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TOY STORY 4 Post-Release Discussion
#1
I couldn't locate an existing Post-Release thread, so if anybody wants to talk about this movie, here's a thread!  I just got back from it myself.

I walked in profoundly skeptical about the necessity of this movie’s existence. The first three TOY STORY films are excellent family entertainment of the highest quality, and they form an almost perfect trilogy that had a brilliant and deeply satisfying conclusion. So from the very moment a fourth film was announced, I was unconvinced that there was anything else that could be done with these characters that wouldn’t somehow weaken the beautiful wrap-up that 3 already provided.

It is a relief, then, to find that TOY STORY 4 - while easily the weakest TOY STORY installment - is absolutely still a heartfelt and quality endeavor. It even takes some gutsy and emotionally-challenging chances with how it uses its central characters, and that’s quite refreshing and should be applauded. Most importantly, this doesn’t feel like a pure cash grab (even though it clearly is to some degree); care was taken here to deliver a real, proper TOY STORY movie. It also has weighty and complicated ideas that it wrestles with, which makes it an intellectually-fulfilling experience, not just an emotional and visceral one. Fundamentally, the story grapples with this idea of coming to grips with outliving your usefulness, which is a HUGE concept to build a family vehicle around, thematically, so credit to the filmmakers for pulling that off. Also, everything involving the story’s antagonist, Gabby Gabby, is fascinating and challenging (in a good way), and - despite my concerns that it would be redundant - new territory for these movies. The movie's also terrifically funny in ways that should be appealing to almost anybody.

It’s an imperfect movie, though, more so than any of the first three TOY STORYs. The focus here is so squarely on Woody’s journey and headspace that the scope of the narrative shrinks down dramatically, and other characters are kind of relegated to supporting status (at least in the sense of not really having arcs of their own), which feels a little strange. And on the subject of that journey for Woody, I’m not fully sure I completely buy its trajectory and what the story has him engaged in. Personal mileage will vary, I’m sure. In fairness, the movie does do an excellent job of comparing and contrasting contrasting Woody with the varied perspectives of Bo Peep, Gabby Gabby, and Forky (who are all GREAT here), but I question the way it’s all resolved in terms of Woody’s psyche. I’m not saying it categorically doesn’t work, and it smooths out by the end, but I just don’t know how I entirely feel about it on a writing level.

But even with that taken into account, TOY STORY 4 is still very good cinematic comfort food, and it again demonstrates that when Pixar is at their best (or, in this case, at least solidly very good), they’re operating on a whole other level of quality and ambition compared to the other major animation studios.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#2
Having re-watched the original trilogy this week, I think this might be neck and neck with two for my favorite in the franchise. I do think this film focuses more on Woody, but I was surprised how much that is also true of the original trilogy. Buzz gets a pretty meaty role in the first, but his role felt progressively reduced in 2 and 3. This film probably has the least screen-time for Buzz, but I think gives him a clearer arc than he has in the other two sequels.

The characters that really suffer are probably the “old gang” of supporting toys from the prior films. Your Rexes and Hams and Potato Heads get almost nothing to do (though Potato Head is unfortunately probably a victim of Rickles’s death). Even Jesse really only gets a couple moments to shine. Ultimately, though, those characters arcs essentially ended in 3, and I think it is probably to the film’s credit that it focuses on Woody, who I think - as this film demonstrates- still had a lot more material with which to work.

On the topic of the ending, I found the emotional moments this one reaches for to land more effectively than 3. The holding hands in the face of the fire felt very emotionally manipulative in the last film, as I never bought for a minute they would die. And the Deus Ex Machina that saves them felt much too convenient. The scene with Andy works a bit better, but I think it plays more on the audience’s own nostalgia for their childhood more than it does with the characters in the film - especially since Andy is such a loosely defined character in the original trilogy. Ultimately, I view this franchise as Woody’s, so the ending here feels a lot more appropriate to me than that of 3 and makes me glad the film exists.

