Movie Review – Toy Story 4

Movie Review - Toy Story 4Vera and I saw the movie together and collaborated on the Peetimes. We agreed that Toy Story 4 deserves an A. It has everything you could want: fun action for the kids, plenty of humor, especially with the two new toys Bunny and Ducky — voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key respectively — and a really well thought out villain, if you can call Gabby a villain.

I found this movie to be a pleasure to watch. In many ways it’s more real than most of the “real” movies today. Everyone knows that things will “work out” in the end, but there was really uncertainty in what the characters would decide to do.

This is Pixar at its finest.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Toy Story 4 is packed with action, and plot development, and jumps between short scenes of different groups of toys. That makes it difficult to find Peetimes. All of the Peetimes are decent, but short. The 2nd Peetime is recommended because it’s the longest, almost 4 minutes long.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Toy Story 4. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (G)
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Top Toy Story Adventures You May Have Missed

Toy Story 4 is finally here.  Everyone knows and loves Buzz and Woody.  But do you remember the time Buzz got lost in the ball pit at Poultry Palace?  Or the time Rex held a rave in the bath tub? Or the creepy hotel where the toys started disappearing?  If not, there are some adventures you may have missed. Buzz and the gang have appeared in more than just the three feature-length films most us know them from.  If you need to catch up, we’ve got your back. Here are the Toy Story adventures you may have missed and where to find them.

Toy Story Toons:  These three Pixar shorts all take place after Toy Story 3 and involve the toys adapting to their new life with Bonnie.  

Hawaiian Vacation

History:  This cartoon originally played before Cars 2.

Plot:  When Ken and Barbie miss out on Bonnie’s Hawaiian vacation, the other toys recreate Hawaii in Bonnie’s room for them.  

Where to find it:  Available as a bonus feature on the Cars 2 DVD and Blu-ray

Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Small Fry

History:  This cartoon originally played before The Muppets in 2011.

Plot:  Buzz is replaced by a miniature fast food toy version of himself in a case of mistaken identity.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Partysaurus Rex

History:  This cartoon originally played before the 3-D re-release of Finding Nemo in 2012.

 

Plot:  Rex learns to relax and have fun with the help of the bath time toys.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available as a bonus feature on the 3D Blu-ray and updated Blu-ray of Monsters, Inc.

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

TV Specials

These specials are also set after Toy Story 3 and the toys belong with Bonnie.

Toy Story of Terror!

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in October of 2013.  

Plot:  The toys are on a road trip with Bonnie and her mother when the car gets a flat tire.  They have to stay at a motel for the night. One by one, toys start to go missing.

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital (It comes with all three Toy Story Toons as a bonus feature.)  

 

Toy Story That Time Forgot

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in December of 2014.  

Plot:  Buzz, Woody, Trixie, and Rex have a playdate with the Battlesaurs who are dangerously unaware that they are toys.   

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital

 

If you’re a fan of the Toy Story Universe, these are definitely worth your time.  Even though they aren’t feature length, the same thought and care has been put into these shorter cartoons.  They even include the same celebrity voice cast. These make a great appetizer to whet your palette for Part 4, or as a dessert after seeing it.  Especially since Toy Story 4 will be the first Pixar movie to be shown without a short since the original Toy Story.

You know what else is worth your time?  Our amazing app that tells you when to pee during all the wide release movies and if there are scenes after the credits. Never miss an important movie moment again with the RunPee app.  Be sure to use it when you see Toy Story 4. Or any other kid flick this summer! We’ve already got Peetimes for Aladdin and The Secret Life of Pets 2.  And we’ll have Peetimes for The Lion King and Artemis Fowl, so you won’t miss a second of movie magic. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee for the latest movie news. 

Incredibles 2 & the Success of Animated Movie Sequels

Virgin Movie Review – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

First View Movie Review – Jumanji (1995)

Pixar Fast Fact Video – Easter Eggs in Incredibles 2

Incredibles is simply a great superhero film
Incredibles 2 is kinda incredible.

