Wednesday, February 15, 2023

I rank the Toy Story movies!

I recently watched the four Toy Story movies and thought I would rank them! Of course, they're all wonderful, so just because a movie is ranked last (one of them has to be ranked last!) doesn't mean it's bad. It just means it's my fourth favorite! Oh, and I'm just going to go into these like you've seen these movies many times before, so don't read this if you've never seen these movies (what rock are you living under, anyway?) 

4. Toy Story 2 - I must confess that it was difficult choosing between my third and fourth favorites; honestly they could easily switch spots. It was the first two spots I was confident what I would place where. So a movie where toys come to life whenever humans aren't around isn't the most realistic plot for a movie, but despite that, the movies are kept pretty much within the realm of reality...except for this one. This movie gets a little crazy at times with how nonsensical it gets. We have the toys (Buzz Lightyear, Hamm, Slinky Dog, Mr. Potato Head, Rex) going to rescue Woody from Al's Toy Barn when he was stolen at a garage sale. 

Oh, wait, can we touch on one thing before I forget? Okay, so Woody has sneaked down to the garage sale with the help of Buster the dog because Andy's mom took Wheezy, a rubber penguin squeaky toy, to be sold at the garage sale. Woody was placed high on a shelf after Andy ripped his sleeve and that's where he saw Wheezy behind a bunch of dusty old books. Apparently, this is a place where broken toys go before they're tossed or sent to a garage sale or donated. Wheezy was put up here when his squeaker stopped working, with Andy's mom telling him (her son, obviously, not the toy, because Andy's mom doesn't know toys are sentient!) that she'll get the squeaker fixed, but she never does. Now let's think about this: Andy is probably about 8 or 9, there's no way he's playing with a baby squeaker toy anymore. Wheezy probably broke when he was 4 or 5. I don't think Woody has anything to worry about because he's Andy's favorite toy and he means something to him over some stupid rubber penguin squeaker toy (sorry, Wheezy). Woody does save Wheezy, only to find out in the third movie that he's been sold. Honestly, Woody got himself stolen for no reason at all.

Okay, let's go back to why this movie is the most unrealistic among the four (and remember, this is a movie where toys come to life and talk to each other!) When Buzz and the others realize Woody is being taken to the airport where he will spend the rest of his life behind a glass case in a museum in Tokyo (that's in Japan!), they drive from Al's Toy Barn to the airport. Yes, the toys themselves drive with absolutely no human help. One of them is giving directions, one of them is on the brakes, and one of them is steering, but still. At least in the first and third movie, they hitch a ride from the pizza guy and garbage man, respectively, and in the fourth movie, they do mess with the RV, but Bonnie's dad is still driving it. Also, while we never see it, we do find out they drove from the airport back to the house in one of those airport trams that carry the luggage to the plane. You would think that somebody would notice a car being erratically driven wasn't being driven by a human, but yet, that's never an issue. 

Oh, and speaking of absolutely ridiculous scenes, I think even the people working on Toy Story 2 knew how absurd the scene where Woody rescues Jessie from the plane is. I had actually forgotten about this scene and literally gasped when the suitcase Jessie is in is taken onto the plane...even though I know she's in the next two movies! The scene where the camera pans out and we see this huge commercial airliner taxiing down the runway with Woody riding Bullseye (and managing to keep up with the plane!) is one of the most funniest and ridiculous things in these movies. 

As far as villains go, Stinky Pete is a decent villain, but I would probably rank him last...or at least third. In TS4, you think Gabby Gabby is going to be the villain when you first meet her, but she's not. Sid and Lotso are much more interesting villains and we'll discuss them more when we get to their movies. I did feel a little bad for Stinky Pete because no kid wanted to buy him (hence why he was still in his original box!), but can you blame the kids of the '50s? Of course, the boys are going to go for Woody and the girls are going to go for Jessie, and who can resist the adorable Bullseye? Of course Stinky Pete is going to be the last choice! I do wonder what would have happened if Pete had taken Woody's offer to join him and be one of Andy's toys. I think Andy would have played with him....he had an active imagination and I'm sure he could have put Pete to good use. Maybe Stinky Pete would have loved the attention he got from a kid. I am very disappointed we never got to see him being played with by his new owner, the artistic Amy. We could have seen that in the end credits, but instead we get those "bloopers", which I don't like (and explain why here (point #5)) in a post titled "Toy Story Thoughts". (Keep that link handy; I'll reference it a few times more). 

