Every generation has always had their iconic toys. The 1950’s saw Barbie for girls and the following decade delivered G.I. Joe for the boys. The 1970s introduced us to Rock-em Sock-em Robots and the famous line of Kenner Star Wars toys. The wild time of the 80s and 90s ushered in too many iconic toys to count. As we’ve moved more and more into the digital age, toys have changed and been driven more into video games and apps.
When the Disney Channel Original Movie, Life-Size, premiered in early 2000; it explored the very concept every kid desired. Having your favorite toy come to life to help you through a tough season. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want that?
A sequel that has been 18 years in the making and six years in development. Tyra Banks returns as Eve, the iconic doll magically brought to life. Life-Size 2 tells the story of Grace, the CEO of a failing toy company, looking to find a new way to bring the company into modern age - which means discontinuing the iconic Eve doll. That is until she has a change of heart.
I think it’s fair to say that television movies sometimes don’t get a fair wrap and fall into stereotypes of those who came before them. See our review of last year’s Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie to understand our hope for the genre. The original Life-Size gained a following for a multitude of reasons - all of which this sequel is strongly lacking. This film falls short to the heart of the original and that’s the biggest misstep of this movie. There are several moments where the story attempts to establish emotional moments but they feel forced and uninspired.
What’s also massively confusing about this movie is its’ target audience. It feels like the filmmakers made this film for those who grow up on the original adventures of Eve. Her new rodeo feels oversexualized from the last time we’ve seen her. They make so many LGBT innuendos, and even a nod to the MeToo movement, throughout its’ short duration - it feels like more of a joke than an actual social commentary. Not to mention the random, and overdone, montage sequences they chose to pour in.
Eve is all about magic. Even with all of its’ flaws, Life-Size 2 does still have some sparkle to it. Banks, returning to the role of doll turned person, is hard to watch at times. Even when it’s under the hardest of circumstances you can’t help but smile. Banks does a truly fantastic job at warming the hearts of her audience. Her arc continues to inspire a new generation. It reminds us why we fell in love with Eve to begin with.
Overall, Life-Size 2, was a probably a sequel best left discontinued. The sequel misses the emotional mark of its’ source material. When it attempts to establish some, it’s beyond painful. Not to mention it comes with a messy tone. Bringing into question who this movie was even made for. Given all of its’ flaws, the return of Tyra Banks allows for some sparkle. Life-Size 2 is a film probably best given with a receipt.