(US), December 1999

Babes in Toyland B-Movie Review

by Andrew Borntreger


Rated G
Copyright 1986 Finnegan Company.

The Characters

  • Lisa - Drew Barrymore! Little girl who hits her head against a tree and ends up in Toyland, just in time to right some serious wrongs.
  • Mary Contrary - Mother Hubbard's daughter, almost married off to Barnaby, though she loves jack. (He's nimble, it's the quick part she hates.)
  • Jack B Nimble Jr. - Keanu Reeves! Young guy who is deeply in love with Mary.
  • Georgie Porgie - Chubby fellow who is the quality inspector for the cookie factory.
  • The Toymaster - Pat Morita! (Mr. Miyagi) Benevolent ruler of Toyland and creator of every plaything in the world.
  • The Residents of Toyland - Teddy bears, mice, and all the characters from fairy tales you can think of.
  • The Toy Soldiers - Tall as a man, these guys are the defenders of Toyland.
  • Zack and Mack - Albino hunchbacks who work for Barnaby, fairly inept.
  • Trollog - Freakish one-eyed bird, ahm, thing.
  • The Trolls - Monsters inhabiting the forest outside Toyland, they appear to be killer Christmas trees.
  • Barnaby - Evil man who wishes to control Toyland, why do evil people always wear such gay hats? Presumed eaten by Trolls.

The Plot

You really can't blame me for wanting to review this one, Drew Barrymore and Keanu Reeves in a loose adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz." Except it's set in Ohio, which for some reason the natives spell O-E-I-O. After being thrown from her sister's boyfriend's cheap 4X4 and slamming into a tree the young heroine finds herself in Toyland. Now this is a magical place, it's a mystical place, with teddy bear policemen and a horrible public transit system. Cars are community property, if you need one you hop in and take it. The main characters never had a problem getting wheels, but I'd bet stranded field mice had some very unmagical things to say at times. Lisa doesn't have a clue about fixing that problem, but she does stop Mary from getting hitched to Barnaby. (He holds the lien on Hubbard's dwelling.) That pretty much annoys the bad guy, so much he takes to calling her "Cinci-whatski," vice the much easier "Lisa." Barnaby is plotting to take over Toyland, first by framing Jack for a cookie theft at the factory and then stealing the Toymaster's flask of concentrated evil. Why in the heck would you keep concentrated evil lying around anyway? Is there some law it can't be destroyed? (Conservation of evil? I dunno.) The regiment of Toy Soldiers are capable of stopping the rampaging Trolls, but only if Lisa can become a child and believe once more. Steel yourself to watch countless people in outfits like one is treated to at small town fairs and the musical numbers. Oh the songs, especially the crooning salute to Cincinnati.

Things I Learned From This Movie

  • If an electric pole is knocked down it only takes out the phones.
  • Mean people live in bowling balls.
  • Everyone who works in a bakery wears roller skates.
  • If you can't pay the rent in cash the bank will take kids.
  • Not being able to blink is a serious problem when you only have one eye.
  • People from Cincinnati are immune to poison gas.
  • Concentrated evil should be stored in an appropriate container, specifically not something glass.
  • Teddy bears are not cut out for riot control.
  • Wedding vows should include the phrase "Give him a lot of fun." on general principle.
  • Santa is a little Japanese man.

Stuff To Watch For

  • 13 mins - Oh, you're dead...
  • 17 mins - Hey Lisa, don't these people look familiar? Mom, sister, etc?
  • 35 mins - All they eat in this town are cookies, no wonder people die young.
  • 41 mins - Bad edit, one moment Toymaster is holding the toy, then it's on the stand, then he's holding it again.
  • 60 mins - She has a toy bat, he has a toy wrench, oh boy are those monsters scared.
  • 72 mins - Is that a rose, er, tree?
  • 75 mins - Are you saying Drew Barrymore grew up too early? Maybe drug addiction by the early teens?
  • 94 mins - You didn't take your daughter to a hospital? She hit a tree going about thirty miles an hour with the back of her head. She's been having delusions of killer Christmas trees, cookie factories, and teddy bear policemen. It's called a concussion.


  • Jack: "Welcome to glorious Cincinnati, queen of Ohio's alpine ski resorts!"
  • Mary: "Toymaster, we've got to talk to you."
    Jack: "Really sir, for the sake of Toyland."
    Toymaster: "Well yes, I'm listening."

Article Focus:

Babes in Toyland


Babes in Toyland

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