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Movie Review: “Toy Story 4”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Toy Story 4

Theatrical Release: 6/21/2019

Theatrical Release: 6/21/2019

Synopsis

Woody (Tom Hanks) was once Andy’s favorite toy, but those days are gone. He is now Bonnie’s toy, and he is struggling to find his place, as he is far from being her favorite. He decides to look out for her discreetly, so as not to be seen, but this soon becomes a very daunting task. On her first day of school, Bonnie created her own toy named Forky (Tony Hale), and while the toy is her favorite, he is also a handful.

He keeps trying to run away, and Woody has to keep stopping him from doing so, so that Bonnie does not lose her favorite toy. This is made exponentially more difficult when Bonnie’s family goes on a road trip, and Forky escapes the RV. Thus, Woody sets out on an adventure to get Forky back to Bonnie before she notices he is gone, and Buzz (Tim Allen) quickly goes after him. Along the way, Woody meets a bunch of new toys, but he also runs into a toy he never thought he would see again, Bo Peep (Annie Potts).

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

The New Toys (+4pts)

Andy’s Toys (-2pts)

Woody, Buzz, and Forky (+8pts)

Gabby Gabby (-2pts)

Bo Peep (+4pts)

The Plot (-3pts)

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Pro: The New Toys (+4pts)

Along Woody and Buzz’s adventures, we got to meet a bunch of new toys. Woody wound up in an antique shop, and he met a bunch of new toys there. The most notable were a doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), her ventriloquist henchmen, and the Canadian stunt-toy named Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves). Gabby Gabby was alright, I will get into her later, but I thought the ventriloquist henchmen were effective—with them being physically menacing but also moved in really amusing and creepy looking way, which made them work for a kids movie—and I thought Duke Caboom was a a lot of fun. Then there was Buzz who encountered two toys at a carnival. These two were Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele), who were a couple of stuffed animals desperate to find a kid to take them home. All together this new group of toys made for an entertaining collection of characters, and I thought the filmmakers did a decent job of managing them all.

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Con: Andy’s Toys (-2pts)

This movie gave me the impression that the filmmakers did not really know what to do with Andy's toys in this story. While Woody was off trying to find Forky, and while Buzz was off trying to find Woody, the rest of Andy's toys just felt like they were an inconvenience to the writers. However, rather than just keeping the focus on the Woody, Buzz, and their adventures, the filmmakers felt the need to keep cutting back to what the other toys were up to, yet it felt like the filmmakers were trying really hard to come up with things for them to do. This made them feel sort of like more of an after thought than anything else. The filmmakers did a pretty great job of introducing new, entertaining, and interesting new toys in a way that made them feel relevant to the story. The filmmakers also did a good job of integrating Woody and Buzz into that story. However, the characters that ended up feeling forgotten in all this were Andy's toys, as it felt like the filmmakers were trying hard to keep them off to the side and out of the way.

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Pro: Woody, Buzz, and Forky (+8pts)

Woody wanted desperately to keep Forky from getting lost, and to keep him from getting out of harms way, but the new toy was more than a handful. His obsession with trash provided a lot of laughs, and I liked how the filmmakers played with the concept of the character. Forky did not understand what a toy was, nor did he he really understand that he was a toy, so he did not understand why he needed to stay with Bonnie. This kind of introduced the same plot hole that was present in Toy Story, when Buzz Lightyear did not know he was a toy, but he still froze whenever people were around. That being said, I was more forgiving of it here, because of all of the comedic moments that came from the character's madness.

I also enjoyed both Woody and Buzz's stories in this movie. Woody was desperate to get Forky back, as Woody simply wanted Bonnie to be happy. He had moved on from being in the role of the favorite toy, and instead, was serving as a sort of guardian. However, I also felt that this mission served as a distraction for Woody, as he did not know what his purpose was anymore, and was trying to run away from facing that. Woody went on his adventure to get Forky back, and Buzz was simply too loyal a friend to let Woody do it alone, so Buzz was on his own adventure to help Woody. The plot of this movie was weak, but I entirely understood both Woody and Buzz's motivations, and I thought this went a long way in letting me look past the weak plot (for the most part).

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Con: Gabby Gabby (-2pts)

On one hand, I definitely did not mind the character. She was an effective enough antagonist, but she felt almost irrelevant to the rest of the story. It was almost as if the filmmakers made a rough story, then they remembered they needed an antagonist, so they picked a spot in the story where they could squeeze one in, and then they did just that. However, by doing so, they then needed to spend a good chunk of time on overcoming that antagonist. It was not that Gabby Gabby was a bad character, but her whole storyline felt like a huge tangent from the main story, and it made the whole character feel like an unnecessary distraction.

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Pro: Bo Peep (+4pts)

Bo Peep (Annie Potts) was not a huge character in the first two movies in the franchise, but she was a love interest for Woody, and was oddly absent from the third movie. During this movie, the filmmakers addressed what happened to her, and we got to meet back up with her after all this time. Without giving anything away, Bo Peep was a much more interesting character this time. She was a badass, as she had to pretty much fend for herself for all this time, but unlike the Bo Peep in the first two movies, Bo Peep in this movie actually had character development. It was not the type of character development that will really stick with you after the movie is over, but it made her an interesting character to follow while she was on screen.

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Con: The Plot (-3pts)

The plot for this movie felt almost non-existent, which made the events of the story feel random and not very engaging. Woody’s whole goal was to get Forky back, but Forky could not have cared less if that happened. He also was not going anywhere while the filmmakers shifted focus to Woody trying to overcome Gabby Gabby, which made the whole Gabby Gabby thing feel like a distraction. Fortunately, this movie had plenty of comedy, plenty of strong characters, and plenty of entertaining and exciting moments, which made up for the weak plot. However, at the end of the day, I think this movie would have been a lot better if there was a stronger plot to tie everything together.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B- (84pts)

Toy Story 4 was a decent movie. It was all about Woody trying to find his place in the world after no longer being Andy’s favorite toy, and I enjoyed that character story. I liked the role of silent guardian that he took, and I enjoyed the seemingly impossible task, which was trying to keep Forky in line. Forky was a crazy toy, but he provided a lot of comedy. There were also a bunch of other new toys that were pretty entertaining, and we even got to see Bo Peep again, who was more was far more interesting—and much more of a badass—than she was in previous movies.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed not to know what to do with Andy’s other toys—with the exception being Buzz—as they mostly kept them off to the side, only checking in on them periodically. I also thought the the filmmakers struggled to integrate Gabby Gabby into the main story, as she ended up feeling like a long tangent off of that main story, which was probably due to the main story feeling almost non-existent. Fortunately, the movie had enough comedy, entertaining characters, and interesting character stories to make up for a lot of the movie’s problems. I did not think it was quite as good as the last movie—or the first movie for that matter—but it was a decent kids movie that featured entertaining characters.