Never fear, there are no spoilers here!
Pixar’s highly anticipated sequel, Toy Story 4, comes to theaters today! When I looked up showtimes last weekend, I discovered there were a few showings at select theaters the night before the release. So naturally I began plotting, set up a babysitter, and the hubs and I had a date night!
I felt a tiny bit guilty for not taking the kids, but 1) movies are crazy expensive these days (oh hi, I’m officially old now), and 2) the trailers showed Pixar employing some scary movie tropes and I was worried my sensitive kiddos would get frightened by seeing these for the first time on the big screen. Ultimately, I’m glad we didn’t take them because there were several moments I think they would’ve been quite afraid.
So, there were several negative factors that hit us going into this. First, we got our tickets online from Regal. When we booked our tickets, it showed there were only two seats left together, and they were in row A, the very first row. Being unfamiliar with this theater, I thought we’d be far enough back it wouldn’t be too big of a deal. I was wrong. We were just a few feet from the screen, and my neck still hurts 16 hours later. Thankfully the seats recline, but it was still uncomfortable. I was disappointed in Regal, because those seats are terrible, but also- there were tons of seats in the rest of the theater completely open, dozens of seats, and no employee told the first row we could move. The entire first row was packed, and we could’ve all easily had seats higher up without consequence. I should’ve just moved, but I was terrified someone would show up late and I would be in their seat. My theory is they only sell certain seats online and leave the rest open to walk-in purchasers, but they still could’ve told us we could move if those seats remained open fifteen minutes into the film.
I’m a total dork and I love movie trailers. So while I loved getting a longer glimpse at Frozen II (which was honestly just the teaser trailers combined with the recently released longer trailer), I was seriously bummed there was no Lion King trailer! I can’t wait to see the Lion King adaptation July 19, and was fully prepared and expecting to see my beloved lions on the big screen before TS4.
So, we’re in uncomfortable seats and there was no Lion King trailer- but that’s okay, because this movie is going to be great! And I can’t wait to see the short!
But…there was no short. No short film before a Pixar movie. This is the first time in 20 years that Pixar hasn’t shown a short before the film. I’m still a little crushed.
So, the movie itself…was underwhelming. Maybe my expectations were a little too high. I saw amazing reviews, and the trailers looked really promising. But I was terribly disappointed with most of it.
The new characters are hit or miss. I loved Key and Peele’s stuffed animals, and they provided most of the hilarious moments that had me laughing. The Canadian action figure has a few funny moments as well, and I did like this fierce version of Bo Peep. But the other new characters were lacking, from the adorably evil doll to her ventriloquist dummy minions. She wasn’t nearly as frightening as Lotso, and her character honestly just didn’t really make sense to me.
We also just don’t see enough of our favorite old characters for my liking. Even Buzz felt sidelined to me, with the most of the film being focused on Woody and Bo Peep. Rex hardly got to talk, the Potato Heads had maybe two lines, and the toys from Bonnie’s room were even minor subjects. They all feel a little like afterthoughts.
Woody seemed to act quite uncharacteristically, contradicting the character we’ve loved so well over the past twenty-plus years. His motivation is lackluster, and that makes everything else feel so as well. Even the emotional depth was missing: the only moment that brought me to tears was a decidedly human one, a small moment that likely won’t affect kids emotions at all. Ultimately, this film lacked the depth and compassion that made the other three movies in this series so memorable and lovable.
I am definitely going to wait to let my 4 and 6 year old watch this, as the suspenseful scary movie-esque moments are going to be too much for them to handle on the big screen in a dark theater. There are also some decidedly funny for adults scenes (you’ll never look at your kids stuffed animals the same again) that may just be a bit too much for my kids, at least.
Unfortunately, I left the theater feeling let down, and wishing they’d left the series hopeful at the end of Toy Story 3. I wanted to love it so much, but it fell short of its predecessors.