Couple other minor notes: I really liked Gaby Gaby. I afraid we were going to get Prospector 3.0, but I think they do some really interesting stuff with her than livens up the franchise. Bo Peep is also great here, after her being such a minor character in the first two, she really comes into her own. The humor also worked really well for me. Forky (and Hale’s performance) is the obvious highlight, but I thought Keanu and Key and Peele were also great in their roles. Keanu saying Rajon as he attempted his stunts got me everytime, and I loved the digressions with Key and Peele, especially the expertly executed “plush rush” sequence.

I will say, this does feel like the final possible entry in this franchise. I’m not sure how a 5th film could pick-up from the end of this film, with such a radically altered status quo. I didn’t think they would make a 4th film, necessarily, but I could envision how one could be produced at the end of 3 (even if the final result isn’t what I would have expected); I can’t really do that for a potential 5th film.
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#3
I really think they need to stop here. They pressed their luck and managed to pull off a very good movie with this one. They shouldn't try that again.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#4
Yeah, I loved this. I had a lump in my throat when Gabby got her happy ending and...well, you know.

Very, very funny movie too. Key and Peele stole the movie as the Carnie prizes. Good God, the mid credits scene where they went after the carnie absolutely destroyed me with laughter. Keanu killed it as Duke Kaboom as well ('Yes I Canada!')

Honestly, I'm not sure where a 5th one could go. Bringing them all back together again would diminish the impact that this film ends up having. Woody got his closure and it should really be left at that.
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#5
I keep thinking about Gabby more and more, and I really think she's one of the best characters in this entire series. If we're calling her the antagonist, that's definitely at least one area where 4 is unquestionably better than the previous movies. It's like they started with the same general template as the last two films, but finally got it right.

And also, DUMMY HENCHMEN! I mean, come on.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#6
Also, the animation in this is mind blowing. The opening rescue of RC in the rain, the carnival, everything. The gap between this and Toy Story 3 probably isn’t as large as the gal between 2 and 3, but it was still noticeable.

And just to be clear, I don’t want a 5th film; this does feel like the perfect end.
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#7
this is much more nuanced, intimate, and well told than 3

I enjoyed this very much!

andy sucks

he should be destroyed
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#8
(06-23-2019, 12:44 AM)Nooj Wrote: this is much more nuanced, intimate, and well told than 3

I agree with the first two parts of that. I think 3 uses pretty much all of the old characters better (except Woody), and the "prison break" template is a stronger hook.

It's tight, but 3 edges out 4 as an overall movie for me. 4 has A LOT more on its mind, though. Which is great.

2 and 1 are still the best.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#9
3 does have mr tortillaman going for it!
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#10
Thought this was fantastic. Much better than 3.

Key and Peele were great. The (same) different ways they attack the old lady really were fantastic. The last one especially. Loved Keanu too...”RAJON”.

Favorite little bit was the cold weather “Combat Carl” being left hanging on the high fives twice.

I can’t imagine them doing a 5th movie. But if they did, it would have to bring it full circle with Andy finding Woody again. Either that or a human finding out that the toys are alive.
"Every romantic comedy should just be called "Tryin' to Fuck" - Patton Oswalt
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#11
This seems like a surefire set up for a weekly animated series where Bo Peep's crew travels around and finds kids for lost toys.
My karmic debt must be huge.

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My blog: An Embarrassment of Rich's
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#12
if you stayed until the very very end of the credits, you get Duke Caboom being the one to squish the letter I in PIXAR and then finally giving that one combat carl the high five he so desired
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#13
(06-23-2019, 07:13 AM)Nooj Wrote: if you stayed until the very very end of the credits, you get Duke Caboom being the one to squish the letter I in PIXAR and then finally giving that one combat carl the high five he so desired

