5.0 out of 5 stars May Innocence And Joy Prevail....
"runblader", the person who gave this movie a low-rating in which he called this movie "Anti-American Propaganda", needs to grow the hell up. This is a great film. About a man of peace. What's so wrong about that, runblader? What is it that you are lacking inside that you need to invoke images of 9/11 to attack this film? Anyone who debases this film...
Published on April 11 2004 by Rich Boucher
3.0 out of 5 stars This movie is still ahead of it's time, but getting closer
A strange choice of metaphors, but still a very compelling critique of the American democratic process and it's mishandling by different citizenry.
If the Toy Factory is US republican democracy, and the elder Zevo the generation leaving the country in it's current quandry this movie can make a bit of sense. The "poor" choices of the past(militaristic Uncle...
Published on Mar 15 2004 by Justin Lee
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1.0 out of 5 stars Get Lost!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Toys (DVD)Watching "Toys" was like watching "Teletubbies" dumbed down for an audience of subhumans.
Six Millions Jews died in concentration camps during World War II. It took the combined forces of the free world to stop this genocide. Williams and the production company that made "Toys" are just closet nazis.
Inasmuch as I watched this self-righteous piece of elitist garbage, I can say without any hesitation that if you believe that the world would be better off in the hands of some two-bit despot, then maybe you'll be stupid enough to accept the premise of this peice of unadulterated nonsense...
By the way, I'm not runblader. I just agree with him.
5.0 out of 5 stars May Innocence And Joy Prevail....,
This review is from: Toys (DVD)"runblader", the person who gave this movie a low-rating in which he called this movie "Anti-American Propaganda", needs to grow the hell up. This is a great film. About a man of peace. What's so wrong about that, runblader? What is it that you are lacking inside that you need to invoke images of 9/11 to attack this film? Anyone who debases this film based on notions of patriotism needs to get a smack in the head. Williams, Cusack, LL Cool J and a host of other actors make this well-directed romp a joy to view. It's actually entertaining enough for multiple viewings. The visual effects, as some reviewers more intelligent that runblader have suggested, are amazing. It's as though someone shot film straight from someone's dream. Visually impactful like The Truman Show, as an example. Shun anyone who doesn't like this film. Make them pariahs. It's no less than they deserve.
3.0 out of 5 stars This movie is still ahead of it's time, but getting closer,
This review is from: Toys (DVD)A strange choice of metaphors, but still a very compelling critique of the American democratic process and it's mishandling by different citizenry.
If the Toy Factory is US republican democracy, and the elder Zevo the generation leaving the country in it's current quandry this movie can make a bit of sense. The "poor" choices of the past(militaristic Uncle in charge of the factory) compell the newer generations to reorient the system(democracy as toy factory) towards it's original intent. The founder(or founders Jefferson,Madison et al) Zevo had no idea of the damage the company would tolerate and still move towards a stronger more democratic outcome. An allegory for the younger Bush administration, we should all be amazed at how our poor choices inflict harm and ruin our way of life. Catch the Tori Amos, happy worker song at the beginning of the movie and contrast this with the miltary dictatorship that insues.
It's hard to know if the intent of the father was to shake the son out of his doldrums and trivial existence, or a truly poor choice of leadership. As we relinquish our rights, it becomes harder and harder to reacquire them as the newer systems congeal. Warren Zevo has early and ample opportunity to question the decisions, but inaction allows the Uncle to overwhelm and adulterate the system. In the end, in revolutionary fashion, the jackbooted thugs are defeated and retired to a quiet existence. The world is saved, and innocence prevails.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one you experience, not watch.,
This review is from: Toys (DVD)If some songs are enjoyable more on account of their phonic sound than the actual melody they offer, then Toys likewise, is a film that can be enjoyed more for its sheer imagery than for its none-too-profound storyline. As many critics--even the adoring ones--will tell you, this movie won't be remembered on the strength of its plot. It's an uncomplicated (if also a little thematically-preachy) story of youthful innocense, big-bully intimidation, and then conclusively, of victorious, passive retaliation. And they're all worthy concepts. However, Barry Levinson doesn't make his audiences mull them over during the movie. To the contrary, it's rather difficult to ponder much of anything in light of the devastatingly gorgeous scenery, the brilliantly simple contraptions, and the fairytale-like quality of the characters.
