Director: Josh Cooley
Staring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Keanu Reeves
People were very moody on the idea of a fourth instalment to the beloved franchise. For many people, Toy Story 3 was the perfect end for these characters but I was confident that Pixar wouldn't disappoint because of their exemplary track record.
It was only when I came to write this opening paragraph of my review that I realised I only thought so highly of their filmography because I had only seen half of it. I grew up on classics like The Incredibles, Monsters Inc., and Toy Story 1&2; and more recently I enjoyed Coco and Incredibles 2. However, the likes of The Good Dinosaur and the Cars franchise, the more divisive of the Pixar projects, never really interested me so I just didn't see them. I almost forgot they were Pixar really.
As for the film in question, I really enjoyed Toy Story 4. It was every bit as emotional and raw as the first three, if not more so. I don't know if it's because I'm older and more emotionally mature now, or if it's down to the quality of storytelling alone, but I cried at three points in this movie... and for three different reasons.
The first was joy. The beginning of the film shows us a kind of montage to catch us all up on the broad strokes of the toys' journey so far. That in itself had me balling. The other times I can't really get into without giving away tonal aspects of the plot but one thing I will say is that, at the emotional conclusion of the third act, I was already done. I just couldn't muster any more fluid, thanks to the previous water works but it moved me all the same.
One minor criticism I have is that Buzz seems to have regressed to an earlier stage of his arc, in order to be included in the film. And I don't mean he loses his memory or anything like that, he just seems to, without prompt, revert back to Toy Story 2 Buzz in order to contrive a reason for him to interact with the main plot.
The villain was great. I don't want to give anything away but we had a very solid, believable antagonist in this film. In fact, a great many of the new characters stood out in my mind: Key and Peele's Ducky and Bunny, Keanu Reeves's Duke Kaboom, and although he didn't get much screen time, Snow Gear Combat Carl was uncomfortably relatable (you'll get it when you see it). Bo Peep is back, and cooler than ever before. So cool there will be a lot of misogynistic backlash for this film, so extra points for that.
I really haven't got a lot of bad things to say for this film. Aside from the Buzz bit, it really is perfect, and leaves my made up Pixar legacy intact.
Written by Kyle J./Mooscittles