Toy Story No More

One of my favorite trilogies is Pixar’s Toy Story. I love the first three movies, the third being my most favorite, and I like the shorts they had. I was never interested in Toy Story 4 because, to me, they ended the trilogy perfectly. On top of that, Toy Story is one of those rare series where the sequels are better than the original. You cannot beat that! But they tried.

And in my opinion, they flopped.

The only reason I watched this film is my boyfriend likes it and wanted to watch it with me. I figure maybe I’ll be surprised, so I said yes and we watched it during a sleepover. I was surprised, but not pleasantly.

The only parts of this move I enjoy are the flashback montage at the beginning, and Bo Peep. I love her character, and I didn’t expect to because, while I have always liked Bo Peep, I never liked her more than any of the other toys (Jessie is my favorite, and Buzz before her). However, in my opinion, Bo Peep is the sole reason this movie is worth watching. She’s still not my favorite overall, but she’s my favorite in this film.

I can’t decide which is more annoying in this film: Woody, or the romantic plot. I never enjoyed romantic plots, even as a teenager, and ironically, they are more annoying now that I have my own steady relationship. But depending on how they’re done, they can be enjoyable. This one, however, was only a nuisance. And no, I don’t believe romance weakens an action girl (I just said I have my own!). My issue is when it takes over everything. Which it did here.

And that brings me to Woody. I like Woody in every film except this one because he is an utter idiot! I was glad Bo Peep called him out on his actions, but really, after the first scene with the antique shop, I could not stand Woody anymore. The entire movie after that scene happens because Woody is a blundering fool!

I am not trying to knock down those who love this movie, but you can’t say everything after the first scene with the antique shop isn’t Woody’s fault because the rest of the movie wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t go in there. He got Forky back, and finally convinced Forky he was valuable as a toy, so Forky is willing to stay. But after going through all the hell of bringing Forky back, Woody suddenly decides a tiny chance of seeing Bo Peep is more important than Bonnie, despite how much he preached that importance just a scene ago, and that we saw he still misses Andy.

This is what makes me hate romance plots. Yes, real people make stupid decisions in the name of love. But again, Woody’s stupidity is the sole reason the rest of the movie happens. And no, the resolution does not make me hate that less. At the very least, take Forky back to the RV before going into the antique shop. But the movie couldn’t exhibit Woody’s chronic hero syndrome if he used common sense. My point is there’s a difference between a single lapse in judgment and having the intelligence of wall plaster.

Gabby Gabby. I am enjoying the trend of movies with no villains, so I like that she is more morally questionable than outright villainous (kind of like Elsa in the first Frozen, though Elsa’s questionable actions are either unintentional or done with selfless intent), and I do like she finally gets an owner. I admit I felt for her when Harmony rejected her. But otherwise, I don’t think much of her. I like her for what she is, but that’s really all I can say.

I don’t like the ending, but with Woody’s obsession with Bo Peep, it was probably the best ending.

I do enjoy the film’s concept of lost toys, however. The previous films depicted not being loved by a child as a tragic thing, so it is nice that not all lost toys are devoid of hope and can have a good life outside of a child’s bedroom. At the same time, Gabby’s desire to be owned by a child isn’t shamed and is shown to be as valid. I see it as a metaphor for commitments (career, marriage, parenthood, etc) versus freedom. It’s okay if you want to be a free spirit and go wherever chance takes you, and it’s okay if you’d rather settle down into a more (presumably) comfy and stable life. Neither is better than the other, and neither makes you better than someone who chooses differently. We definitely need more “live and let live” messages in society. Even when Bo Peep calls Woody out on his actions, it’s his selfishness, his disregard for his actions hurting his friends, she calls him out on, not his need to help Bonnie (which he sees it as an attack of).

Speaking of which, I admit that’s another topic the movie does tackle well: toxic loyalty. In real life, relationships are (or should be) built on mutual love, trust, and respect. Bonnie no longer had interest in Woody, but Woody was still willing to go to ridiculous lengths for Bonnie’s happiness simply because he could not accept he isn’t her favorite toy like he was Andy’s. Through Woody’s stupidity, this is shown as a bad thing, and it’s what Bo Peep calls him out on. As much as I dislike this film, that is a very good message for kids: be wary of who you give your loyalty to. Yes, we’re talking about a 5 to 6-year-old girl and her toy, but close enough.

All in all, I give Toy Story 4 a plus for Bo Peep, its positive messages, and realistic child behavior. Everything else is a “meh”, and Woody is an absolute negative.

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