Living Dolls

We take a look at toys that come to life in the movies…

ANNABELLE is released in Irish cinemas this week, and while the doll in the movie may not technically come alive in the film, there is little doubt that she has a spirit and a mind of her own. With this in mind, we took a look back at other toys in the movies, to try and find some kinder life-filled dolls, so we can and get to sleep tonight, without the fear of ANNABELLE haunting our dreams…


When the Jareth, the Goblin King (David Bowie) kidnaps Sarah’s (Jennifer Connelly) baby brother Toby, she ventures into the labyrinth to save him. On Sarah’s journey, she is helped by the toys in her room who come to life, and guide her to the castle. Don’t believe us? Watch the opening scene of LABYRINTH again, and as the camera pans across Sarah’s bedroom you will see her stuffed toys, Escher poster, bookend and a maze; all of which feature heavily in the film. As well as this, Sarah has a figurine that looks suspiciously like Jareth himself, lending weight to the idea that the LABYRINTH is all in Sarah’s mind to begin with.


Of course TOY STORY was going to feature in this article, it is the definitive feel good film about toys coming to life. It seems a universal truth that kids believed their toys ran around and had an adventure when we weren’t looking, and TOY STORY is the embodiment of that belief.
Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) get into a dangerous predicament when they find themselves lost just as their owner Andy is about to movie house, but with some quick thinking and teamwork, the duo make it home in the nick of time.
TOY STORY has spawned two sequels and a number of short films, and we still have trouble deciding which of the films we like the best, but we can almost universally agree that the first film is still filled with wonder and magic.


Disney’s second feature length film, PINOCCHIO, is based on Carlo Collodi’s 1883 Italian children’s novel, THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO, and tells the story of a wooden puppet who is brought to life when his maker, Gepetto, wishes that his creation were a real boy. Pinocchio is animated, but is still made of wood, and so sets out on a journey to find the Blue Fairy and prove himself worthy of being made a real boy.
PINOCCHIO is a morality tale aimed at both boys and girls and, although it has been parodied many times over the years, there is still something endearing about a wooden toy dreaming of something more for his life.


John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a lonely child who dreams of having a best friend to call his own. On Christmas night, John wishes for his teddy bear to come to life and be his friend. Being that this wish coincided with a falling star, and magic exists, John’s wish is granted. John and Ted grow up together, but run into trouble when John falls in love with Lori (Mila Kunis), but knows that he can’t have Ted around forever.
Ted is filled with nostalgia for the toys and movies from our past, while managing to be filthy and raucously funny. Seth MacFarlane’s film takes TOY STORY to its logical conclusion, and fills the film with warmth and laughs.


When a toy company is bought by a defence manufacturer, the new CEO gives the order to make toys that do what they do in the ads. The designers take him literally, however, and create a line of toys with using the company’s X-1000 computer chip, which is also the core of smart bombs and other military technology. Chaos follows, when two factions of toys start a war, and catch two human kids in the mix, and it is up to Alan (Gregory Smith) – who accidentally sets off the toy wars – and his new girlfriend is Christy (Kirsten Dunst) to save the day.
SMALL SOLDIERS feels a little like a live action version of TOY STORY with army action figures at its heart. The film is filled with toys meeting grisly ends at the blades of lawnmowers, and a full out war between the goodies and the baddies.

Do you have a favourite movie with living toys at its centre? Perhaps you have a soft spot for CHUCKIE or perhaps the STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER segment of FANTASIA is more your style? Let us know in the comments below.

ANNABELLE is released in Irish cinemas on October 10th 2014

Words: Brogen Hayes