Tag Archives: Tim Allen

Toy Story 4 (2019) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
Tony Hale as Forky
Keegan-Michael Key as Ducky
Jordan Peele as Bunny
Madeleine McGraw as Bonnie
Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby
Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom
Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples
Jay Hernandez as Bonnie’s dad
Lori Alan as Bonnie’s mom
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Director: Josh Cooley

Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.

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Toy Story 4 was a movie I think everyone wasn’t sure how to feel about when it was announced years ago. 9 years ago, we had a perfect conclusion to the series and so it’s difficult to think of a way it could’ve possibly been ended any better. It didn’t help that everything from the trailer just looked like a generic, random and pointless adventure with the familiar characters. So outside of the positive reviews, I wasn’t expecting much going into the movie. To my surprise however, they actually managed to pull it off.

From the trailer Toy Story 4 just looked like a simple adventure, and it is that but it’s pretty entertaining. It doesn’t have a scene even coming close to the incinerator scene in 3 in terms of intensity or emotion. 4 overall feels more like a quieter epilogue taking place after the large scale and epic third act with 3. It has pretty much all that you’d expect from a Toy Story movie, it’s genuinely funny and emotional, and once again works for both children and adults, while not dumbing things down for kids at all. It even has some parts that adults will only pick up, both in terms of story and comedy. They even somehow managed to sneak in a music cue reference to The Shining. It also has a surprisingly fitting end, even more so than Toy Story 3. There’s always ways of bringing back movies for the series, but the way it ends makes it feel like it is final, and it I can’t think of a better way of the series to end.

Much of the main toys that we are familiar with are sidelined, only Woody and Buzz get substantial amounts of screentime. Woody (Tom Hanks) as a character is one of the best parts of each of the Toy Story movies and the 4th movie is no exception. It really focuses on him being sort of a father figure to the character of Forky, and it really shows how far he’s come since the first movie. I’m not exactly on board with what they did with Buzz (Tim Allen) in this movie. He became much less smart, and it wouldn’t be so bad if it was after the first Toy Story, but Toy Story 2 and 3 have established him as a smart leader (even in the first film when he believe he was a space ranger he was smarter than he was here). So it was a step backward for him as a character when he just really didn’t know what he was doing a lot of the time. Bo Peep (Annie Potts) in Toy Story 1 and 2 was just sort of there at the beginning and end of the movies and didn’t get to do anything, in 3 she was completely absent. However in 4, she plays a major role and gets far more to do here. Other than those 3 characters, the newer characters are highlighted more as well. Tony Hale plays Forky, the movie completely surrounds him. In seeing the trailers, I really feel like I wouldn’t like him at all, he seemed like he could’ve been easily annoying. However he surprisingly worked really well, and was certainly something fresh, we’ve seen new toys introduced but not one that was just created. I will say though that it feels like he’s reduced to a plot device in the second half of the movie. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele play a couple of plushies and their great comedic duo extends to animation form as well, they were among the funniest characters of the movie. Keanu Reeves voices Duke Caboom, a Canadian stunt driver toy and is about as great as you’d expect it to be. Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby who plays the closest thing to a villain in this movie, and some things happen with her character that you might not initially expect.

With every Toy Story movie, the quality of the animation increases immensely, and 4 is no exception. As an example, you might remember from Toy Story 3 that there was a flashback scene of Lotso that involved the rain, it looked incredibly realistic. Toy Story 4 opens with scene in the rain, and it looks borderline photorealistic. It’s an absolutely stunning looking movie from beginning to end. A lot of the familiar music heard in the series also reappear here, once again done by Randy Newman.

Toy Story 4 isn’t among the best in the series but it’s still surprisingly good and works as a final conclusion. Everything from the characters (for the most part), the animation, to the writing, the comedy and more is here. If you liked the other Toy Story movies, you should definitely check it out, even if you’re sceptical about it.

Toy Story 3 (2010) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Ned Beatty as Lotso
John Morris as Andy
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Blake Clark as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
Michael Keaton as Ken
Jodi Benson as Barbie
Director: Lee Unkrich

The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.

