I don’t want to jinx this, but I’d really like to see Toy Story 3 receive a perfect 100% at Rotten Tomatoes, thus making the Toy Story series have a perfect score. While it’s most likely not going to happen since at least one reviewer will be jaded for no reason other than to cost it a perfect score, it’ll still be a hugely successful movie. And you know what that means? Merchandise! Toy Story has always had toys tying in, I know you’re shocked, and now that the new movie is a few days away I think we should talk about those, don’t you? So let’s go to infinity and…let’s, let’s just go.
The Shotgun Approach to Toys
Toy Story has a huge strength in merchandising that may also be it’s greatest weakness: The basic premise involves toys without any inherent theme. What this means is that the majority of the toys from the movie are independent to their genre, such as a space ranger, a cowboy, a Mr. Potato Head, or Barbie. This creates a shotgun effect in terms of a target market. While you’re sure to find at least one product that interests a kid, you generally won’t find one that’s interested in ALL the toy line and feels compelled to buy each and every item that has the Toy Story logo stamped somewhere.
Yes, there will be some kids that fall into that unlikely category of Toy Story brand loyalty, but generally you will find kids interested in one sort of toy and coming across a Toy Story-related toy in that area of interest. For instance, if you tend to love dinosaurs and collect dinosaur toys of all sorts, you’ll probably think the new Rex toy is awesome, but may not have any real interest in a Woody action figure.
However, it becomes apparent that the Toy Story brand realizes this weakness and decided to make sure that the various toys were excellent in their category. The Barbie and Ken pack is exactly what you’d think it is, and we all know that Barbie is pretty darn popular already. Jessie the cowgirl has a doll aimed specifically at girls, just as you’d expect the doll from the movie to be crafted.
Probably the big standout is the 12’’ Buzz Lightyear as it’s, well, Beyond Awesome. It comes in the spaceship box from the movies, has all the features the movie Buzz Lightyear has, and isn’t over $50. They’ve had these sort of Buzz Lightyear super toys out since the first movie, but they’re really stepping up their game to make them even closer to exact movie replicas this round, meaning your kid probably wants one for Christmas/birthday/Wednesday.
The great equalizer may just be the LEGO sets. Since it’s LEGO, there’s no need to care about the specific genre. LEGO seems to just have one genre anyway and that genre is LEGO. The downside to the LEGO sets? The LEGO prices. No surprises, but still, good Lord LEGO, a little sympathy already. Haven’t we loved you enough over the years for a little price break?
I most suggest the action figure line if you’re looking for a solid gift for someone into Toy Story. Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and the rest are crafted rather well, as has been the case in the past. Woody will always look a bit out of place as a stiff plastic toy since he’s intended to be made of cloth, but the Buzz Lightyear action figures consistently deliver. Don’t forget my number one action figure rule: Toys that can “fly” are always cool. And look at that, Buzz Lightyear has wings. Sold. Despite this advice, I’m pretty sure the most popular Toy Story 3 product will be the Toy Story 3 Silly Bandz since those are also stupidly popular right now.
It really doesn’t matter if you mean to buy a Toy Story 3 product or not. If you have a child or have to buy a gift for anyone under the age of 10 this year, you’ll undoubtedly encounter something that says Toy Story on it somewhere. Thankfully you really can’t go wrong in terms of quality, so thank your lucky stars.