Toy Story 4 review

My opinion right after watching the movie

My opinion right after watching it is that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would be lying if I said that there weren’t some obvious flaws to it (mainly with the characters), but the people who they decide to focus on are very good. I like how the franchise always adds onto previous lessons, and adds another layer to it, without it feeling repetitive, or a complete 180, where sequels always fall under one or another. Definitely don’t think it’s one of the better films from the franchise, but a solid way to end a relatively rough decade for Pixar.

Production

There were rumours going around in 2013 that there was going to be another Toy Story sequel, which the company denied, only to confirm it on November 2014. It was set with John Lasseter directing the movie, and wanting it to be a romantic comedy. He would step down from the film (only to be booted from the company after sexual assault allegations came out about him), and a few other people dropped out of the film as well.

What ended up happening was a decent amount of rewrites, and some felt like Bo Peep’s attitude change was due to the Time’s Up movement that took place in early 2018. The film was initially supposed to be released on June 2017, but the date was switched with Cars 3 for June 2018, only for that date to be switched with Incredibles 2. They felt like making Bo Peep a lost toy would coincide with Woody’s fears over the last 3 films, and wanted to bring a way to reintroduce her into the franchise after being left out Toy Story 3.

Story

The movie starts with going 9 years back (around the time after Toy Story 2), where Woody (Tom Hanks) ends up saving a lost toy from outside, only to see that Bo Peep (Annie Potts) has been given away. We get some nice foreshadowing moments that show how well they work together, and another one where Bo Peep is at peace with being given away, since it’s a part of the process. Despite her offering him to join her and the sheep in the box (since toys get lost all the time), he rejects it, since he still needs to tend to Andy.

We skip to the present day, and we see that Bonnie slowly starts to like all of the other toys over Woody, to the point where she never really plays with him. It is time for her to go to kindergarten, and after getting dust bunnies on him, he forced himself in her bag to go with her. Bonnie ends up making a toy out of garbage named Forky (Tony Hale) with Woody’s assistance, who ends up having an existentialist crisis about his purpose, adding another element to the toy world.

Bonnie and her family go on a road trip with all of the toys, and Forky ends up getting lost, causing Woody to follow him. They wonder into an antique store after seeing Bo Peep’s lamp. They meet a chatty catchy doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) asking for Bo Peep, without realizing that the doll is obsessed with his voice box. After the ventriloquist dolls try to chase him down for his voice box, Woody convinces a girl to take him, causing him to go to the playground, where he would reunite with Bo Peep and her sheep.

She is obviously a lot more action-packed than what we have previously seen 2 decades ago, and they’ve been lost toys for 7 years. So herself and the sheep were stuck at the same antique store for 2 years, where they eventually escaped after collecting dust, initially refusing to help Woody go back there, but eventually agrees to. Anyways, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) ends up escaping the van to find Woody and Forky by listening to his inner voice, which causes him to make a bunch of dumb and clumsy choices meant for comic relief.

We soon learn that Gabby wants to do everything she is doing, so she can win a girl over playing tea, like her doll manual says so. Of course during their time together, Woody sees that Bo Peep enjoys exploring the world, and not being constantly given up by children. Buzz and some other toys soon join them, and it becomes really clear to me that this film does not know what to do with most of the other characters.

We come to realize that Bo Peep is really…… bossy. I don’t know how to feel about it because while it’s clear they’re going with the “hardened girl because of her experiences” arc, I do think that it could have been done a bit better. After making it to the shelter, Gabby grabs the sheep, and the plan to rescue them eventually goes to utter crud, since Woody and Bo continue to annoy one another, and he acts a bit too reckless for the others. Due to everyone getting injured in the battle, they all decide to leave, while Woody is insistent on staying behind.

With the crew mainly cone, Woody deals with Gabby Gabby, who tells him her dilemma of wanting to have that one experience with a human, due to never being picked since her vocal box was broken. To wrap things up, Buzz returns to the truck as they are about to leave, Bonnie’s family drives to the antique shop (since she left it there), the child Gabby has been obsessed with refuses to take her even with the voice, and Woody finally found his purpose, which is to help other toys find a bond with an owner that he’s already had.

Bo Peep returns in time to help Woody bring Gabby Gabby to Bonnie, but she decides to go cheer up a lost girl instead. I am going to skip to the end, where everyone is reunited, but Woody decides to go along with Bo Peep and her friends, who are all leaving to go to a carnival out of town, since the others are fine with Bonnie, and he has found his other purpose of helping lost toys find owners.