Well shit.  Guess I need to see it again.
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#14
Damn, I also missed that Combat Carl payoff!
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#15
My wife's favorite bit was with Trixie mimicking the navigation system. TURN RIGHT!!!!! Add in the gang messing with the brakes and you had a really funny sequence.
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#16
One of my favorite gags was Buttercup, the unicorn, wanting Bonnie's dad to go to jail.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#17
Key and Peele's mid credit scene where they attack the carnie was one of the single funniest things I've seen in a while. The earlier montage with the store owner was great as well.
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#18
(06-23-2019, 07:13 AM)Nooj Wrote: if you stayed until the very very end of the credits, you get Duke Caboom being the one to squish the letter I in PIXAR and then finally giving that one combat carl the high five he so desired

Awww crap. I knew I should have stayed.
"Every romantic comedy should just be called "Tryin' to Fuck" - Patton Oswalt
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#19
(06-23-2019, 11:07 AM)Judas Booth Wrote: The earlier montage with the store owner was great as well.

I'm glad that's a joke that built, because the trailer had given away a piece of it already. But there was more!

Also, loved the use of "Midnight, the Stars and You."
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#20
One of my favorite bits was the ventriloquist dummies acting as rotating watch towers on top of the display case. Just a really creepy visual enhanced by the design of the dolls. Also a great bit of detail to have them not speak.

There's more finality here than in TS3, but it also felt just as rote to me. 1 & 2 really seemed to say all that needed to be said about these characters; everything beyond that has been solidly enjoyable but not essential.

2-1-4-3, if you ask me.
My karmic debt must be huge.

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My blog: An Embarrassment of Rich's
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#21
Just got back from this.

Looks fantastic obviously, but the story, eh. Obviously this is Woody’s story and what his role in life is now, but it just felt... not as essential as the previous entries. A lot of it felt a bit cheap in regards to how they went about their business. Bo etc having that skunkmobile felt like a copout as did the amount of running around while humans were about also did - something that the previous movies went out of their way to write around was just tossed aside.

At the end where Woody makes his decision there was a guy behind us absolutely bawling his eyes out. When I saw him outside later he was being consoled by his girlfriend - he was in his late 20s, so I’m guessing Woody etc were his childhood toys too. At least this movie worked 110% for someone.
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#22
Toy Story 3 never felt essential to me

4 is the one that actually felt like Woody was going through something new.
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#23
For me each film got better, and this one broke the streak.

3
2
1
4

It’s fine, just not excellent. Was surprised by the ending for Woody, and it has strong moments as anything from the previous films, but as a whole... eh.
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#24
I don’t think it had any particular strong moment. Certainly not compared to the others.

Kind of felt like a Toy Story special rather than a main feature.
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#25
I thought the film was quite good. I didn't need any more Toy Story, but I really appreciated this film nonetheless. It was sharp, quite funny, and touching. I'm glad they made it, because it was a well told story, which is the reason to make any movie.
I'm not Avery.
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#26
(06-24-2019, 04:25 PM)Stale Elvis Wrote: I don’t think it had any particular strong moment. Certainly not compared to the others.

Kind of felt like a Toy Story special rather than a main feature.

the sequence where Woody helps Bonnie create Forky was wonderful

as was Gabby's final scene
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#27
Eh. They were short sequences. They weren’t exactly Wow moments.
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#28
hahaha, well they wow'ed me!

and if you think the furnace sequence in 3 was great, it would explain our general disagreement!
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#29
[Image: 2019-06-24.jpg]

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#30
The furnace scene. Jesse’s song. Both schmaltzy as fuck, but they work. People still talk about those scenes when you find movie connections with strangers. The whole of Toy Story was pretty memorable as the characters and whole concept was brand new back then.

Saw this only a few hours ago and I’m trying to think of a standout moment. Perhaps the creepy dummys.

One thing I did like was the treatment of Bo. Before this there was a big stink kicked up by the arse end of the Internet about how Bo was now being portrayed as a feminist icon, having ditched her dress for trousers and using her staff as a kickass weapon. I kind of rolled my eyes dreading what they might have done with Bo and hated the idea of some faux-feminist girl-power message shoehorned in there. Have to say I was completely on board with how they handled that character and how she was accepting and understanding of her new role and how she’d adjusted and had taken control of her own circumstances. *Thats* how you portray a strong female character.
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#31
Watching Bo in TS4 I could hear the cries of incels over a woman being more action oriented than a cowboy.
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#32
I haven't seen anyone complaining about Bo.

