8/10 The franchise that kicked off the brilliance of Pixar returns with an installment we never knew we needed. I will be honest that I was very hesitant to get behind this film being greenlit since “Toy Story 3” was the perfect ending to the trilogy and I couldn’t think of any reason to bring these characters back. One thing I admire about Pixar is that they won’t rush out their sequels. They take their time at finding a (toy) story worth telling and then go for it. As per the usual with Pixar, the voice casting and animation couldn’t be stronger. From the glowing carnival lights to the cobwebs of the antique store to the glistening rain drops falling, Pixar continues to impress the Hell out of me with how gorgeous their films look. The lighting and visuals are stunning and breath taking to behold. Some new characters that were introduced in this film were so much fun to spend time with. Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key (more than making up for his disappointing “The Lion King” voice work), along with Keanu Reeves were the highlights when it came to not only the new characters but just overall characters in this film. There were some laugh out loud moments and some great writing on display here. Randy Newman’s score and new original song (“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away”) are both extremely underrated and I wish Newman did more composing for Pixar outside of the “Toy Story” franchise (I’m sure that Michael Giacchino would be grateful for a break). Like previous films in this series, the emotions and heart felt heart strings tugging that goes on will definitely make you feel like a kid again, in all the right ways. The ending definitely got me a bit emotional, showing the strength of how well these characters are developed. There are a couple negative aspects to this film that hold it back from being as great as some of the other “Toy Story” films. First off, the “x toy(s) has been lost/taken/is missing” plot that involves a rescue mission has been done multiple times in this franchise so to repeat that same element to move the plot forward felt a bit recycled and lazy. Lastly, after re-watching the first three films to prepare for this one, all three films in the series evenly split the running time between Buzz and Woody very evenly so each film feels like THEIR story. Here, Buzz Lightyear doesn’t have as much to do and feels like he is in 25% of the film, while the focus is heavily pushed onto Woody, giving him 75% of the film. Even the romantic subplot that Buzz had with Jesse from the previous film is completely abandoned and never mentioned. Woody is a great character but Buzz felt underutilized this time around. Despite some minor complaints, this was such a refreshing, high quality film after having seen multiple bad movies in a row. If they keep this quality level up, then I will happily watch a fifth film and keep playing with these well made toys.
#BosPeeps / #MorningWoody / #ReceivingGoodBuzz / #YoGabbyGabby / #CatchMeIfYouCanada / #LetsDukeItOut