BEIRUT: Almost a decade ago, the tale of the world’s favorite toys came to what we all thought was a proper conclusion, when Andy, who was about to move on and go to college, gave away his toys: Woody, Buzz, Jesse, Rex, and Co., to a young girl named Bonnie.
With a tip of the hat from Woody, and a heart-breaking “thank you” from Andy, the world collapsed into tears as those of us who grew with the films, all bid our childhood goodbye and journeyed onto adulthood.
As years passed, we healed and life progressed, until Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation threw us a plot twist when they announced that a fourth and now for real final installment would be released in 2019.
Old wounds opened, and confusion arose as the world attempted to understand what story was left that needed to be told.
TOY STORY 4, sees Woody now being in a new room, with new toys and a new kid, and follows Woody as his purpose is tested and so is his loyalty not just to his kid, but to his friends, and most importantly to himself.
Sure, on the surface this seems like a great story, but that is not the main issue.
The argument here is not whether or not the film was a good film, because the answer to that would be a direct yes, it was great; the argument here is what did this installment add to the franchise that we hadn’t already seen, was a story that needed to be told?
This is a clear add-on from the studio to build off of their recent formula of nostalgia-heavy movies, that may not last with you after you’ve seen them, a sort of two-hour trip down memory lane, where you laugh, you feel warm and fuzzy, you may shed a tear or two, but after its done, you move on with your life.
Though this may be the current state of things, this never used to be the formula before, films were meant to stay with you, scenes were meant to be memorable, and the stories we watched were meant to touch us, move us, and inspire us.
TOY STORY 4 does upgrade the visuals to a level of such powerful realism.
In this movie, there are shots that are staggeringly realistic. So, if Woody and Forky are running through the antique store, it feels as if a human is holding the camera low so that the audience sees it from a human’s point of view.
Yet, with all these technical advances, the franchise trips when it comes to the narrative and once the credits start to roll, something feels missing.
The adventure is there, the humor is there, the characters are there, even some of the heart is there, but strangely enough, the magic is not.
Sure, there are some minor magical moments like Gabby Gabby’s character arc, and Forky’s realization that is he a toy and not trash, but overall the film does not feel like a Toy Story film, but more like a spin-off movie within the same realm with our beloved characters.
At the end of the day, TOY STORY 4 is an enjoyable yet forgettable epilogue to a tale that ended years ago when Andy passed his toys along to Bonnie and a bittersweet goodbye was shared between to lifelong friends.
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