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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
29.5/40 = 74%