen a children's movie this bad.
To sum up, what I distinctly remember from the movie is that it gave me a fear of dark places for the longest time, and a hatred for toys.
I'm glad that there are viewers who find it truly watchable; after all, it took some effort to put it together, especially with such an obvious lack of adequate budget. TV movies have come a long way since '86, though. The 80s really inflicted some pretty bad music on us and this is no exception, with a number of really painful new songs, and the beloved 1903 'Toyland' title song's melody thrown in here and there as incidental music. Thankfully, the stirring "March of the Toys" is included during the final battle scene.
Even without comparison to the delightful (if considerably altered from the stage version) 1934 Laurel and Hardy outing, the less charming but still enjoyable 1961 Disney effort, or the quaint 1954 live television production (preserved on kinescope), this 'Toyland' is pretty feeble stuff. Despite being filmed in Bavaria, a place chock-a-block with fairytale villages and wonderful castles, the Toyland set looks like some corner of a minor suburban theme park, complete with rubber- tired miniature train and little cars obviously taken from a racetrack ride. The rather modern buildings appear to have been freshly repainted for the occasion.
Barnaby's nasty trolls are actually icky enough to be effective as a menace, though at about 10 to 12 count they're too few to be much of an army. For the most part the cheesy creature costumes, which would be quite acceptable in person, on screen require a level of willing-suspension-of-disbelief not granted to many of us. Plus, Richard Mulligan is seriously miscast as villain Barnaby, though Pat Morita as the Toymaster is (predictably) one of the bright spots-- despite being saddled with having to sing some of that limp new score.
Well, I saw 86's "Toyland" listed and tuned in out of curiosity. Thought I'd comment.