This is a tribute to Toy Story 4. Woody may have ultimately flipped on his final decision last time but he did well to survive the gauntlet of horrors with everyone after his voice box. Dory probably wouldn’t have been able to have stayed cool under pressure like that and I think she would have eventually gone down. That’s why I have to put Woody above her in a fight. Woody wins.
This is a tribute to the Snake Eyes film. While he may not have looked as good as anticipated, I would say he still did well overall. Woody’s definitely not going to be able to take this guy on in a fair fight. Snake Eyes just has far too much speed and skill with a blade to be taken down. He has the advantage for sure. Snake Eyes wins.
This is a tribute to Toy Story 3. Woody looked pretty good here and ultimately decided to choose loyalty above all else. He is a natural born leader and among the toys, it’s possible that he is one of the strongest ones. Either way he should be able to defeat Hamm here. Hamm talks a good game but he wasn’t exactly built for combat and doesn’t have Woody’s lasso skills. Woody wins.
Time for the final Toy Story adventure. At least from the main films as there are still spinoffs to check out. Toy Story 3 was and still is the definitive title in the series. 4 does its best to follow suit and it is nostalgic to see the old characters again but ultimately it doesn’t match the first 3 titles. I’d still call it a good movie in its own right but it probably would work best as being right before 3 instead of after.
The movie starts with a flashback where we see how and why Bo Peep left the house. Andy’s sister was planning to get rid of Bo so she hid in a box and allowed herself to be taken away. We cut to the present where Bonnie is slowly growing out of her toys and Woody isn’t being played with much anymore. He isn’t the leader of the squad anymore since that’s the job for Bonnie’s main toys so things just aren’t as smooth as they used to be.
At school, Bonnie creates a toy of her own named Forky. This toy wants to die which is pretty dark for a kid’s film but Woody forces him to stay in the game and tried to teach Forky why he must now act like a true toy. This would be a 15 minute film except that Woody then sees Bo outside. It turns out that she is a lost toy now who just roams around. Woody isn’t thrilled to hear about this but Bo actually likes the setup. She now has a lot of freedom to do whatever she wants whenever she wants. Woody must now decide if he wants to stay with her or go back to his life of being neglected at home. Additionally, there is a girl named Gabby who wants Woody’s voice box so he has to be careful.
That’s the main plot but we also have a sub plot for Buzz and the rest of the old toys. Buzz leads a rescue mission to find Woody but the problem is that he isn’t very smart anymore. He forgets how to think for himself and also doesn’t realize that he is a toy anymore so he listens to his own sound box. It’s a very odd subplot and I can see why many would say it was a waste of time. It’s nice seeing the old characters but this guy doesn’t act like how Buzz used to. It’s a pretty big contrast especially after watching the first three films back to back.
The Woody plot is really the meat and potatoes of the film. In the third film he decided that living as someone’s toy was his ultimate dream. It didn’t matter if they would eventually grow bored of him because one day he would go on to the next owner and the next. Well, here is has to actually follow through on that and you can tell he is starting to have some regrets. Bonnie doesn’t really care for his toy as much as the others and being stuck in the closet every day is no fun.
Bo makes a valid point that being a free toy is even better because you can play with the kids when you want to and then just do your own thing as well. It’s the best of both worlds and it might be a bit more dangerous but there’s never a dull moment. I’m cool with Woody seeing the light here and it’s an engaging plot.
The movie also does a good job of making Gabby appear to be an intimidating villain. She has nothing on the guy from 3, but she’s tough and has her own army which is cool. The film even lets her scenes get rather dark with some ominous music and a few jump scares happening during her moments. She is respected so much that nobody dares go against her. Now that’s a lot of props.
From the new characters, the weakest one was definitely Forky though. Even by the end I was not a fan of this guy. You definitely can’t count on him when the chips are down and all he does is get in the way. He’s constantly running for his life so I could have done without him. The gag of trying to jump into the trash wasn’t funny after a bit. He did have some good lines though like when he called Woody trash.
Bo isn’t a new character but she might as well be since this is her first big appearance. She was definitely a blast and one of the highlights in the film. She has a lot of confidence now as well as experience. She’s come a long way from her old days as a toy and it shows. She’s a good example of positive character development.
