Gorgeous animation and a heartfelt story aren’t enough to justify bringing back this franchise, even if it might too difficult to pass.
Woody, Buzz and the gang go on a trip with new owner Bonnie. When her new self-made toy is lost, Woody embarks on a journey to find him again, where he might have an unexpected reunion.
Josh Cooley directs this time around, and as mentioned above, he provides the franchise’s biggest and most beautiful animated sequences, in what turns out to be an overall gorgeous film. Another big positive is, as expected with these films, the voice cast, with both Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, especially the former, providing excellent voice acting and accurately portraying the character’s emotions.
However, despite all the pros, the film never quite reaches the heights of what this saga has achieved before, especially the third one, which is especially notorious given that film’s closure (seen originally as the ending of a trilogy of films). I often found myself scratching my head as to why Pixar, a studio so focused on creativeness and storytelling, would go back to this franchise and potentially let the ending go to waste. While I don’t necessarily agree that the ending is ruined because of this film, it does make it much less impactful knowing what comes after.
As the film ended, I realized what they were trying to do with the story. The messages are profound and in some cases heartbreaking, delving deep into Woody’s personal struggles with a story reminiscent of films like “Logan”. While all of this is good, in the end, it doesn’t really feel like a complete Toy Story film and more of a “Woody” film. Before, one of the great strengths of this franchise was about family and friendship above all, and while I don’t think this entry betrays that specifically, it does make me feel unsatisfied about where some characters end up by the end of this film.
It’s, overall, an adventure that is very amusing sometimes but ultimately inconsequential, taking some of the punch off of the last film’s perfect ending, even though it does feature a very poignant and deep reflexion about life and specifically how it relates to Woody that can make you enjoy it for what it is.