The Toys That Rescued Christmas is a 2001 direct-to-video Christmas film.
T'was the night before Christmas and all the presents in the house have mysteriously disappeared from beneath the tree. Matters become even more complicated when a wise cracking sock monkey named Smuckey, a sensitive train and a sleek red sports car fall into a trap set by toys from Christmas past. It seems they're hurt by the fact that once Christmas is past, they're forgotten and they want to protect the new toys from being hurt and forgotten as they were. But once the old, discarded toys see how committed Smuckey and his friends are to making sure the children have their Christmas gifts, the old toys realize they were wrong in hiding the new gifts and do everything in their power to help Smuckey.
S'Mores Entertainment will release the anonymous little Toy Story-ripoff, The Toys That Rescued Christmas, a tepid CGI animated effort from 2001 that doesn't break any new ground, but which also won't offend the sensibilities of little tots should this DVD find its way into their stockings come Christmas morning. At an abbreviated running time of 24 minutes, it's harmless stuff, hardly worth mentioning other than for the connection to its infinitely superior Disney inspiration, and its obvious holiday appeal.
On Christmas Eve, the toys in an average American household are having a race: the Christmas Eve 500. Participants are an electric train engine, a red RC sports car and Smuckey the sock monkey (I know; it's sounds like a set-up for a dirty joke). As they race around the house, all the toys discover that the presents under the tree have disappeared. Smuckey, the brains of the outfit, realizes that fake snow pellets from the tree lead up to the attic. The brave adventurers climb the attic stairs, and discover not a monster, but old, forgotten toys. These toys, including Stuffy the teddy bear and crotchety Clanky the wind-up train, are lonely, having been locked up in the attic for over sixty years, with no one to play with them. So they swiped the Christmas presents. After agreeing to come downstairs, the toys have to figure out how to get the presents back down the roof, since the attic door accidentally was shut and locked.
However, as I've written countless times before in reviews of these kinds of DVDs, these shows really aren't made for adults. I'm fine with cartoons aimed strictly at kids. And for what it's worth, my two littlest children (both under five) seemed to enjoy The Toys That Rescued Christmas. They laughed in spots, they were quiet in others, and they sat through the whole thing. I doubt they'd want to see it again, but who knows? Kids are weird; they'll watch the worst junk over and over again, while something really good leaves them cold. If The Toys That Rescued Christmas had shown up in their stocking, I suspect they would have been excited about it, they would have watched it, enjoyed it - and then tossed it on their ever-growing pile of DVDs, to be as quickly forgotten as the toys in the attic in this stale little nothing. So...go figure.
The Video: The full screen video image for The Toys That Rescued Christmas is quite clear, with dark coloring (not from the transfer, but from the original design of the 'toon).
The Audio: The Dolby Digital English stereo audio mix is adequate (although those god-awful songs unfortunately come through loud and clear). There is no close-captioning.
The Extras: Extras for The Toys That Rescued Christmas include a full length directors' commentary (there are two directors for the short), along with a featurette on how the film was made. Original storyboards are featured, as well. All of these extras will mean nothing to the only people - kids - who will actually sit through The Toys That Rescued Christmas and watch it.
Final Thoughts: Cheaply priced, The Toys That Rescued Christmas would probably make an okay stocking stuffer - if you seriously can't find something better. A rental is in order first, though (a couple of months from now) if you're thinking of buying.