Of course, even though I may have this ranked last of the Toy Story movies, there's still plenty to love about it. It's fun seeing Woody's origins, Jessie's backstory is heartbreaking (though, don't most toys go through this with their kids growing up and outgrowing them?), there are great new characters introduced, etc. Oh and I love the way Jessie (or Joan Cusack, rather) says, Everybody knows your name, Wood-eeeee!" Just the points I discussed is why it's ranked last. 

I will say, I do love the "You saved our lives. We are eternally grateful" line from the aliens and how it will come back in the third movie. Also, the scene where Woody is being stitched up and polished is really good, too. 

3. Toy Story 4 - Like I said, my third and fourth spots could easily switch places, but honestly, they're more likely tied for third place. 

I understand with each Toy Story movie, we're going to get more characters, and that's expected, but I feel like there are so many new characters in the fourth installment that the original characters we know and love from the first (and second) film(s) feel like ancillary characters. And let's not forget we have all of Bonnie's original toys joining in on the fun. Bunny and Ducky are funny, but they spend way too much time on that "plush rush" scene. I will say Forky is my favorite new character; I laugh when he starts calling out, "Bo, Bo, Bo, Bo, Bo" when he and Woody are looking for her in the antique shop even though he's never met her. They do finish the Forky storyline quite quickly; I remember being surprised by that. 

I talked about this in my review, but I don't know how I feel about Woody joining Bo. I just have a hard time believing he would leave Buzz, Jesse, and Bullseyes, who he has a closer relationship to (not to mention the other OG toys) to stay with Bo, but I digress. They should make another Toy Story movie where Andy is now grown and married with a couple of kids and he finds his old pal Woody (maybe in an antique shop, maybe in some random place) and he takes him and his kids start playing with Woody. Wouldn't that make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy? Heck, let's have Andy find his other old toys (maybe they were donated or Bonnie's family had a garage sale) and now everybody is once again reunited. Of course, Andy's kids probably would't want to play with the toys Andy placed with as a kid, but let's not even think about that! Edit: I wrote that before I even knew there was a Toy Story 5 in the works, so let's see if my prediction comes true. (Probably not). 

2. Toy Story - Okay, this could be based on nostalgia, but if it were pure nostalgia, this would be in first place, no? I will say the animation compared to TS4 isn't on par, but you have to remember there is a 24 year gap between those two movies! The humans, in particular, aren't the best looking with this new technology. It is amazing seeing Sid's dog in this movie, then the cat in the antique store in TS4. It's astonishing what 24 years of technological advancement can do! At least 98% of this movie revolves around toys which, I think, still look pretty good, even with antiquated '90s computer technology. Obviously, this is when we meet all the toys, when we get the start of one of the best duos in movie history and the iconic movie line, "To infinity and beyond!" And even though Woody's lines aren't as popular as that one, I still love "Reach for the skyyyyyy!" and "There's a snake in my boots!"

It's a simple plot but you get a lot out of it: Woody has always been Andy's favorite toy, but gets jealous when Andy receives Buzz Lightyear for his birthday and starts to change his bedroom's cowboy motif to an outer space motif. Woody attempts to push Buzz off the bed so he'll be on the floor between the wall and bed (a place where toys get lost and/or forgotten, though let's be honest even if Woody did push Buzz in that spot, Andy would have found him), but he ends up accidentally pushing him out the window. The other toys accuse him of doing it on purpose (they know about his feelings about Buzz!) and Woody has to right things, so he goes to rescue Buzz, but they end up getting lost in the Pizza Planet claw machine. 

Two things:
a) Pizza Planet looks awesome; that's the kind of place I would love to go as a kid. Now? I would absolutely hate it! 
2) There is no way the claw would be able to grasp onto Buzz's slick plastic helmet. Give me a break, movie! 

This is the only movie where a human is the villain and not another toy. (I guess you can argue that Al is a villain in TS2, but he's just more of a greedy man who steals toys so he can sell them and make money). I talked about if Sid is a misunderstood kid or a psychopath in the making in the link I posted earlier and I went with the former. Yes, he "tortures" toys by blowing them up and disfiguring them, but he doesn't know they're sentient. The scene where Woody and his disfigured toys come alive to scare him is one of the most memorable scenes in all four movies. The scene is funny, but if you think about it, it's also nightmare fuel. That would freak me the f*** out if ever happened to me. (As a kid or as an adult!) I bet you Sid never played with toys again after that; I sure wouldn't! I did laugh when his sister taunts him with her little doll and he runs away, screaming. Aw, poor kid. 

Heh, I just thought of something. Sid isn't the only human to see these toys come alive. When Woody and Buzz are trying to catch up to the car and are using RC to race toward it, we see Molly look in the side view mirror and she sees them. Of course, she's a year old at this point and probably doesn't even remember this when she gets older. That scene always makes me crack up. 