There’s Duke who is a fun character. The guy has an emotional backstory to be sure. Still, Duke has tried to move past that and is still good at his car tricks. He doesn’t appear until fairly deep into the film but he looks good. Finally you have Gabby. As mentioned, she’s a decent villain. She doesn’t stand out as much as some of the others but she definitely does have a commanding presence.
The humans probably get the smallest role out of the 4 films and I am definitely okay with that. Bonnie appears for a bit and while I can’t blame her for ditching Woody it would have been nice if she could have done something more in the plot. Not in terms of more screen time but with the moments she did get, maybe stopping some villains or something.
One thing I do question is how the toys seem to be able to move at will all the time. To me it always seemed like there was something built into the very nature of their being which prevents them from moving once the humans are around. It’s why everyone is so perfect about it. No human has ever discovered that toys are alive because they all know to stop moving immediately yet Forky breaks that rule by constantly trying to move. If not for Woody pinning him down the humans would have noticed. You also have Buzz actually moving his hands to keep pushing the buttons even while he was being held.
This can be explained as the toys just usually doing the right thing and staying still but to me the cleaner explanation was always that they couldn’t move. It’s easier to explain the humans never figuring things out if that was the case. This starts to get really into the details though so it’s not a big thing.
The animation looks pretty solid and definitely has the newest look out of all of them. The way the films show the toys is always impressive since they do look like the real things even while they are talking. The soundtrack is pretty decent as well with the danger themes popping up. The writing may be a step down from the first 3 films but at the end of the day the characters are still good and this should keep your attention.
Overall, Toy Story 4 couldn’t match up to the first 3 but with how good they were, maybe a drop was inevitable at some point. It did feel like the story was thrown together a little quicker with the old characters just going through the motions while Woody did all of the heavy lifting. At this point the cast was quite large so good luck remembering most of the new ones. You had these two birds who were quite intense in their plans of how to attack the old lady near the end of the film but I doubt you’ll remember their names. Bo is the standout character here with the fun banter she gets throughout. This is the kind of confidence you need when you’re on the run. If you’re up for a fun film with the toys then this is still a good bet. I doubt we’ll be getting a Toy Story 5 anytime soon so this may be your last chance to see them.
This is a tribute to Toy Story 2. Woody returns for another adventure and he still looked pretty good here. When you compare him to the other toys he still holds up as being a tough competitor. In terms of strength Nemo is pretty close to Woody, but Woody has weapons and gadgets at his disposal. Yeah they’re toy weapons but at this size they aren’t a bad idea. Woody wins.
This is a tribute to Toy Story. Woody has some pretty good techniques and while he may have been jealous of Buzz, he ultimately made the right call. Meanwhile Forky is one of those characters who I would say never quite made it all the way to being a cool character. He’s not as tough as Woody either. Woody wins.
Time to complete the trilogy! Toy Story 3 definitely came out quite a bit after the first two so it really looks a lot newer right from the jump. It’s definitely a big change in the status quo for the characters as well. Now does it defeat the first two films? On one hand it easily has the most action out of the 3 with a whole group of villains which was pretty intense. On the other hand you don’t get the fight between both Buzz’s. Hmmm….ultimately I would say this was the best in the trilogy although it’s close.
The movie starts off with a big homage to the first film. It’s the heroes all playing around in a classic wild west scenario only the graphics are way better than they used to be. We get explosions, boosters, and every cool gizmo you could want. We then cut to the toys being played with and it shows how good the kid’s imagination is. Well, it’s fun to reminisce about the old days but now Andy is heading off to college and isn’t really planning on bringing his toys. Why would he right?
Well, he plans on bringing Woody but everyone else is going to the cellar. Unfortunately due to a mistake, all of the other toys are sent to the junk pile where they narrowly avoid death. They decide to use this opportunity to go to the day care instead where kids will finally play with them again. After all the toys want to be played with rather than being stuck in the cellar. Woody disagrees with this and tells them to stay locked up in the cellar until Andy has kids some day.
