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Toy Story 4

I'm conflicted. I really liked this movie, but feel it is still unnecessary and falls short in some key areas. Those key areas are keeping me from loving it and I find myself not a fan of the ending.

Andy is gone and the toys are now under Bonnie's control. She'll be starting school soon and is frightened, so she makes herself a new friend; Forky. Her parents decide to do one last trip before her school starts and on the way she loses Forky. Woody makes it his mission to get him back to her and along the way meets an old friend.

The opening sequence in this film is truly astounding. The animation itself had me wide-eyed. I'm talking about the rain. It looks so damn real that I am truly amazed at how far we have come with animation. Looking back at the original it feels clunky, but still works because they are toys. Even though these character look exactly the same, you can tell how detailed they really are with this film. We stop at a carnival of sorts and are introduced to some new characters. While none of them are as memorable as a Ken from Toy Story 3, they do manage to be fun enough for the story. Duke Caboom takes the spotlight here, voiced by Keanu Reeves. He's depressed that he didn't do what his commercial said he could, he let his child down and can't let it go.

Buzz Lightyear has a really odd character turn here. He questions how Woody knows what to do all the time and Woody says it's his inner voice telling him what to do. So Buzz decides that his toy voice button on his front is now his inner voice? It felt like he came straight out of the box again. His literally taking of inner voice seemed strange to me and somewhat out of character. Then we get to the ending; I know they wanted it to be extremely emotional, but I felt like it was empty. I had a more emotional connection to the ending of Toy Story 3 than this one. To me, this one felt unearned and makes Woody look bad.

Toy Story 4 also decides to sideline all the other toys. They sit in the trailer while Woody and Buzz have the adventure. I can't help but feel like this is a missed opportunity. I was interested in seeing how they would handle Mr. Potato Head, since the passing of Don Rickles. They didn't re-cast the role like they did with Slinky the Dog, instead they used old voice recording to get a new performance. He has maybe two lines of dialogue.

For what it's worth, this movie is good. It's better than it needs to be, but I just hope we leave these toys alone now.