If ever there was a celluloid catalyst for shattering actor typecasts, this was it. Robin Williams' performance reveals a mostly unfamiliar vulnerable sincerity that, frankly, creeped me out a couple times throughout the story. Similarly, you have Joan Cusack at her most delicate and gently-spoken (with exception of course to the laughable observation she makes in regards to war being "the domain of a small..." so on and so forth). L.L. Cool J competently delivers the role of a convincingly clean, wholesome, family-valued military man caught between the warring factions of his own family, represented by a hawk (his own father, played by the appropriately casted Michael Gambon) and the dove (a perpetually juvenile Williams). Robin Wright Penn isn't given much of a stage in Toys, and consequently her performance is less than striking here. But to her credit, she nurses a few otherwise-forgettable scenes (particularly the overtly ad-libbed cafeteria scene with Williams) back to life with her disarming laugh and sincere attention.
The trivia fanatics will keenly spot the underutilized, but aptly included cameos of Yeardly Smith and Jamie Foxx.
I'm not a big movie fan, in fact I rent/buy movies reluctantly. But this one captivated me from square one and it's a hard one to let go of. Incidentally, I highly recommend the soundtrack. It's a musical revelation that does great honor to the film (with an outstanding and uncredited brief performance by the incomparable Seal).
Chances are, anyone who's reading these reviews has already seen the movie; it's not a film that is naturally attracting new audiences this long after its making. However, I'm convinced this was due in monster proportions to the lack of popular exposure that Toys received, both initially in theaters and subsequently in it's video/DVD release. I, for one, happened to see Toys only by dumb luck, and have been grateful for walking into the theater ever since. But the minimal promotion that was afforded to Toys is all right by me. This is one cinematic secret I'm happy to be in on.
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Cusack, Great sets, Gawdawful Willams,
This review is from: Toys (DVD)Whoa! Such great visuals & Joan Cusack so delightful as usual. So what happened? A little recreational activity behind the scenes? The whole thing plays like totally dead improvisation. I always thought Robin Williams' "extemporaneous" humor reminded me of a shy & mediocre accountant or engineer doing a Jonathan Winters (anyone remember him?) take-off at the office party. This movie is the worse example of that. He ain't bad with a tight script & good director but he's just pathetically embarrassing here.
5.0 out of 5 stars A whimsical experience,
This review is from: Toys (DVD)"Toys" has always been my favorite movie. It takes place in an undisclosed location inside Zevo Toy Factory. The eccentric Owner, is passing away and leaving the factory to his brother, a military General. The General soon devises a plot to make remote controlled weapons that can be piloted by children. Leslie Zevo, the toymaker's son has to save the toy factory. I LOVE this movie. It's brilliant, it's funny, and it's surreal. Robin William's finest hour. Joan Cusack gives a powerful performance as Alsatia, Leslie's sister. and LL Cool J plays the general's son.This movie is beautiful.
3.0 out of 5 stars A visual wonder, but a misguided film,
This review is from: Toys (DVD)Here is a film that has some of the most wonderous sights I have seen in any film. TOYS creates a world of a toy factory that is so wonderful, so imaginative, that you wonder how this movie could possibly have gone wrong. Barry Levinson had this film in mind since before he did DINER, and he found his main star in Robin Williams after they worked on GOOD MORNING VIETNAM. It is obvious what he wants to accomplish. To show us a fantasy world that couldn't exist but that you would love it if it did, that only innocence should prevail in the world of toys. He accomplishes the first half with exuberance. He is aided by three absolutely wonderful performances: Robin Williams, Joan Cusack, and Robin Wright Penn. But he comes to a conclusion that is not only confusing but really bizarre.
