Submitted by Evan B
Jessica and Journey help Jeronicus recover his inspiration and they are able to finish building his revolutionary new toy. They also expose Gustafson’s thefts and he is arrested for his crimes.
The following story is recounted by a woman named Journey.
Jeronicus (younger – Justin Cornwell; older – Forest Whitaker) is a wildly successful toy inventor who is able to conjure his inspirations to life. His toy store is thriving and he is generous to his customers, loving to his wife, and shares inspiration with his daughter Jessica (younger – Diaana Babnicova; older – Anika Noni Rose). A young inventor named Gustafson (younger – Miles Barrow; older – Keegan-Michael Key) interns for him, but Jeronicus never seems to have the time to mentor him. On Christmas, Jeronicus is able to create a living toy – a matador named Don Juan Diego (voiced by Ricky Martin). Don Juan realizes that Jeronicus intends to mass produce him. Wanting to be one-of-a-kind, the toy persuades Gustafson to steal Jeronicus’ book of ideas and open his own toy shop. With Jeronicus’ stolen book, Gustafson and Don Juan’s success drives Jeronicus into financial ruin. He converts the toy shop into a pawn shop and his wife dies young. Worried his misfortune will ruin Jessica’s life too, Jeronicus sends her away and they become estranged for a decade.
One day, a debt collector (cameo by Hugh Bonneville) arrives and tells Jeronicus that the bank will foreclose on his shop unless he either pays all his debt or comes up with a revolutionary invention. The debt collector gives him until Christmas to make the payments. In desperation, Jeronicus begins working on an old invention and also writes to Jessica. In response, Jessica sends her prodigy daughter/Jeronicus’ granddaughter, the narrator Journey (younger – Madalen Mills; older – Phylicia Rashad) to visit. There, she meets Jeronicus’ young protege Edison (Kieron L. Dyer) and a woman with an unrequited crush on Jeronicus named Ms. Johnston (Lisa Davina Phillip). Although Jeronicus is initially stand-offish, Journey and Edison start building a rapport with him. They see he is trying to build a flying robot named Buddy 3000 (voiced by Tobias Poppe), a toy conceived of by Jessica when she was a child. Journey is able to finish building it as she can conjure her inspirations to life like her father used to. However, Buddy only works when in the presence of people that believe in hope and inspiration.
Meanwhile, Gustafson has produced all the inventions from the stolen book and is unable to come up with any new ones of his own. Don Juan convinces him to infiltrate Jeronicus’ toy shop and steal whatever he finds there. Gustafson steals Buddy, but can’t get it to work since he doesn’t believe in hope and inspiration. Journey and Edison sneak into Gustafson’s factory to get Buddy back but get trapped inside. Jeronicus and Ms. Johnston go to save the kids. While rescuing them, Jeronicus is able to regain his inspiration, activating Buddy in the process. Although the heroes successfully escape, Buddy is destroyed while helping them.
With only one night to go before the bank forecloses, Jeronicus stays up all night trying to rebuild Buddy. He is only successful after Jessica comes to visit and the pair reconcile and work on Buddy together. That morning, Jeronicus is able to present Buddy 3000to the bank representatives who agree that it is a revolutionary toy and decide not to foreclose. Gustafson and Don Juan barge in and claim that Jeronicus stole Budy from them. Journey is able to prove that, in fact, Gustafson was the thief and Don Juan betrays Gustafson by verifying Journey’s story. Gustafson is arrested ( and Jeronicus, seeing Don Juan’s true nature, promises to reprogram him so he isn’t so evil). As Gustafson is led away, Jeronicus sadly tells him that if he’d been loyal Jeronicus was prepared to let Gustafson take over the business. With the bank no longer foreclosing and Jeronicus regaining his family and inspiration, he is able to rebuild his toy shop. The film ends with Jeronicus becoming the most successful toymaker in the world and Journey now in charge of Jeronicus’ toy factory.