The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue (1997)

bravelittletoastertotherescue_1997_poster
  • Time: 74 min
  • Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy
  • Director: Robert C. Ramirez
  • Cast: Deanna Oliver, Timothy Stack, Thurl Ravenscroft

Storyline:

A group of dated appliances that find themselves stranded in a summer home that their family had just sold, decide to, á la “The Incredible Journey”, seek their young 8 year old “master”. Children’s film which on the surface is a frivolous fantasy, but with a dark subtext of abandonment, obsolescence, and loneliness.

One review

  • During much of the 1980s, Disney was not performing well financially or critically. Release after release, almost all of their films weren’t making the cut. Whether it was based on content or something else, viewers and critics alike at the time were unimpressed. That’s not the case now however for many of the once unnoticed movies have found a home for those who appreciate the quality they gave. But of those, there were some movies that got recognized for being well done. A couple years before Disney hit it big with The Little Mermaid (1989), another animated film came out that has made a lasting memory for many children, that being The Brave Little Toaster (1987). As odd as the premise was audiences and critics were surprised to see how mature some of the basic themes and concepts were for the plot. Not surprisingly, Disney went on to release a Direct-to-Video sequel of the original 10 years later. Even though it was a few years in where Disney started cranking out sequels, it could’ve been bad but it holds up somewhat here.

    Picking up some time after the first events, audiences rejoin the living household items once more but this time, they’re in the master’s (Rob) veterinary clinic. The master is also ready to graduate and in order to do so, he must submit his 600-page thesis. One night while doing the finishing touches, a power surge occurs causing Rob to lose all his work. Fearing he won’t graduate, it’s up to the little toaster and friends along with some animals to save the day. Directed by Robert C. Ramirez who’s better known for directing The Prince of Egypt (1998) prequel Joseph: King of Dreams (2000) and written by Willard Carroll who served as executive producer to The Brave Little Toaster (1987), manage to put together an acceptable sequel considering the circumstances. It’s not at the same level as the original but it’s an allowable follow-up. What doesn’t work in this sequel are a few components. The most typical of reasons being continuity errors; ones that go beyond the physical realm that the first had established. Things don’t just materialize.

    The other two problems deal with characters. The new animal additions to the original group is okay but they do feel a bit tacked on. It just feels very obligatory and one of the main animal’s motive changes without reason. Then there’s the role of Rob’s underling named Mack who works as an assistant to him. Right when the character is introduced, his personality immediately gives away what kind of character he will be. No questions. Aside from these problems, there isn’t much else to point out. Even with these problems dealing with development in certain characters, the script still contains some material that is dark when looked at under certain lenses. With that said, credit is due for at least not making the overall execution feel completely pointless. Some sequels get completely diluted and end up having no risk involved. When it comes to characters, unless the viewer wanted to know who voiced them, most would unknowingly discover that the majority of the original cast from the original did not return.

    Since the release of this was a decade later, seeing why some actors who voiced childlike characters is understandable. Yet as to why Jon Lovitz, Timothy E. Day, Wayne Kaatz and Colette Savage did not return is beyond understanding. They did after all voice important characters. Thankfully the actors who do replace the old cast maintain the same quality performances. Jessica Tuck who voices Chris, Chris Young as Rob, Eric Lloyd as Blanky and Roger Kabler as Radio all sound very similar to that of the original actors and that’s great. Returning from the original is Deanna Oliver as Toaster, Thurl Ravenscroft as Kirby and Timothy Stack as Lampy, which is great to hear as well. For new members of the cast, Jay Mohr plays the voice of Mack, Andy Milder voices the scruffy Ratso, Alfre Woodard voices Maisie the mama cat, Danny Nucci plays a Hispanic Chiwawa, Andrew Daly plays Murgetroid the snake and veteran actor Eddie Bracken voices Sebastian the monkey. There’s even a voice appearance from Brian Doyle-Murray playing a computer.

    The animation is actually another decent quality to this sequel. This is mostly because The Brave Little Toaster (1987) itself did not set such a high bar. If anything, the animation here is on par with its predecessor and that’s okay. Taking into account that it was also animated on a smaller budget is important to recognize if the quality remains fairly the same. The film score was unfortunately not composed again by David Newman. In replace of him, Alexander Janko composed the music. This was Janko’s first film composition and seeing that he frequently orchestrates more than composes, it’s interesting that Janko made out rather sufficiently. The score itself consists of organic orchestra and uses those elements to its advantage. By this, the cues that involve the darker themes work properly. The songs that the actual characters sing aren’t that bad either. Tunes like “Remember That Day”, “Tap to the Super Highway” and especially “Chomp and Munch” are fairly catchy and can get the viewer to emote.

    The sequel itself isn’t memorable as to its predecessor but it isn’t all fluff either. There are some mature themes involved, the music is composed nicely and the voice cast perform well. It’s just all the extra characters and an unexplained motivation that make it feel forgettable to some degree.

    Points Earned –> 6:10

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