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It’s been 11 years since the last Toy Story movie, I remembered seeing it in cinemas but I hadn’t watched it again since. So watching Toy Story 3 recently was the second time I’ve seen it. On top of the animation looking absolutely fantastic, it takes some interesting story turns and directions. For a while it was the conclusion to the series, and it ended things off perfectly, which is probably why most people are so reluctant to the idea of a Toy Story 4, it’s hard to imagine a better ending to these characters and this story.

Considering that it had been 11 years since the last movie, it was very fitting that Toy Story 3’s story would be about Andy being grown up and moving on from the toys. I will say that so far it’s the least memorable of the series, but that’s probably because I’ve only seen it twice. It’s not really as funny as the other 2, but not necessarily because the jokes miss, just seem to be less of them, and I don’t really remember the movie for its humour (the Spanish Buzz Lightyear doesn’t always completely work though). Toy Story 3 is also significantly darker, even before it gets to the third act, and I really liked the places they took the story. The story with Lotso the bear running things at Sunnyside Day Care (where the toys end up) just gets darker and darker as it progresses. It eventually culminating in seemingly a sort of prison escape movie, and I really liked what happened in the movie overall. At an hour and 40 minutes long, it’s longer than the past movies but just as riveting. It also contains probably the most traumatic scene in the Pixar movie, I won’t say what it is for those who haven’t seen it, but it (and many other scenes in the movie) hit on a much deeper layer than the seemingly surface level scare and danger factor. And as for the end, I couldn’t think of a better possible ending for the movie and series.

The returning voice cast and characters return and are as usual good. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) and the usual cast, all work in their roles. It was also funny hearing Michael Keaton (who voices a Ken doll by the way) and Timothy Dalton (as a toy porcupine named Mr. Pricklepants) having some voice roles here. Lotso (voiced by Ned Beatty) is by far and away the best and most memorable of the Toy Story villains thus far. While it does the typical twist reveal of the villain that a lot of animated movies do nowadays, on the whole he was handled well in this movie. He is present throughout most of the movie, and has some form of backstory given to him as well.

Toy Story 2 in 1999 today still looks pretty good, not as good as most animated movies released today, but still on its own it looks great. However, you can really tell that Toy Story 3 was released 11 years later. From the very beginning the movie looks incredible, as it shows the scenario of toys being played with, however this time it’s different. We saw toys being played with in the two movies but you always saw what happened in real life, with Andy voicing the toys and all that. Here it’s like we are right in Andy’s imagination as we watch everything that’s going on. Even after that, from beginning to end, Toy Story 3 looks like it came out this year and not 9 years later, I can only imagine how phenomenal Toy Story 4 will look.

Toy Story 3 is a perfect conclusion to the series. It’s incredibly animated, emotionally satisfying and was overall everything it needed to be and more. Although I’m not certain about my ranking of the movies just yet, at the moment I’d say that it’s tied with Toy Story 2 as the best in the series. The Toy Story movies is one of the most consistently good movie series’, we’ll just have to see if Toy Story 4 lives up to its predecessors.

Toy Story 2 (1999) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Joan Cusack as Jessie
Kelsey Grammer as Prospector
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head
Wayne Knight as Al McWhiggin
John Morris as Andy
Laurie Metcalf as Andy’s Mom
Director: John Lasseter

When Woody is stolen by a toy collector, Buzz and his friends set out on a rescue mission to save Woody before becomes a museum toy property with his roundup gang Jessie, Prospector, and Bullseye.

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Toy Story was such a surprise hit when it released, no one knew that it was going to be as successful as it was. With Toy Story 2 being a follow up to an animated classic, it seemed like it would never even reach the level of the original. Yet against all odds, it managed to top it successfully on pretty much every front, it’s bigger and better.

It would be hard to match what the original movie did, but Toy Story 2 manages to still be a Toy Story movie, while doing some different things and keeping things fresh. Once again, they’ve managed to make an animated movie that adult audiences can like and appreciate (both in terms of story and humour), while still making it very much accessible and entertaining for children. This time it’s about Woody coming to terms with his mortality. Pretty much everything from the story, to the characters, humour and more are back here, and even improved on. And yes, it is more funny and entertaining than the first movie, I haven’t seen the 4th movie but I feel comfortable in saying it’s the most memorable entry of the series. It feels larger scale, with a few exceptions, almost every scene in Toy Story took place between Andy’s house and Sid’s house. This time there are more locations that the characters visit, and they get very creative with the scenarios and set pieces. The rest of Andy’s toys didn’t get a lot of screentime in the first movie outside of the first and third acts, but they are present here throughout. The story on the whole is still straightforward and easy to follow, but it feels like the scope has been expanded just a little bit, it feels like much more is going on. Toy Story 2 is a little longer than the first movie at about an hour and 30 minutes long but the pacing is just as good.

