A beautiful continuation of a dearly personal saga perhaps was predicted by some, except others foresaw Disney’s evil scheme to bank on nostalgia, knowing their recent horrible case of sequel-itis. The latter ones correctly guessed the fate of Toy Story 4; nothing unique comes from this bland half-attempted corporate product.
But first, here’s a little backstory about how Toy Story came to be. The entire franchise began with Pixar’s first Academy Award win: Tin Toy, in 1988. The studio then got the idea of expanding this short into a feature film using their successful innovative technology, focused on the main character, Tinny, and his ventriloquist dummy friend. Eventually, Tinny became Buzz Lightyear, and the ventriloquist dummy became Woody. Now, the friendship between this cowboy and space ranger stands as a testament of how even drastic differences, whether in people or filmmaking techniques, can coexist in sincere harmony and cooperation. Except now, all that is forgotten, leaving most Pixar fans to potentially hate this contradiction against what was set up in the past on a toy’s purpose to be loved by a kid. Woody understood that, Buzz understood that, now, neither one cares. The messages left behind instead are nothing consistent with the good ol’ cowboy.
Bo Peep returns, but for the supposed purpose of fan service to SJWs’ (Social Justice Warriors’) desire for an “independent, no man necessary” archetype designed to erase the motherly shepherdess from existence. Before, she kept Woody’s moral hat on straight as the sole mature toy in Andy’s room, and now, strips away the skirt to declare how nobody means squat to her anymore. How exactly is Bo a good role model in that regard? For being able to throw a kick? Woody shows a similar negative role model for boys minus the drastic change in exterior. The only change in appearance he undergoes is the “Andy” on his boot, which has “Bonnie” written on it instead now, except it leaves no impact on Woody’s choices later. Remember when the “Andy” on Woody’s boot sadly got painted over in Toy Story 2? That sense of ownership and commitment to a kid means little to Woody here, leaving room for his selfish desires to be fulfilled out of not being chosen for playtime.
Even the designs of these returning toys are way off compared to past movies. There is a flashback of Andy, and he looks like a totally different boy, while Bo Peep’s face has grooves around the face rather than the original painted-on face. The animators clearly didn’t try to make them match the original designs, nor did the screenwriters try to make them match the original characteristics. Buzz Lightyear is disrespectfully demeaned to a painfully unfunny running gag, and it doesn’t help either that he survives a fatal fall in a busy carnival that should have broken him beyond repair. Although to its credit, the Historic Downtown Grand Basin dummies are fantastically created humanoid nightmares… the eyes… the mouth… the run… brr!!! So, if only looking at the new characters, the designs would be brilliant.
But the characterizations of these new faces would still be insufferable, even if these new cast members try sincerely to compensate the horrible script. The villain is a doll named Gabby Gabby who wants Woody’s voice box, because it apparently works inside her. (Yeah…) The way her arc closes is entirely pointless, rendering Gabby Gabby a weak antagonist. The little screen time of the Canadian biker, Duke Caboom, benefits the plot only by providing a jumping platform, that’s it. The insufferable duo of Bunny and Ducky crack tough brawler improvisations nonstop, including an ongoing joke which halts plot progression.
Now, to explain why “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” doesn’t apply here. Woody’s old friendships just wander around wild without enough information on what the living situation in Bonnie’s room is like. It’s conveyed that Jessie frequently wears Woody’s “sheriff” badge, but that’s it. There needed to be more focus on Forky, Bonnie’s new toy made from trash. That unique concept to the series gets thrown aside, so its huge narrative potential never exploits itself. Instead, an entirely different tone takes over at the antique shop, where its showcase of photorealistic lighting takes priority over character conflict. Although, Forky’s humor is cute when he takes center-stage, especially when running after a trash bin over and over, to Woody’s humorous desperation to stop him. If the rest of the movie kept like the first act, it’d be on par with the other movies.
Instead, once looking past the improved CGI texturing, once closer analyzing the filmmaking mechanics of each scene, including the now completely recycled Randy Newman score, the rainbow adventure of Toy Story 4 loses all credibility, as it should. Dang, why didn’t we listen to Chucky’s promotional posters of him massacring the toy gang? He wasn’t trying to make us see his movie, he wasn’t trying to humor us, he wasn’t trying to intrigue us… he was trying to warn us!
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Disney Movies. Disney. Web. <https://movies.disney.com/toy-story-4>.
Rubin, Rebecca. “Box Office: ‘Toy Story 4’ Building to $140 Million-Plus Debut.” Digital image. Variety. Wordpress, 19 Jun 2019. Web. <https://variety.com/2019/film/box-office/toy-story-4-box-office-opening-weekend-disney-pixar-1203245769/>.