Toy Story 4 (Spoilers)

Wow what a damn good movie.  I'm so happy the guys seemed to have enjoyed it just as much as I did.  These movies have so much heart and it's amazing how emotional a grown ass adult can get over a kids movie about toys but by god they did it again.  Highly recommend.  Guess this wasn't spoilery at all but spoilers are welcome.


  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    edited June 2019
    I've seen TS1 a bazillion times, and it's a movie I've liked more as I've become an adult. In fact, as I've deconverted from Christianity, Buzz Lightyear's arc has only become more compelling to me... the toy who dared to test his preconceptions, who endured the failure of that test, who embraced the innate absurdity of reality, and who eventually, with a little pep talk from his friend, realized that the true reality is he's actually extremely lucky. You don't need to be special, "called," to be #blessed. Gratitude can fly you higher than fanaticism. 

    Gawd I choke up just thinking about how beautiful that is. TS1 is a masterpiece.

    And that's without mentioning Woody's arc, which is also beautiful in its own way.

    Woody and Buzz are equals at the end of TS1. Only Woody had seen exactly how annoying Buzz could be. And only Buzz understood why Woody was acting how he was: because it is terrible to lose that feeling of being special. 

    For me, this is the OG Pixar crying scene.

    Missing from that clip is Woody going into his own depression: "As a matter of fact, you're too cool. I mean, what chance does a toy like me have against a Buzz Lightyear action figure? All I do is... [yanks his pullstring] Why would Andy ever want to play with me, when he's got you? I'm the one that should be strapped to that rocket." And then Buzz deciding to help.

    ... "You've got a friend in me."

    A little TS1 gushing before I write up my TS4 thoughts.
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    edited June 2019

    Here are my rankings/ratings for the movies:

    TS1 – 10/10
    TS2 – 7/10
    TS3 – 9/10

    If you think TS2 has a low rating, please watch it again. I did on Wednesday. It did not age well, and I suspect everyone was just surprised to have a not-bad sequel in 1999. The Woody’s Round-Up element is inspired, but so much of the movie is almost world-breaking with how they’re running out and about in broad daylight. This series began with Woody sending toy soldiers downstairs to inspect presents as a BFD, even resulting in a wounded toy. Sequels do better when they don’t weaken the peril and suspense of their predecessors. 

    TS3 is somewhat back into form with Woody trying to rescue the toys from the garbage truck as a BFD, although there are missteps.

    I realize I look cranky critiquing this, but I mention it because TS4 was back doing the same shit as TS2, and I don’t like that. I think it’s totally valid to not mind it, but I just happen to not like it. I think the Toy Story concept of toys being alive is really fucking cool, and I think it makes more sense when they’re timid about fucking around in the human world. Otherwise, why stop at saving toys? Why not start a fucking revolution? Wake up, toys!

    It's not wrong; it just weakens what victories they do achieve. For me.

    If the story must continue beyond TS1, I like the idea of ending on the note where Woody discovers self-sufficiency in TS4. However, I found the plotting to be lazy. It’s not Crystal Skull lazy, but it’s about halfway between that and what I’d consider to be solid. And it’s far from dazzling. It’s telling that a big chunk of the dialogue around this movie is about the animation. That’s what has dazzled people. Hey, did you notice the rain in that TS1 clip I shared above looks pretty damn good on the window, and the drop-refracted light plays on Buzz’s face? No, no one really talks about that with that scene. Hm.

    The good:

    • Bo’s development
    • After barely laughing once during TS2, it was a relief that this movie was funny. Being funny is important.
    • Woody’s empathy from Forky about how annoying Buzz was. That was some much-needed fan service for this fan. And of course you’d carry anyone after that.
    • The themes in the movie were a pitch-perfect development in the theme trajectory of the franchise. Forky having a “right to choose death” is deliciously dark and befitting, and perfectly complements a toy having a right to choose their own stories. Their… toy stories.
    • In a movie about people deciding for themselves how to live their life, how perfect that one toy wants to steal another toy’s inner voice, or guiding compass, in order to make their decision. To copy someone else’s dream in the hopes of achieving fulfillment; isn’t that what Woody has been doing, ie, "what toys should do"? Isn’t that what Buzz was once doing? Brilliant idea, but… (continued)

    The bad:

    • (continued) … it didn’t work. I suspect they were going to use Gabby Gabby to demonstrate why one should not adopt or steal another person’s dream, why one should accept one’s own inner voice no matter how shameful one might find it to be, but it would have looked too dark and punishing on the face of it. The fingerprints are there: she forced Woody into the trade by withholding Forky; she performed surgery on Woody; he was unconscious and had a disturbing post-surgery wake-up. You’re ready for Gabby Gabby to realize the error of her ways and be punished for pushing so many boundaries to find her happiness (as Woody was close to doing with Forky), and for that theme to get nailed down. But it’s obvious for whatever reason they didn’t want to go there. And to iron it out would have required extensive rewrites they didn’t want to do. They rushed it. She got rewarded. That’s terrible.
    • Woody is a good leader, Buzz is a good leader, but because Bo needs to look like a good leader Woody and Buzz have to look confused and child-like, respectively. There’s a better way to write that.
    • I’ve endured Buzz being played as a punchline for TS2 and TS3, and while TS4 was a marked improvement, I didn’t love the inner-voice gag. It’s Rex-level psychology. Buzz deconverted from a cult and is smart enough to know about inner fucking voices. The writers have confused a period of denial with a propensity for delusion.

    The in-between:

    • Ducky and Bunny didn’t work for me. They’re probably “not for me” so I’ll overlook that.
    • Of course I’m going to find all of the rental trailer breaking shenanigans to be also world-breaking shenanigans, as well as Woody running around a classroom.

    The best:

    • A solid hug between Woody and Buzz at the end. If you watch 2 & 3 (1999 and 2010) there are some major gay panic aspects (a forced relationship between Jessie/Buzz, a closing shot on both toys and both with romantic partners, etc.). I knew 2019 wouldn’t shy from depicting a platonic bond without shame and I wasn’t disappointed. Jesus, Woody even hugged him harder.
    • I fluctuated on my predictions of whether they’d abandon the Jessie/Buzz romance and I’m so, so glad they did. Only because it felt so insulting before.

    Verdict: 6/10

    I don’t fault people for liking this movie more than I did because my complaints are pretty high-level and holistic to the series.

  • edited June 2019
    Just saw it. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but I was surprised to hear Chris Stapleton do a short song during the credits. That was fun. Great movie.
  • the ducky and bunny plush run scene in the movie(not the end credits) was by far my favourite part. Me and my 2 kids were laughing historically as it played out. Watching the grandma go home, and show these scenes and you're just waiting for the plush rush is gold.... 
  • Loved it. Have seen 3 out of the 4 and this was my favorite. My son enjoyed it, and as I watched, I kept being impressed by how many movie tricks and homages were implemented in ways that non-kid movies struggle with. For example, I kept getting The Shining vibes when we first meet Gabby and Rupert. The Bichon stuff is predictable, but so well done. I thought the start was a bit slow, but everything had an emotional punch that I didn’t expect. I found myself both empathizing with my parents when they became empty-nesters, and finding a deeper meaning as role of guardian for my son, who will enter kindergarten soon. 
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