Her new role/function works so well (and it does) because it doesn't come at the expense of Woody's journey. It's squarely his concerns driving the action. Both characters complement each other, and both characters end up understanding the other's position better by the end, even if Woody moves closer to her than she does to him.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#33
(06-24-2019, 07:04 PM)Stale Elvis Wrote: The furnace scene. Jesse’s song. Both schmaltzy as fuck, but they work. People still talk about those scenes when you find movie connections with strangers. 

Schmaltz is not my problem.  I love schmaltz.  Jessie's song is the series' standout moment.

I take issue with the furnace scene because (as I recently mentioned in a similar facebook discussion about that scene) it reminds me of Michael Scott escalating every improv exercise with the threat of gun violence.

On its own, I think it's a very well realized scene of apocalyptic terror involving characters we've grown up watching over 15 years.  But in the context of the series as a whole, it feels like a overblown attempt to raise the TASTY STEAKS to levels beyond what felt suitable or necessary for 'Toy Story'.

Instead of merely being nuanced, small scale schmaltz like that of Jessie's Song... which symbolizes a kind of death via oblivion that's both relatable AND specific to the world of toys...

...the furnace sequence just goes for empty EPPPPICCCCCC spectacle that would be threatening to just about any kind of character (be it toy, human, transformer, jedi, etc).  ooooh-weeeee they're gonna burn aliiiiiiiive!  It only 'works' because the previous two movies already put in the work of getting us attached to the characters.

It's like Toy Story's version of DETHSTA3 or the LOST finale (at least we will die together with GOOD FRIEEEENDS!).   I think it's a lazy cheap trick.  Especially when they're saved by deus ex CLAW... and ESPECIALLY since the third movie was already largely a retread of the 2nd movie's themes anyway.  And don't get me started on creepy Andy and his chibi finale.  eugh... such an eric butts...

Toy Story 3 is a very JJ Abrams' take on the series.  Entertaining, but loud and empty (at least to me).  The Mr TortillaHead sequence was pretty great though!

Toy Story 4 grounds the series back to a scale that it's much better suited for through the strong character work via Woody's relationship with Bonnie, Forky, Gabby, and Bo (yeah, I loved how the film enriched that character after she was essentially a non-entity in the previous movies).

I barely remembered any of the new characters from Toy Story 3 beyond the repeat villain and the Ken doll gag.

I actually think one could go from Toy Story 2 straight to 4... and it would be quite a tight trilogy. Especially since the 4th movie basically covers the Andy/Bonnie transition in the prologue.

I detest Andy so much! The way the third movie suddenly tries to turn him into an actual character? Ptooey ptooey!
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#34
Still processing this. It's easily the most emotionally complex film Pixar has done since Inside Out. As someone who has been in business for himself for 20 years doing something he loves (photography), I often wonder what will happen when one day when I'm in my late 60's, God willing, when I'll no longer be able to do what I love. What will I do with myself. What would be the thing I'm supposed to do? These are surprisingly deep themes for a kids film and it's why I love Pixar. I agree it's not the strongest film of the series but it is still worthy of the prestige this series carries with it.

(06-24-2019, 10:21 PM)NoojI barely remembered any of the new characters from Toy Story 3 beyond the repeat villain and the Ken doll gag. Wrote: I actually think one could go from Toy Story 2 straight to 4... and it would be quite a tight trilogy.  Especially since the 4th movie basically covers the Andy/Bonnie transition in the prologue.

I detest Andy so much!  The way the third movie suddenly tries to turn him into an actual character?  Ptooey ptooey!

Yeah.   To be honest, part 3 is pretty unnecessary to enjoying this film.   In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Pixar wanted a do-over on part 3.   It feels like this film brings something new to the table and one could jump from part two to this one with no problems at all.   I certainly don't recall any characters from part 3 showing up in this.
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#35
Nooj why cant you open your heart to love?
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