Jiri Barta

Toys in the Attic

Jiri Barta‘s Toys in the Attic is the kind of hybrid animation that deserves a larger audience. Thankfully, it’s getting a US release courtesy of Hannover House. According to Cartoon Brew, the film (which I was fortunate enough to catch at Fantastic Fest 2010) has gotten a new set of English-language performances from Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack and Cary Elwes in anticipation of seeing limited US theaters on September 7th. It also got a new poster where one critic’s quote credits it as one part Toy Story and one part Tim Burton. That’s definitely an acceptable description, although the overall look and feel of the movie itself defies reduction. The plot isn’t all that complicated, though. In it, a teddy bear, a lump of clay with a bottle cap hat and a Don Quixote-esque figure must rescue a pretty doll from the clutches of the green bust of a man who rules the Land of Evil. It’s high concept with a twirl of the mustache, but it’s also a fantastical, engagingly beautiful film with a light heart. And, you know, Cold War political implications. Check out the original trailer for a better look at its imaginative design:

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In the Attic is a fun children’s film that finds itself somewhere in between the heart strung world of Toy Story and the frantic insanity of A Town Called Panic. It’s stop-motion at its best with a story that is sweet without being saccharine and wacky in a way that won’t scare children, but might leave them wary of talking green heads. Buttercup, a beautiful blonde-haired doll, lives inside a suitcase with a marionette named Prince Charming, a small teddy bear, and a Play-doh style lump who uses a bottle cap for a hat. They get along just fine in their miniature world, but Buttercup is kidnapped to the Land Of Evil, and the roommates have to band together to get her back from the clutches of a green bust of a man’s head who wants her for his bride.

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