Toy Story 4 ★★★½

I’m sort of either or on this. 

As a Toy Story film, it works. It does. But that’s the thing, it’s so clearly a Toy Story film. In that, it goes through so many familiar motions that Toy Story has been leaning on for years. 

-Kid loves toy
-Toy gets lost somehow
-Big mad quest to get toy back and reunited with owner (pretty much the plot of all the other 3)
-Familiar themes of abandonment and loyalty and what it means to “be a toy” or “have a kid”

I don’t dislike it, it just feels recycled. That doesn’t take away from the film itself though, which even as a 23 year old watching I still really quite enjoyed. It had some genuine laugh out loud moments and some fun set pieces, and of course the animation is beautiful. It stands up on it’s own. 

I just really wish they had been more adventurous with the plot/themes instead of essentially just making Toy Story 3 again but in a different setting. If they’d really nailed that- would have been 5 stars all the way. But despite the outstanding animation, comedy and performances, I can’t put this above a 3.5. Teetering on 4 but I’ll maybe judge it again on second viewing, when I don’t have a grouchy crying kid behind me in a 9pm screening, sat next to a mother making zero effort to placate him. 

Maybe that’s what made this review so grouchy.