TOY STORY 4 or what I am calling it, Woody’s Epilogue, is actually a pretty great…well..epilogue. Let’s face it, we all know that Toy Story 3 provided mostly all of the toys we’ve come to grow up with a satisfying conclusion to the “Andy Saga.” However, in the third movie, Bo Peep was no where to be found with one line of dialogue and one frowny face basically explaining that she was just gone, and not with them anymore. Well, this 4th movie is basically a Bo Peep RetCon. And it’s really, really good. I think I even enjoyed it more than the 3rd one. I’m going to be the controversial one by saying that I didn’t find Toy Story 3 all that memorable other than them about to be fried in that furnace and then the tear jerking ending of Andy giving his toys to a new little girl, Bonnie. And I’ll even double down on the shock value and tell you that #2 blew me away when I saw it in theaters and is still my favorite of the franchise to this day. Now is the time though, when all childish things must come to an end, and hopefully, even though this was great, it is definitely the last film.
And yes, I know that they introduce a new character named Forky (voice by the great Tony Hale), and I know that he’s getting his own Disney + series (hard pass), I’m meaning as far as theatrical films go, I hope this is the last one. And yes, I will even admit to you that this movie was unnecessary. But look at Pixar and their cash cow. They made three completely unnecessary films about Cars that were either too boring or too wacky. It was even revealed in a recent article that they started planning and writing Toy Story 4 before 3 even hit theaters, and that was 9 God damn years ago. But given that the recent article said that Pixar will be focusing on original films going forward and there won’t be many sequels anymore, and the Forky series, I have a feeling that this will be the last one. Because after the mid credits scene roles, there is literally no more story left to tell, even with Bonnie, because it was just be recycling Andy growing up all over again. You’ve had the toys almost get lost and die a thousand times, you’ve gotten the story line of what if some of the toys were collector’s items, and you’ve all had one dimensional villains that either want to destroy everything or keep the depressing status quo.
Which is why I liked this film quite a bit, because of Gabby Gabby, the first true villain of the franchise that actually had an arc (Sid, the Prospector, and the Giant Purple Bear weren’t all that interesting to be honest). They took her to a place I didn’t think they would go, and was very grateful to get something different. And the reason why I’m really calling this film “Woody (and Bo’s) Epilogue” is because, other than those two and a few new characters, all of the other ones get the shaft. And I get it, Toy Story 3 was their ending, and this is Woody and Bo’s, but this film has Buzz Lightyear featured the very least in any of the film in the franchise. Other than one ‘inner voice’ joke, that was actually hilarious and a lot of fun, I’d say Buzz is in the movie for less than 20 minutes, with that joke being the brunt of it. I guess I could forgive it, seeing that the film opens 9 years prior to show how Bo really went away and Woody seemingly giving her one last goodbye, but there had to have been some way to feature Buzz more in this film. Consider that my biggest criticism of the film.
The rest is fantastic though. I loved that the film took place mainly in an RV, at a fair, and one of my favorite locales in the whole franchise, an antique shop. I loved Gabby Gabby’s really creepy ventriloquist henchmen (provided some weird dark comedy). I loved the new characters, like Forky mentioned earlier, a pair of duck and bunny stuff prize dolls voiced by Key and Peele, and especially Duke Caboom voice by none other than, the celebrity getting the most love he’s ever gotten in his career this year, Keanu Reeves. He completely steals the show, and the film even (stay thru the mid credits!) gets Reeves to do his one signature line we’ve made fun of him for, but also praised him for, and have been doing homages ever since. I found myself laughing out loud in the theater quite a bit too, which just gives the movie even more brownie points. If you are a kid film made for kids, but you get adults to laugh out loud and smile along, you know you are a special film.
And obviously, since we’ve had this franchise since the mid 90s, this is the most visually striking of all the films. They manage look crisper and more detailed every outing, and that is very much appreciated (although for the love of God don’t run out of ideas and then George Lucas everything by remastering the first three films with better digital effects). The voice acting is all there, with Hanks and Potts almost making me cry with their interactions. It’s a very, very solid Pixar movie in general. And was so, so, so, so much better than the kind of okay sequel we got last year with Incredibles 2. I’m very, very happy and excited for the future of Disney/Pixar after this film, and the fact that they said they are going to focus on original tales from now on. But this needs to be the last Toy Story theatrical film. There is no where left to go. And I swear to God, someone needs to hand me a poison vial or shoot me in the face if they ever announce a Cars 4.
My Rank Of Toy Story Films:
- Toy Story 2
- Toy Story
- Toy Story 4
- Toy Story 3