Here's the pitch: "It's like Toy Story but these toys that come to life really kick butt!" That's essentially it for this breezy popcorn flick. In a very smart first 10 minutes, new toy-company owner Denis Leary tells his crew he wants toys "that play back." Hence the small soldiers land in Anytown, U.S.A., and the loner kid Alan (Gregory Smith) opens them up before they are supposed to be on the shelves. Those military-grade chips sure make them smart and give the toys plenty of pithy retorts to boot. Plenty of violence, er, action, most of it fun enough. The vocal talents, including Tommy Lee Jones, Frank Langella, and cast members of The Dirty Dozen are inspired characters, the humans less so. With Gremlins director Joe Dante at the helm, it plays like a sequel to that '80s fantasy. Amazing visual effects, of course. --Doug Thomas
3 wins & 4 nominations.
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