I need to go back to the beginning of the movie and discuss Andy's birthday party. First of all, I have never been to a birthday party (or had one myself) where the first thing on the agenda is the kid opening their presents. No, you play games first. You eat cake and ice cream first. Opening presents is one of the last things you do, at least in my experience. I feel like the kid is just going to want to play with their new toys if they open them first. 

Also, I find it hard to believe that Andy didn't get any toys at all for his birthday from his guests. From what we know, he got a lunch box, a board game, and bedsheets (who gives bedsheets for a child's birthday party? That's only acceptable if the giver is an adult, but another kid wouldn't give bedsheets as a present!) Wasn't it Mr. Potato Head who asked, "Who invited that kid?" Heh.

1 Toy Story 3 - Toy Story 3 has the best beginning, the best ending, and the best villain. In my opinion, of course. It is also the most emotional. I didn't cry during the first Toy Story, but I did get a little misty-eyed during certain scenes in TS2 and TS4, but this movie had me flat out bawling. 

The movie takes place about ten years after the events of TS2. Andy is now a teenager and is about to go to college. He still has his toys, but he keeps them all in a toy box and doesn't play with them anymore, which is understandable. Honestly, I'm surprised he was allowed to hold onto his toys for so long.

Andy's mom tells him since he's going to college he needs to do some cleaning: what does he want to bring to college, what does he want to store in the attic, and what needs to be thrown away. She's also asked Molly to donate any toys she doesn't play with anymore to the Sunnyside Daycare.

There's a huge misunderstanding with the toys when they think Andy is tossing them out, but he actually wants to store them into the attic and he plans on taking Woody with him. The toys manage to escape to the box with the Sunnyside Daycare donations and decide that if Andy thinks they're trash, then they'll just go where they will be played with and wanted. Woody ends up going with them, trying to explain the mix-up, but they're having none of it. 

Another reason this is my favorite movie in the TSU (heh) is that I love a good prison break story. Shawshank Redemption, Watership Down, uh, the show that's literally called Prison Break (but only the first season!), I'm in! And TS3 is a prison break movie.

When they first arrive, everything seems hunky-dory. The toys see children playing lovingly and happily with the toys that reside at the daycare. However, what they didn't know was that what they saw were the older kids (probably 4/5, IDK; I'm not good with kid ages!) in the Butterfly Room. Andy's toys have been regulated to the Caterpillar Room which are where the wily toddlers play with their toys. It is pretty funny seeing the toys be terrorized by these toddlers who are screaming and running everywhere while they bang the toys against tables, stick them in their mouths, etc. This is decided by Lotso, the pink stuffed bear who seems to be in charge. Of course, we'll find out later, that he's basically a dictator and runs the place. In the link I've already mentioned twice, I wrote about if Lotso deserves all the hate he gets and my final decision was a resounding yes. Lotso is definitely the most complicated villain in all the TS movies. He has a heartbreaking backstory with being left behind (along with Big Baby and Chuckles....who are both terrifying, though to be fair, Big Baby becomes terrifying after he is abandoned) at the park. Seriously, WTF, Daisy's parents? How did you forget your own daughter's toys? The three toys pull a A Homeward Bound and manage to find their way back to Daisy's house, only to find out they've been replaced. Well, at least Lotso was replaced. Ouch. 

This makes Lotso become cynical and jaded and is pretty much the way he is. I guess you can't really blame him. I'm not really sure why he has to be a jerkwad to the other toys, though. Before Andy's toys are even introduced to him, we see him being cuddled by a girl in the Butterfly Room. Obviously, being a fluffy pink bear, he gets lots of love and playtime from the children, so you think he would be fine, but nope. 

From the time the toys are almost burned in the incinerator to the very end when Andy gives his toys to Bonnie, it's pretty much non-stop tears for me. And I cry Every. Time. I. Watch. This. Movie. (I've probably seen it four or five times). Of course, Lotso has the chance to be redeemed when he can save the toys from being burned alive, but nope, that little piece of sh*t (that smells like strawberries!) decides not to. Eff you, Lotso! 

This movie may not be the toy's ending, but it is Andy's ending with the toys. That's why I love the beginning of this movie where we get one last time of young Andy playing with his toys with his vivid imagination. 

Oh, and Chatter Telephone (yes, I had to look up the name of the toy) is one of my favorite ancillary characters in all the movies if only because I remember having this toy as a wee tot and I love how he contributes to the prison break plot of the story with the "They'll never break me" line.

How would you rank them? 

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