'Toy Story of Terror': Combat Carl Never Gives Up, Combat Carl Finds a Way
The Toy Story creative team continues to find a way as well, a way to keep the characters fresh and the fans engaged.
One of the things I love about the Toy Story franchise is PIXAR’s proven ability to introduce new characters (ie. toys) that fit in with the group and ultimately bring something new to the narrative. It’s not just “The Woody and Buzz Show” anymore, and I’d argue it hasn’t been since the first Toy Story.
Toy Story 2 introduced us to Jessie and Bullseye, and while Jessie’s backstory is the second saddest thing ever set to a Sarah McLachlan song, her character really shines in Toy Story of Terror. All of the main voice talent is back for this 30 minute special; IMDB even credits Michael Keaton with an appearance, which had me patiently waiting for a Ken cameo. Perhaps in the DVD release.
Toy Story of Terror pays homage to 80s era toys more than ever before, as Combat Carl (Carl Weathers) and his 1/3 scale friend (Combat Carl Jr.) are clearly inspired by Hasbro’s 12 inch and 3 3/4 inch G.I. Joe figures. There is a clear nod to Transformers and Voltron when the oversized robot Transitron emerges and then separates Devastator-style into 5 separate vehicles, a great moment for a current generation of parents that loved toys like these as kids. The LEGO staircase/ladder and Pez Cat were fantastic additions as well, and Mr. Pricklepants’ impressive knowledge of horror movie tropes serves as a great backdrop for the adventure.
The special pays further tribute to adult toy collectors when the antagonist is revealed to be a dishonest toy scalper, listing stolen toys for auction on “eBid” (under the seller name ‘iguanalover75’ -beware!). Woody’s ‘Buy It Now’ value is proof that PIXAR’s continuity team is at the top of their game, his $2000 sale price harkening back to his storyline in Toy Story 2.
Toy Story of Terror has every right to become an annual Halloween tradition, based on its family orientation and entertainment value for parents and kids alike. I’ll be expecting (and gladly tuning in to) a Combat Carl-Charlie Brown animated block on ABC next Halloween.
(Toy Story of Terror replays on ABC Family this weekend.)
Howie Decker is the chief blogger and editor of UnderScoopFire, a site that admittedly takes Garbage Pail Kids and M.U.S.C.L.E. figures way too seriously.