70%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
100%

Despite being one of Disney’s darker animated films, The Brave Little Toaster still delivers.

 

For those who have never seen this, or who have forgotten about it, The Brave Little Toaster is a Disney movie released in 1987 on newly formed The Disney Channel. As such, it has no MPAA rating. It is the story of a group of appliances (Toaster, Kirby, Blankie, Radio, and Lampy) who go on an adventure, after a “For Sale” sign is placed in front of the cottage they reside in, to try and find The Master. Hey, it was 1987 and a simpler time. If they were to release this now, you know all hell would break loose for them calling their owner The Master. His actual name is Rob, and he’s about to go off to college. And that is about it. It’s like Homeward Bound, but with a talking toaster.

 

 

It is a pretty good adventure story about braving the challenges that face the appliances as they trek through the forest and navigate the big city. The balance of adventure to plot driving scenes is good. The characters establish themselves early and pretty much stay to script, which is the right move for this film, especially since it is geared toward kids. Toaster is the leader, Kirby the grumpy old one, Blankie occupies the roll of the childish one, Radio copies radio personalities and is loud, and Lampy comes across as easily angered. There is a little growth in the characters, but it is not central to the story. In hindsight, The Brave Little Toaster is also an important movie for Disney. It established a working relationship with what would later become the founding members of PIXAR. In fact, these individuals worked on the film, with The Brave Little Toaster being the first Disney film to feature the “A113” room number that shows up in every PIXAR film. It also established the broad themes we see in Disney/PIXAR’s first hit, Toy Story, in which objects set out on an adventure to find their owner while dealing with issues such as abandonment, belonging, and the unconditional love toward their owner. Also, Disney showed it has a darker side.

 

Toaster_1

 

However, the animation is pretty poor considering this is a Disney film. While it wasn’t released in theaters (save for a few select), it was intended to be. But when compared to the previous film, 1986’s The Great Mouse Detective, and the following one, 1989’s Oliver and Co. it doesn’t hold up. There are also some pacing issues in which the action is fast, followed by long stretches of not much happening, followed by some confusing scenes. The characters sometimes get annoying as their dialog can seem repeated. And if you suffer from depression, you should move right along and find a happier Disney movie, as there are several scenes which will only increase the sadness in your life.

 

 

Now, what is really notable about The Brave Little Toaster: it is “Holy crap Batman! What the heck?!?” dark. As in straight up dark and gritty. This makes The Dark Knight look like a romp through a field of flowers with a unicorn farting rainbows across the sky. By my count, there are 23 deaths in the film, most taking place during the last song in the junkyard where a giant magnet and crusher are killing singing, broken down cars, with what amounts to body parts flying around. And it’s not like other films where someone falls off a building or cliff. You see the cars get crushed into cubes. During a storm, Blankie gets blown away from the others and through a forest of jagged branches grabbing for him, a blender gets disemboweled in front of the other appliances, an AC unit becomes so upset he basically kills himself from stress, Kirby suffers some kind of seizure and swallows his cord, and Toaster commits suicide to save Master from the crusher (although Rob does fix Toaster and the AC unit). The worst, though, is a scene that comes straight from a Stephen King drug binge nightmare in which Toaster has a nightmare about a demon clown dressed as a fireman torturing him and then killing him by dropping him into a bathtub full of water. I am not making this up. How did I watch this as a kid and not get nightmares?

 

 

Overall, darkness aside, I would still recommend watching it as it is very different from any other Disney animated film.

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