WillDraugelis’s review published on Letterboxd:
To infinity and beyond. That is how far I am willing to go to follow and support the Toy Story franchise. Toy Story definitely has a serious case to make for not only the best active franchise, but also the greatest to ever exist. Toy Story just doesn’t miss, they went four for four in terms of the main franchise and now one for one with spinoffs. And while this movie might not touch the heights of that original trilogy of films, it falls right in there with Toy Story 4 in just being a good movie. And if you watch very many of the new releases that have been coming out, that alone seems to be a tall task now-a-day.
This movie has a lot that it does right and a few things that I think are sort of keeping it out of top tier Pixar. But the interesting thing is with almost every thing that could’ve been improved on, there is stuff there that it’s still trying. The original toy story came out in 1995 and this is a movie set in that universe, I think it could’ve been cool to have some older animation style and make it feel like that original movie. Don’t get me wrong, this movie looks absolutely gorgeous, the animators on this one deserve a raise for sure. I just think it could’ve been a very interesting artistic decision to have a little bit of throwback animation.
The characters in this were also I thought were pretty well done. Buzz Lightyear is Buzz Lightyear at this point and although this is a different version of that character, it’s still the same Buzz we’ve come to know and love. The Hawthorne girls were also very well done, and I think they are right there with Buzz as the heartbeat of the movie. The villain is a spoiler, so I’ll just say it was more intriguing than I thought it was going to be as the movie progressed. There are also two other characters, one voiced by Taika and the other an older man character seemed like overkill to me. These two would be meant in most movies to be the characters that stole the movie, but we already had that character and didn’t need other characters trying to steal that character’s spotlight.
And I am of course referring to Sox’s when I talk about the character of the movie. Not a single person will leave this movie not being absolutely, 100% in love with that cat. And that is coming from someone who is a dog person, this movie made me like cats. Every single moment in this movie that made me chuckle and almost every moment that made me smile was because of Sox. Which brings me to my biggest beef with this movie, and it’s that, why didn’t Andy have a Sox toy? There is no way, no how, that if this was a movie that Andy went to see and made everyone rush out to get a Buzz toy, that he wouldn’t have a Sox toy. I guess good problem to have if you are writing this beloved of a character, but I’m also a little mad that I never got to see Sox interact with the rest of the toy story gang.
Is this movie as deep and connectable as those original Toy Story movies? No, I would dare to say it isn’t even close to the levels that the original trilogy was able to achieve. But that is an incredibly high bar to meet, and if I just held every film I saw to those standards, then I would just probably hate every single movie. But in a day and age where we are getting terrible after terrible blockbusters, is this an incredible breath of fresh air? Yeah, it absolutely is, I mean it is a film that anyone of any age will be able to sit down and enjoy. This is the best mainstream blockbuster film that I have seen in probably the last 3 years or so and I’m just so glad to see Pixar/Toy Story still committed to making good movies. If they keep making them, I think I speak for the moviegoing audience when I say, we’ll keep seeing them.