The familiar voice cast return and as usual really deliver. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen once again do solid jobs as the characters of Woody and Buzz. The familiar characters of Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky (Jim Varney), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Hamm (John Ratzenberger) and more return. As I said previously, with the exception of Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris), most of Andy’s main toys get a good amount of screentime throughout. We also have the additions of Jessie (Joan Cusack), Bullseye and Prospector (Kelsey Grammar), who add quite a lot to this movie (and the first 2 would of course return to the other Toy Story sequels).

The animation has very clearly improved within 4 years, and you can tell that the moment you first see a dog in the movie. It doesn’t look great but it’s much better looking than the dog in the first Toy Story. All the toys look good, with none of them looking off at any point. Same goes for the human characters, when they are close up to the screen they actually don’t look freakishly lifeless unlike the first movie.

Toy Story 2 is an improvement over the first movie, and it’s especially impressive considering that it actually encountered production problems (and was originally envisioned to be a direct to video sequel). Needless to say, if you liked the first movie even a little bit, you’ll definitely like the sequel. It’s truly a Toy Story movie while improving and expanding on everything in just about every way.

Toy Story (1995) Review

Time: 81 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head
Jim Varney as Slinky Dog
Wallace Shawn as Rex
John Ratzenberger as Hamm
Annie Potts as Bo Peep
John Morris as Andy
Erik von Detten as Sid
Director: John Lasseter

Woody, a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy names Andy, sees his position as Andy’s favourite toy jeopardized when his parents buy him a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Even worse, the arrogant Buzz thinks he’s a real spaceman on a mission to return to his home planet. When Andy’s family moves to a new house, Woody and Buzz must escape the clutches of a maladjusted neighbour Sid Phillips and reunite with their boy.

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As the 4th Toy Story movie is out now, I wanted to rewatch the original trilogy beforehand. The first Toy Story was such a massive hit upon its release, it was really revolutionary for its time, and all 4 of the movies are known as one of the best animated film series’. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll like the other Toy Story movies more, the first one is still really good. Dated animation aside, it still holds up well today.

The Toy Story movies are some of the best examples of animated kids movies that even adults can enjoy. They do much more than you think they could with a movie about toys, it’s pretty smart and creative. It is also genuinely funny. There’s even some well placed adult humour that only older people will pick up, and it’s not done in a way that feels forced or inappropriate (like The Cat in the Hat movie for instance), it’s concealed rather well. Then there’s also some way more mature story aspects that children wouldn’t pick up until they are adults. I mean it features a toy literally having an existential crisis after realising that he’s a toy. Toy Story is like an hour and 20 minutes long and works well with its runtime, the pacing is very effective, with not any scene feeling out of place or pointless. Storywise I can’t think of a single problem with it, they keep the story pretty straightforward and simple, and effective like that.

Toy Story has a memorable cast of characters, and the voice cast work perfectly. Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) are the main lead characters and work so well, they embody their characters really well. Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger and more make up the supporting voice cast and also play their roles well, even though their characters are featured much less than Woody and Buzz.

The animations are clearly decades old, and some aspects don’t look that great. But you can tell that with it being from 1995, that it was very revolutionary for its time. Thankfully most of the attention is focussed on the toys, which look better than everything else in the movie. Sure, some of the designs and looks can look very dated (Bo Peep amongst the worst cases, especially when compared to her design in Toy Story 4), but most of them work. When it comes to more familiar looking objects like cars it looks more fake, and the worst of it is when it comes to the human characters (as well as a dog who appears a few times), who really look unnatural, especially when they are close up to the screen. However, all of this is just something that you can come to accept within the first 10-20 minutes of the movie.

Toy Story 24 years later is still an animated classic. It’s great for both kids and adults, and grown ups will probably get more from it than children. If you haven’t seen Toy Story yet, you definitely need to check it out soon, and even if you’ve seen it before, it’s worth a revisit for sure. Even if some of the dated animation bothers you, the script, characters and voice work no doubt make up for it.