TOY STORY 4 REVIEW: (written by Jay Kyles)
THE BASIC PLOT:
Toy Story 4 follows on shortly after it’s predecessor with Andy’s former toys adjusting to their new life with Bonnie.
Bonnie starts Kindergarten to much stress, prompting Woody to sneak in her bag to help her through – despite being left in the closet during playtime.
After making a new toy called Forky, Woody’s pretty much on suicide watch, trying to stop Forky from throwing himself away…Cue the road trip.
An incident separates the duo from the rest of the gang, and just when they’re about to reunite, Woody sees remnants of an old friend in the window of an
antique shop…while Buzz goes after him with a pair of lonely carnival plushes in tow…Hijinks ensue.
Aside from Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep & Bonnie, most of the returning characters have suprisingly little relevance as they literally take a back seat to the new
characters and stories. But the new characters more than make up for it with pretty likable personalities and their own motivations. I personally got a few
good laughs out of Ducky and Bunny (despite being initially uncertain on them from an early trailer). Duke Caboom was quite likable too, but the tiniest toy,
Giggle McDimples felt a tad pointless and slightly forgettable overall in my opinion.
The villain had some pretty understandable motives (even though she wants to do to Woody what is basically the toy equivalent to Organ Harvesting), and her minions
were quite creepy, being reminiscent of Slappy from Goosebumps (though despite being ventriloquist dummies, never utter a single word, which is quite a funny subversion
of expectations of those types of puppets).
As for returning characters, one of Bonnie’s toys develops an odd obsession with getting her father arrested and Buzz strangely started obeying his speaker, thinking
of it as his “inner voice”, which while quite funny, felt a bit odd as they showed no signs of these tendencies in the past. Bo is a completely improved character with
more to her than “Woody’s love interest”, but more of a badass action survivor.
Although some parts feel like a retread of Toy Story 2 (Beloved member of the gang gets separated, there’s a big journey to get them back, a villainous toy has
their own plans for Woody), there’s plenty of things to keep it fresh at the same time. Strangely the Toys are a lot more interactive with humans than in previous
movies (from throwing things at them, shouting at them, and plotting to attack them), which I found a bit odd. It was an interesting direction to take it with a lot
of fun moments, but it tended to make the human characters seem a little dumb to be honest.
The new characters are utilized quite well and their personalities match their setting (Bo and her new allies are survivors, the Carnival Toys are more
wild and loud, the antique toys are more quiet and try to look more classy).
The Ending, although quite emotional, doesn’t feel as powerful of a finish as Toy Story 3’s ending. It leaves things in a way that could easily lead to a sequel if they
wanted to, or leave people satisfied without one. Stick around for the credits, as there’s several scenes littered throughout that are quite a fun way to top off the movie.
After a prologue in the wet, rainy street (which sets a good tone for a character interaction later on), the 1st act majorly takes place inside Bonnie’s room, with
some scenes devoted to her kindergarten. It would feel a bit too similar to Toy Story 3, so they wisely decided to take the cast on a road trip. The new setting which
takes up the majority of the movie: a combination of an antique store and a nearby carnival lend themselves to a lot of plot potential which is utilized quite well,
from all the shelves, nooks and crannies of the store, to all the various attractions of the carnival, the nearby park, between and on top of buildings, basically
all the surroundings are utilized to a good extent.
Although the inside of the camper van isn’t used often, they make the most of the scenes that are set there, with some pretty funny moments (and where most of the
aforementioned Human-Toy interaction takes place). What could’ve been a dull set place was made quite workable.
The music is what you’d expect from Pixar. It fits the scenes quite well with some new songs from Randy Newman. The voice acting is also pretty good, although the lack
of Mr Potato Head lines is fairly noticable as his voice actor (Don Rickles) died in 2017 (thus being unable to record new lines for this movie). The characters also hit
all the right emotional points, though Ducky & Bunny’s voices are a bit too hammy and overdramatic to take seriously in sadder moments (granted, it fits their characters
well, as they’re a comic relief duo).
Toy Story 4 is a nice movie with plenty of laughs, and some surprising turns along the way (even if they are foreshadowed). It’s worth a watch if you were a fan of the
previous films (or any of Pixar’s works). Although many fears sprouted of this being a cash-grab movie, it easily stands strong alongside the rest of it’s predecessors.
The graphics are the best the franchise has ever been, especially compared to Pixar’s earlier works.
A perfect tetralogy is pretty hard to come by, but this comes pretty close.
This review is the opinion of one individual and doesn’t equal fact or the opinions of others, as every opinion is unique.