So, I really like the movie, and like the message of it (finding another purpose), which is something that everyone can learn from. Do I think this film was necessary? No. I still do not like the fact tat most of the characters were neglected, but I liked that they covered the romance between Woody and Bo Peep. Probably the weakest Toy Story film, but that really does not say much. I remember when this was announced, I was pissed off and ready to hate it, but it is one of my favourite from the endless Pixar sequels we’ve gotten this decade.

Characters

I do have quite a bit of issues with the characters, and it’s mainly due to most of them being utterly useless. Buzz Lightyear continues to become a simpler, more flanderized version of himself, since they have had very little content to give him in each sequel, Jessie is completely irrelevant, and I don’t even remember Rex, the Potatoheads, or the other OG toys. Bonnie’s OG toys remained irrelevant, and with the new toys, they ranged from mildly entertaining to very forgettable. Woody was a very solid character, as he finally learned to be more selfish, and when to let go of certain obsessions for his own happiness. I liked that they gave Bo Peep an actual character, and while her bossiness is a mixed bag to me, you definitely feel the chemistry between the two of them, and you understand her every move. Both carry the film well, despite the flaws of the other weak characters, and even themselves not being the most likable at times.

Animation

What is there to say about the animation? It is great as everyone expected it would be. Since it’s been essentially a decade since the last film, it was cool to see all of the intricate updates within the medium overall, causing for a more aesthetic look, and I did get used to Bo Peep’s design (especially with making the porcelain really visible). I really loved the settings of the antique store, and a playground circus, which really brings out so many visuals that I never thought would be interesting, but I was really captured in the whole experience.

Music

The music did what it’s supposed to do, though there was nothing inherently memorable about it, compared to the last three. I did notice that the Bo Peep music was used a lot more in this film compared to the first two, and it really added the sentimental, emotional elements that they wanted us to feel in order to feel engaged in the relationship. Overall, it is definitely the least memorable part of the movie for me.

Reception at Release

As of September 2nd, 2019, it has made $430.5 million domestically, and $613.8 million in other areas, adding up to a worldwide amount of 1.044 billion. It has the 46th highest opening ever, and the biggest opening for an animated film ever. It is the 4th Pixar film to cross the billion dollar mark. Unsurprisingly, the film ended up having universal acclaim, since many were shocked that it managed to extend the story in a believable manner, and to wrap up the saga with the typical Toy Story charm. A few people still complained about it being unnecessary, and the sidelining of many toys to be unsatisfying.

Score

Story: 8/10

Characters: 6.5/10

Animation: 8.5/10

Music: 6.5/10

29.5/40 = 74%

4 thoughts on “Toy Story 4 review

  1. I’m torn on this film. There’s a lot of things I liked about it and there’s a lot of things I didn’t like about it. The things that I liked about it were the animation, Gabby Gabby and Bo Peep. Bo Peep was my favourite character in the movie. Any scene where she and Woody were together was great to watch because they both have great chemistry.

    The things that I didn’t like were:

    1) Bonnie: It was so weird to see how she treated Woody in this film. In Toy Story 3, she absolutely loved playing with Woody, but in this film he is no longer her favourite toy and just neglects him. It just felt forced and contrived.

    2) Buzz: I didn’t like how they made Buzz a dumb character in this film. I know his whole inner voice thing was meant to be a joke, but it wasn’t really funny and it just made him seem out of character. In Toy Story 2, Buzz is shown to be a very smart and proactive character as he manages to track down where Woody is and makes it his mission to rescue him. Buzz’s behaviour in this film would have made more sense in the first film where he thought he was an actual space ranger and not a toy. He shouldn’t be acting like this in the fourth film of the franchise when it’s been shown that the character has grown a lot since the first film.

    3) The supporting characters: I didn’t like how most of the other characters were given nothing to do. One of things I loved about the character was that every character was given something to do and no matter how small their role was, they were able to still advance the plot. The new supporting characters such as Ducky and Bunny and Duke Caboom, I didn’t really care about all that much.

    4) The ending: I like the idea of the ending, but I don’t think it was well executed. Woody leaving the gang should have been emotional, but I didn’t really feel emotional and the reason why is because Woody acts completely out of character. In the first three films, it is shown that Woody is someone who will always stick by his owner no matter what. But in this film, he decides to leave not only his owner, but also his friends all because Bonnie no longer plays with him anymore.

    Overall, I have mixed feelings on this movie. It’s one of those films where I want to watch it for a second time to see if it gets better or worse.

    1. I am definitely going to have to rewatch the movie again, and I don’t disagree with you on any of your points. A lot of it sounds contrived, and I am having an issue with settling on an opinion on the movie all of these months later.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s