Toy Story 4 REVIEW
Toy Story 4 REVIEW
Director: Josh Cooley Cast: Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz), Annie Potts (Bo Peep)
Running time: 100 mins. Censor rating: G (‘some scenes may scare very young children’)
It doesn’t compare to the brilliance of Toy Story 3. CHARLES JAMESON tries to figure out just why Toy Story 4 is so disappointing.
I’ve watched many children’s movies over the years. Part of you know, that parenthood thing. I’ve seen forgettable ‘meh’ stuff (Sing, The Secret Life Of Pets) along with the lousy and totally over-rated (Moana) and the brilliant (Lego Batman, Toy Story 3). Occasionally, I expected to endure a film that turned out to be quite good (Frozen).
For Toy Story 4 I had high hopes given its predecessor was exceptional. It had a complex plot, in-depth characters, pathos and humour (e.g. Ken’s hilarious fashion show to Chic’s ‘Freak Out’), involved a broad range of characters, and took it’s time to tell backstories. It was all kind of Shakespearian.
In short, it had heart and soul, and memorable, funny (and dark) scenes. And it triggered genuine emotion.
Toy Story 3 is completely devoid of these attributes. But why?
It plays like a stretched-out short story, and not in a good way – more in a ‘let’s get this over with’ kind of way. It seems rushed, under-cooked, as if we’re seeing a version based on the first draft script.
It’s set mostly in one location, and this latest (and probably final) Toy Story instalment focuses on just a few characters. Many of the previously up-front regular characters are now just bit parts in the distant background.
Which is unfortunate, considering the ensemble success of Toy Story 3. Instead, in this movie we are mostly now just looking at Woody, and his ‘mid-life crisis.’ And along with the adventurous gung-ho Bo-Peep, and newbie character Forky.
Sadly, Buzz Lightyear gets a very minor (and very bland role) this time around. Nothing as memorable as his Spanish persona episode in Toy Story 3, unfortunately.
On the plus side, this movie’s animation, lighting and visuals are all stunning. But what’s lacking is heart. Everything seems rushed, superficial, under-cooked. To me, it lacks the narrative care and attention of Toy Story 3.
This new one has almost no memorable scenes – either funny or dramatic. Yes, there are some new characters, but I didn’t find them engaging or funny.
I won’t bore you with re-hashing the movie’s storyline. Suffice to say, it’s fairly simple this time around. And issues resolve much more quickly and predictably than previously. There’s not the intrigue and mystery you might expect.
The best part of Toy Story 4 are the end scenes. It’s poignant, and handled well, but I won’t be a spoiler. And if this whole movie series ends here, it brings a suitable conclusion.
Sadly, Toy Story 4 doesn’t deliver. At least, if you were expecting something as in-depth, funny, dramatic and brilliant as Toy Story 3, it doesn’t. It’s just okay, a typical family entertainment, which means that plenty of kids and adults will probably like it.
If you’re planning on seeing it, just don’t get your hopes up.