Originally released in 2009 in Czech, the English dubbed version of ”Toys in the Attic” was released earlier this year with the voice talents of Forrest Whittaker, Joan Cusack, and Carey Elwes. The story takes place (spoiler alert!) in an attic. All of the forgotten toys come alive and carry on very innocently inspired lives. A Teddy Bear, a Marionette, a shape-shifting ball of play-dough, and a wind Up Mouse are all drawn together by their admiration for Buttercup – their social glue and moral compass. When Buttercup gets abducted by the evil intent of The Head (of state) a limbless bust who commands an army of creepy hybrid toys – the ragtag group of heroes begin their quest across the attic to save Buttercup.
The story was very European in its pacing and often lacked a sense of logic and urgency that is my frailty to depend on to keep my attention fully invested in a film. The translated text may not have easily lent itself to a refined storytelling style, but with my Czechoslovakian being a bit rusty, I may never fully understand the filmmaker’s original intent.
This stop-motion animated film delivers wildly creative and visually stunning pallets to drink in, though the imagery is haunting and not entirely kid friendly. In this way, it was somewhat reminiscent of Marc Caro’s 1995 ”City of Lost Children” (La Cite Des Enfants Perdus). The writing was wonderfully crafted to conjure the playtime approach of a 5 year old who has not yet lost the ability to imagine limitless realities and combine all of them at the same time. However, the visual representation seemed much more disturbing and adult – posing the serious question “Who is this movie intended for?”