TATM: Talkin’ About The Movies #350 / The Magical World Of Disney #178: Toy Story 4

New Disney release this week, you know what that means:

TOY STORY 4
*****

Synopsis:

Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re two worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.

Review:

As if I even need to talk about my thoughts on the original Toy Story trilogy, they are all terrific films and each film gets better and better with each movie, it’s hard to believe that you can honestly say that the first Toy Story movie is the worst of the series and it’s still a fantastic movie, that’s just how this trilogy has played out over the last few years.

But like most people, when they announced that there was going to be a Toy Story 4, I got extremely worried, I even did a post talk about all the pros & cons of making a Toy Story 4 back when it was first announced in 2014. Even with the first trailers coming out, it was hard not to be skeptical of what they could do here and naturally, I got worried.

Now, it’s important to note that I was also skeptical of Toy Story 3 back in 2010 largely because it had been a sequel that was 11 years after the last movie, a terrific sequel and I was really afraid going in that Pixar was gonna jump the bullet and make a shitty sequel…which considering that Cars 2 was coming a year later, I might’ve been a little early on preparing for the worser Pixar sequel. And then the movie turned out to be great and tied with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World as my favorite movie of 2010.

We now come to Toy Story 4 nine years later and all I can honestly say is….THANK THE HOLY MOTHERS OF GOD THAT THIS MOVIE WAS GREAT!!!! Yeah, this movie was pretty friggin’ awesome.

Now, I’m not gonna lie, it’s the first Toy Story sequel that I have seen that is not quite as good as the previous movie but that does not mean that it’s a bad movie, Toy Story 3 is a tough act to follow, it ends the trilogy on a really solid note but there is still more than enough in Toy Story 4 that I can really appreciate.

There are a few little nitpicky things and I mean, really nitpicky things that I could address here but there’s really nothing that bad here to make me really go off on it, just the tiniest little nitpicky things I can see.

There is so much about this movie to admire, starting with the gorgeous animation. I mean, the best aspect you can say about these films is that the animation consistently gets better and better with every film and it’s showing. The attention to detail that is being shown in this movie in general is phenomenal, you can see the fluffiness, the fabrics popping out, and the porcelain being placed on full display here and it looks absolutely fantastic. The opening scene alone in the rain is so good, you would swear that did this in real life, it doesn’t feel fake at all. The animation in this is top notch.

The voice cast is once again fantastic, Tom Hanks is great once again as Woody, who basically is the central figure of the movie, he carries the film along with Annie Potts’ Bo Peep back after not being in 3 and these two are terrific together when they share the screen. Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear is in kind of a reduced role in this but his moments in here are really great. In fact, the rest of the cast in general from the previous films is in reduced roles here like they get a couple of lines but they’re not really for more than about a minute’s worth of time, the main focus of the movie is Woody and Bo Peep.

The new characters are all terrific, Tony Hale’s Forky could’ve been the most obnoxious character of the film, it would’ve been so easy to have him be just the most annoying and the most obnoxious character but he’s part of the heart of the movie. Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom is fantastic too, he’s so good in this and has some of the most memorable moments as Reeves continues a strong 2019, I swear, he’s on his way to becoming the next Chuck Norris…a much less homophobic, assholeish and more awesomer Chuck Norris but still and Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky & Bunny were friggin’ hilarious, every time they were on screen, they were absolutely hilarious, the stuff that they gave them to work with or told them to improvise with works and it’s over the top and silly but it’s funny what they have them do in this, the one running gag they have going on throughout the movie is absolutely hilarious.

I also liked that they didn’t rehash the surprise villain aspect from the previous 2 films, you don’t have Stinky Pete or Lotso this time around, the main antagonist, Gabby Gabby, voiced by Christina Hendricks, starts off like she’s just going to be the typical bad guy character but then you realize that she basically just wants a chance to be loved by a kid and needs Woody’s voice box to do so, which when you think about it, he really didn’t need anyway, and I did like the conclusion they came down to her character with.

The script in general is incredibly well done, the development of Woody’s character throughout these films leads up to the events of this movie. As The Hollywood Reporter summed it up, Toy Story began as a highly imaginative, yet relatively straight-forward narrative, concerned with Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) competition for affection, something relatable to many younger viewers who had recently welcomed siblings into their lives. But over the course of the sequels, the property evolved to explore themes of belonging, ageism, and even mortality. Through three entries Toy Story, Toy Story 2 (1999), and Toy Story 3 (2010), Pixar told a complete story and carved out a place among cinema’s best trilogies. The most recent entry, Toy Story 4, which seemed to have no reason to exist outside of a financial perspective, proves its creative necessity by taking us on what may be the series’ most existential and life-affirming installment.

It’s very likely that Toy Story 4 took a lot of inspiration from Logan because there are a lot of similarities between these two films, Wolverine and Woody dealing with one last adventure with a new character and coming to the realization that their purposes in life aren’t what they used to be and coming to an eventual conclusion.

The true heart of the film comes in the emotional moments, they get you right from the get go with the heavy emotional moments, that opening scene where Bo Peep and Woody say their first goodbyes, not only is the animation fantastic but the performance of Hanks and Potts are phenomenal as well and then you get to the ending scene. Now, if you remember, the ending for this movie apparently made both Tim Allen and Tom Hanks so emotional and tough to get through the scenes while they were recording and the ending to Toy Story 3 is already an emotional filled ending where Andy is saying goodbye to his toys, it’s sad but it never got me to cry.

This ending, however, when Woody is looking like he’s going to say goodbye to Bo Peep again and Buzz is right next to him and goes “don’t worry, she’ll be fine…..Bonnie will”, that’s when it got me, I started tearing up hard after that knowing that Woody is going off with Bo Peep and saying goodbye to the toys he’s come to know, that really got me, it’s about only a third of the length of the end of Toy Story 3 but I’m still debating whether or not this is the better emotional ending than Toy Story 3, it’s that good and it just goes to show that Pixar really does understand why these characters are so important to them and why they have to be done right, these are the characters that made Pixar who they are today, their fans have grown just like these characters have and so it’s very important that they don’t play it safe with these characters and for the most part, they have done just that. These movies have been fantastic and even the sidestuff like the spinoff shorts and holiday specials they’ve done have been all equally good.

Now, that’s not to say I want to see more Toy Story movies because I feel like this is like the ultimate game of chance with them continuing to make movie after movie because they will hit that one moment where they think they can do whatever they want and then, it’s like hitting a whammy on Press Your Luck, you make a bad movie and dampen the reputation of the characters. I hope that they do not do that at any point, right now, if they were to stop the series here, I’d be more than happy with that.

Toy Story 4 may not be as good as Toy Story 3 was but it’s still an entertaining entry into the series filled with some of the best animation Pixar has done to this point, a stellar voice cast, great new characters, a good story, and great emotional moments all around, it exceeded my expectations coming in and made for a very entertaining movie that is definitely one of the best movies of the year bar none. Go to infinity and beyond to make sure you don’t miss Toy Story 4.

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Posted in TATM: Talkin' About The Movies, The Magical World Of Disney

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