The Christmas Toy (1986)

The Christmas Toy, you may recall, was Toy Story before Toy Story. It's a Henson production, a television special about toys coming to life when you're not around.

My vague recollections of The Christmas Toy actually gave me some conceptual trouble with the Toy Story movies. The toys of The Christmas Toy die if they are seen out of place by a human.

They DIE.

Well, their consciousness is sent to some sort of Limbo, but it's basically the same. Without the same stakes, I sometimes had trouble with why the Toy Story toys bother to hide their mobility from humans. It's kinda weird, if you think it through too hard.

Well, the actual plot of The Christmas Toy is about Rugby the tiger, and how he doesn't understand that even though he was Jessie's favorite Christmas present last year, he'll be replaced this Christmas with a new favorite gift. (And it's about a space toy who initially doesn't understand that she's a toy.... but I digress. Although actually I kind of love the ridiculous scene/song revolving around Meteora, crazy space princess doll. Additional note: there are more significant female characters in this than in the first Toy Story.)

It's actually a sweet story, with a lot of cute moments, but it is slow and repetitive in places, the plot doesn't quite fill the hour, and there's a lot of beating of plot points in case the audience somehow missed them. The ending is pretty great, but some of the humor falls a bit flat.  I did enjoy almost all of the music.

I'd recommend this for kids, but I admit was a little bored on this viewing.