Wednesday, January 29, 2020

In Retrospect: Toy Story 4

I think I take more issue with this movie now than back then.

Now really and truly I did not like how Toy Story 4 ended, but the rest of the movie was fine and dandy. It had no mistakes in filmmaking but the characters and the story itself were not done great. I'm just gonna say it and you can switch the review off, but this movie should not have existed. Toy Story has already ended, this movie truly does ruin the emotional impact and importance of the third movie. Now before I can fully dig into that, the characters must he addressed. More specifically the writing, I hate, hate, hate, how they handled the characters in this movie! The majority of the cast that we have seen film after film is not used hardly at all, Jessie has no input or importance, nor Rex, nor Slinky, nor the Potato Heads, not anybody. They are all just there because you can't have Toy Story without them. They make Buzz an absolute moron who doesn't even know what a conscience is, and completely betrays his character growth and personality which has been built up from a solid trilogy. They bring back Bo Peep and make her some strong independent action woman....? May I ask why? I didn't see much damsel in distress tropes from her in the first two movies, and I do know she has been on her own surviving for a good few years but I just can't accept her as this type of character. It seems wrong with her, if it was another new toy we met and got to know in this movie, kind of a antithesis of Lotso, an abandoned toy who dusted themselves off and started living for themselves instead of a kid and went on adventures and was kind of a seasoned badass, that would be cool. I would be fine with that. Now granted they do actually achieve this in a way with Gabby which leads to my next point. Every original character that we have grown to see in the first 3 movies is terribly written, however the new characters we meet (all 5 of them by the way) are handled way better and are actually my favorite characters of the film. Well...okay, screw the stuffed animals I was having Transformers 2 flashbacks, Keanu is fine, the tiny cop is fine, but with Forky and Gabby good lord that writing! Granted the idea of a child literally creating a Frankenstein mish-mash toy is a can of worms I'm never opening up, but to see it put in action works. Forky is beloved, his innocence, charm, and humor are spectacular and I really do like the analogy that Forky can be seen as a special needs kid, and they don't treat him badly or bully him, they just work with him in his own way. It's not flat out said, but you can see it that way. That is good character writing. Gabby is a very good character, she's only percieved as a villain but is actually a good toy who genuinely wants to love and be loved, again kind of an opposite of Lotso but she wasn't angry just very sad and wanted to be better. Like whoa, this movie actually has very emotionally complex writing. Nobody is just black or white, people can change and grow and adapt, sometimes hard decisions must be made but can benefit you as a person, don't be troubled by failures of the past but aspire to do better the next day, this can be huge stuff to a very young child! Which leads us to Woody. Ah, I can hear the crackling torches and sharpening pitchforks now. Woody is not a good character in this movie but, and here comes the big one: Woody has always been a horrible character. Does that I mean I hate him? No. But it is painfully transparent what his flaws are. Every single movie, every last one of them, has Woody reverting to how he originally was. He never grows, he never changes, he never betters himself. He is always the toy who puts himself first above others, the clingy, entitled, and let's be honest here jealous cowboy ragdoll who constantly wants his way first because he considers his decisions to make him right all the time. You see his dedication to Bonnie but he's not doing it for her, he's doing it to elevate himself, he has to keep Forky safe to be in good graces with the girl. So why do I hate so much that he decides to abandon his friends, abandon his kid, and decides to go on his own adventures because he wants to be selfish and do things his way? Oh wait. And that completely breaks the bittersweet ending of Toy Story 3, he hates seeing Andy go but he's happy to be with a kid anyways. Not anymore! See you later sucker, have fun with your spork! Now if you'll permit me, I just want to talk about Disney for a moment. What in the name of the seven dwarfs are you doing? With Star Wars, I get it. There are so many characters, and so so many stories you can tell with Star Wars or Marvel even, there's potential for countless stories to be told. Toy Story is not one of them. You cannot make a neverending movie series on Toy Story. Now maybe you're not, but what in the cinnamon toast f*** are you going to do next? Please, enlighten me. I'm almost stunned rigid I haven't seen a trailer or a rumor about "Bo Peep: A Toy Story" movie being made detailing the 9 years we haven't seen this character in continuity. Who are you going to follow? Is it gonna be Woody and Bo Peep on endless adventures meeting new toys and friends? Well if you do that you're completely neglecting and to be perfectly frank, throwing the other characters into an incinerator like garbage! And if you follow Buzz and the gang, you're not gonna see Woody anymore. And people will hate that. Are you just gonna retcon it in the next movie with the whole cast meeting up in like 3 months time and they all decide to be together again? Do you see my issue with this movie's existence? It is not a bad movie, I'd say it's a good movie with many flaws, but it shouldn't exist in the first place. We can imagine the after credits of Bonnie with the toys, and take comfort in that when we leave the theater. But now there is going to be Toy Story movies until I am a bitter old man (Too late.) and I am not looking forward to it. Toy Story 5 could be the movie to overthrow Citizen Kane and Vertigo, and I still would never watch it. Disney is in a rough patch right now, The Incredibles 2 was far too little far too late, Toy Story 4 is a betrayal of the first three movies and kickstarted a possible plethora of unnecesary bad sequels, Frozen 2 has gotten a very lukewarm reception and not all that loved, and the live action remake machine has not been dismantled and thrown into an active volcano. I'm genuinely scared Disney is going to tank, and tank real soon. I mean it did before but that was way before my time, and Disney has been making unbelievable films for over 80 years. It's been 84 years (almost), and they need to re-evaluate, cut the pandering demographic bullshit and just write good characters, leave the live action remakes at the point of impact of a nuclear bomb, and maybe focus a little less time appropriating other studios and just focus a little more on their own.

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