Both sides are unable to come to a disagreement so the team splits up. Well, I say team but Woody is the only one who doesn’t follow them. He heads home but it isn’t a very smooth adventure as he ends up getting trapped at another kid’s house for a while. He has a good time there but ultimately needs to go home. Things should be smooth from there but he finds out that his friends may be in trouble.
See, the day care is run by Lotso, a powerful bear of big ambitions. He runs the place with an iron grip. See there are several rooms in the day care with one of them being for the little kids who don’t know how to play with toys yet. As a result this gets really painful for any toy who will be in that room. Lotso has it set up so the newest toys go there but when there are no toys available he forces others to go in and be destroyed. If Buzz and friends don’t find a way out soon then they will not be around for much longer.
Now, without knowing about the evil bear at the ready, I did agree with Buzz and friends about going to the nursery. Why stay in an attic where you may never be taken out again? Additionally there is no guarantee that they wouldn’t be thrown out eventually. That ultimately puts you in a pretty tricky spot. At least in the day care you figure there will always be a new group of kids ready to play with you every year.
Lotso just throws a wrench into that idea but I wouldn’t say it retroactively makes Woody right. Lotso is a very impressive villain though and definitely the best one in the trilogy. His origin story is pretty intense to the point where it feels like it could be a real origin story for a villain in something else. He was betrayed and as a result he has decided never to let that happen again. It’s all pretty intense.
Now you may have to suspend a little more disbelief here than in the other films because of how big this set up is. It’s hard to see Lotso actually having constant patrols, a toy at the security room, and the cages he has set up. Surely the school has some night staff or a night watchman right? The toys were doing a whole lot of things here unsupervised. Lotso basically created a kingdom so the school needs to step it up.
Not a big deal though since you could rationalize this if needed. Meanwhile it gives Woody a pretty good subplot since he gets to look really good in his rescue attempt. There’s a good amount of danger here as well since toys are actually dying and being dismembered here. It’s still a family film and all so it’s not violent in the sense that they don’t feel serious pain. Everything is more like a dull pain no matter what happens but it’s still pretty horrifying from the perspective of the toys. Woody can’t waste any time in getting to them.
There’s a pretty popular fan edit where someone cuts out the rest of the film after the scene where the heroes are falling in the quick-sand pit. It would be quite a dark ending there. We get a pretty wholesome one though that ends the film on a pretty high note. It’s hard to see this one being surpassed in the 4th but if it can pull it off that would be cool.
Most of the characters here are the same as always so you can expect a lot of good dialogue and character moments. Barbie gets a pretty big role as one of the new characters though. She is quick to side with her friends when she realizes that Ken is acting fishy which I appreciated though. She wasn’t going to buy any of his false stories and that’s the difference between a big player and a bit character. In a sense she replaced Bo who didn’t get to appear in this film.
Now there is one question that the third film sort of makes you think about. Since the toys are so desperate to be with Andy why don’t they just talk to him? That is never really contemplated so you have to assume it isn’t possible but then why even bother staying still? It seems like they think it’s possible for the humans to see them move so talking shouldn’t be out of the picture. Unless there is an official explanation for this, I have to assume that there is some kind of serious taboo that prevents this. Perhaps if you try to talk to a human you die instantly? Maybe it’s a Wixoss type enchantment that prevents you from revealing your existence unless the person already knows about it? I’d like some answers on this…maybe the 4th film can delve into it a bit but that’s my head cannon until it’s revealed. The toys can’t say anything because they would immediately die, it’s a universal rule of the world itself which cannot be broken.
Overall, Toy Story 3 is a nice way to end things out. The characters all had complete character arcs and had to accept that things would change some day. Staying with Andy may not have been a bad move but at the same time they wouldn’t be played with a whole lot and that seems very important to the toys themselves. The whole phone angle wouldn’t work and Andy wouldn’t even be home for a while anyway. Lotso really made for an imposing villain and the scene with the gang surrounding Buzz and taking him down was ominous. Seeing Buzz then attack the heroes while he was mind controlled was emotional as well. This one really escalated things to a whole new level with the drama which worked really well while keeping in the strengths from the first two titles. The 4th film has big shows to step into here.