Robin Williams is Leslie Zevo. His father is Kenneth Zevo, founder of Zevo Toys, a factory that doesn't so much exist in a town but in the middle of its own world. Zevo is old and dying and played by the legendary Donald O'Connor. (His funeral scene creates a nice little laugh until I remembered that O'Connor himself passed away a few months ago.) Kenneth Zevo must hand over control of his factory, but feels that his son Leslie isn't ready for this job. And his daughter Al-Sashia (Joan Cusack) isn't, well you find out at the end of the film. So he turns the factory over to his brother General Zevo (Michael Gambon) of the U.S. Army.
General Zevo clearly doesn't want the job, but the Army isn't the way he remembers it. He is the kind of soldier who would shoot a fly with his .45 sidearm instead of using a fly swatter. That creates a nice laugh, but in a really funny scene he goes to visit his father, who never tires of humiliating hiis son by showing how he outranks him. What to do? He tours the factory in a sequence that demonstrates again and again the visual wonder of this world. But this isn't his world. He begins to think that there may be a market in the world of war toys, but Willaims and everyone else at the company feels that it isn't the company's style.
General Zevo comes up with an idea. The only reason I can reveal this idea is to explain how the film goes off the rails. The company will manufacture miniature toys armed with real bullets, missiles, and bombs. They will be controlled by children who think they are playing videogames and scoring points. When his scheme is discovered by Williams and Cusack they find themselves running through the factory pursued by the miniature war toys. Bullets are soon flying, explosions are going off, and everything leads to a battle between the evil war toys and the old innocent wind-up toys. It is here when my heart started to really sink. Why couldn't Barry Levinson come up with a more imaginative solution to stop the General than having innocent toys attack (and be blown to pieces) by war toys? Surely a movie with such imaginative setting could give us a payoff just as imaginative, couldn't it?
Robin Williams was born to play this character. He is so convincing as a man who never seemed to grow up. Again and again he uses his gift for verbal improvisation that for once doesn't stop a film dead in its tracks. Joan Cusack displays a charming innocence that many times I don't always see. At the end the secret of who her character really is doesn't come across as a surprise. And there's a nice sweet romance between Williams and Robin Wright Penn as a new employee. And all during the opening, first act, and middle, is that wonderful look. The production designer Ferdinand Scafforeili was nominated for an Academy Award, and perhaps should have received a special achievement for it.
So, TOYS has a magnificent extravagant look, terrific performances, and even some really sweet and delightful music (especially the opening song). But it doesn't have an imaginative conclusion or a good third act. I guess I will recommend this film. Its good qualities really are the price of admission. But ask yourself, what was that ending all about?
1.0 out of 5 stars Anti-American Propaganda,
This review is from: Toys (VHS Tape)How's this for the sequel, Toys II: a group of Islamic terrorist hijack four airliners and fly them right into Zevo's toy factory? Or into the director's studio? Perhaps he would then be less likely to denigrate our armed forces. Disgraceful.
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great movie. You'll probably hate it.,
This review is from: Toys (DVD)This movie was panned, and disappeared from the theaters so fast it was a miracle I even saw it. The plot is kind of surreal -- almost like a fable. If you take the plot literally, you'll hate this movie, as did most people. If you're looking for a Robin Williams comedy, you'll definitely be disappointed.
What you do get is a movie that is incredibly creative, visually and musically, with an incredible cast that all get it. It is a fun movie about good vs. evil (or joy and innocence vs. militarism), it can be very silly, and if you get into it you'll love it. I do.
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it....,
This review is from: Toys (DVD)I was quite surprised to see 48 reviews for this obscure movie. I know it is a "love it or hate it" film, but I have to admit I am in the former group. I first saw this movie while spending the night in a hotel in Garmisch, Germany; and I was so drawn into it I put off dinner (hard for me to do with the excellent food in Germany) until it was over. I can understand why a lot of people are disappointed with this movie, it isn't the normal Robin Williams performance. If you are expecting 'Mork and Mindy' then go rent 'Mrs Doubtfire.' I am sure some are appalled over the fact that there is a message in this movie as well, we want to see robin act like the clown prince, not tell us that violent toys are bad! However, if you can get past those two points, you are in for one of the best abstract movies of the past decade. I am glad a majority of the reviews are in favor of this movie, it may not have made a lot of money at the box office but it is cinematic art.
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Toys by Barry Levinson (DVD - 2004)
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