Toy Story 4 (2019)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Toy Story 4 (2019)
Rated G. Animated, Comedy, Action, Family Film
Academy Award: Best Animated Feature Film

Description (from the film case): Pixar Animation Studios proudly presents the adventure of a lifetime! When Woody, Buzz and the gang join Bonnie on a road trip with her new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky, the innocent little spork’s hilarious antics launch Woody on a wild quest filled with unexpected new characters—and one long-lost friend!

My thoughts: “To infinity…” “…and beyond.”

I’ve been following the Toy Story story and characters for a quarter of a century. And I’ve been nervous every time a sequel has come out, as second and third movies can be notorious for taking a good thing downhill and making you wish folks would’ve just left the original awesomeness alone.

Could filmmakers maintain this particular awesomeness for a fourth whole movie? Well. Turns out, they’ve done just that.

I mean, I could go on in detail about the amazing detail of the art and animation, the wonderful character development, the hilarity (and downright creepiness, sometimes) and action and relatability of it all. But what may get me most is that the Toy Story movies are just that: a story. Not just a nice little amusing tale, but a story of depth and heart, of excitement and nostalgia. Imaginative and highly accessible genius coming to life onscreen—four movies in a row.

Outstanding!

Whether or not you’ve been here the whole quarter of a century, be sure to watch the movies in order, if you can.

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The Incredibles (2004)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Incredibles (2004)
Rated PG. Animated, Comedy, Action, Family Films
2 Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature Film

Description (from the film case): Bob Parr and his wife Helen used to be among the world’s greatest [superhero] crime fighters, saving lives and battling evil on a daily basis. Fifteen years later, they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where they live “normal” lives with their three kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment.

My thoughts: Wham! Pow! Ka-BOOM!

Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that superhero-adventure-type films aren’t my usual cup of tea, but not only is this movie a lot of high-action fun, it’s also a great look at the question, “What do you do when the world around you says you can’t be who you are?” It also takes quite a look at what it means to be family, what it means for a family to be a team and how each member, from the oldest to the youngest, is a necessary part.

And if I were to say that my heart doesn’t clench during a scene or two whenever I watch this film, I’d be lying. 🙂

“When the time comes, you’ll know what to do. It’s in your blood.”

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Aw. Family life.

 

The Toy Story Movies (1995, 1999, 2010)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3 (1995, 1999, 2010)
Rated G. Animated, Comedy, Action, Family Film
3 Academy Awards between the first and the third, including Best Animated Feature Film (Toy Story 3)

Five Gold Stars

Description (from the first film’s case): As six-year-old Andy’s favorite toy, Woody (Tom Hanks), a take-charge, pull-string cowboy, is confident in his role as room leader. But after Andy’s birthday party, newcomer Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), a flashy space ranger with laser action and pop-out wings, crash-lands into Woody’s world. Buzz instantly wins the admiration of Andy’s other toys, igniting a rivalry that lands the duo inside the home of Sid–the toy-torturing boy next door. To escape Sid’s evil plans, Woody and Buzz must work together and realize they’ve got the perfect friend…in each other!

My thoughts: Somebody was thinking outside of the box, here–albeit, perhaps, inside of the toy box–to come up with Toy Story. I’d never read anything like it and had never seen any movie like it before this, but any kid who’s ever had toys has lived and imagined this story, in one way or another, and the three films’ fresh but strangely familiar take on the life of toys is what makes them brilliant, along with their very real themes of friendship and belonging, jealousy, nostalgia for the past, uncertainty about the future, purpose, and self-acceptance.

I know it’s no small task to make a movie sequel that’s on par with its smash-hit predecessor, and it’s even more challenging to keep the excellence going for three films released over a fifteen-year span, but Toy Story 2 and 3 are just as good as the first, the second and third including some pretty heartrending and gut-wrenching stuff that’s just flat-out superb drama.

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