Be happy, Pixar fans, as the galaxy’s best animated superhero movie sequel is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

To remind  you how good Incredibles 2 is, I’m introducing you to a duo of video superheros themselves, the Super Carlin Brothers. These guys love Pixar, and came up with the mind-blowing, probably unlikely, but strangely fitting Pixar Theory, one that spans from the dawn of time (The Good Dinosaur) through to the far future (Wall-E). But this post isn’t about The Pixar Theory video (although you should see it). I’m just giving these dudes a call-out for their Incredibles 2 insights.

Remember, [pullquote]Pixar uses a winning combination of top notch animation; flawed, yet big-hearted characters; great ensemble chemistry; a quest structure; engaging pathos; and legit humor that may go right over kid’s heads, but adults will most certainly enjoy.[/pullquote] Incredibles 2 even takes charming their adult audience a step further, showing  animated characters drinking beer, something unseen on the big screen before, and normally reserved for someone like Homer on The Simpsons. (I don’t know why I’m so impressed with Mr. Incredible drinking beer. I suppose it’s fun to see heroes being less idealized and more human. I doubt Captain America drinks ale, but we’ve seen Iron Man sipping whiskey, and I’ll bet Thor loves himself a good mug of mead.)

Here’s the roughly 8 minute video about Pixar and Incredibles 2 for your enjoyment:

While you’re here, this 10 minute companion video argues that the Incredible family moved into Syndrome’s House in the sequel (the big bad from Incredibles 1, if you recall):

Here’s our catalog of Incredibles Movie Reviews and Articles on RunPee.com: 

All Incredibles Related Posts (click this link).

Just highlighting a few below:

Movie Rewatch – The First Incredibles

Incredibles 2 & the Success of Animated Movie Sequels

WTF: Pixar’s Bao Short Before Incredibles 2

The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

He's still a mean one.
He’s still a mean one.

With the newest incarnation of The Grinch in theaters this year, we thought it was time to take a look at the history of this mean green creature, who is both dastardly and oddly sympathetic.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas  (1957) – The original kid’s book by Dr. Seuss is beloved, and for very good reasons. It started it all, showing us a grumpy Gus who hates the holiday (shades of A Christmas Carol). He steals, he lies, he abuses his dog Max, and breaks Cindy Lou Who’s trust…but eventually hears the joyous music and comes through in the end. This is an allegory for humanity, in a real way. [pullquote]We can be mean, we can hurt others to hide our own miserable loneliness…but if we open ourselves — just a crack — to others…well, we might learn to belong after all.[/pullquote] Who hasn’t known this kind of profound alienation? Who doesn’t secretly dream of being accepted despite the petty crimes we’ve committed? The message hits us right in the feels. Dr. Seuss knew it. This is among the three top stories he gifted to generations of children. (Along with The Lorax and The Cat in The Hat. Can’t argue with those.)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas –  A faithful and rousing rendition of the Dr. Seuss book, the animated 26-minute special from 1966 is definitely something…yes, special. Growing up with this, it was a traditional treat to rewatch it every year, as a child. I still watch it now to herald the holiday season. Good animation, great songs (I still sing the refrain), and a story to make your heart grow three sizes in the end. A-level work.

The Grinch (2000) – The live action version with Jim Carrey dropped on the scene to a mostly poor reception. (It seems Carrey doesn’t always have the magic touch.) I recently watched this for the first time, and found it lacking. Middling, dank, arbitrary, and a bit sour. Ron Howard himself directed, and usually produces great films. What happened to the color, the joy, the fun? Not everyone panned it, however. The Wikipedia reports, “Despite mixed reviews that often compared the film unfavorably to the 1966 special, it won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and was also nominated for Best Art Directionand Best Costume Design.”

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018) – [pullquote position=”right”]Did we need ANOTHER Grinch? Why reboot this one; it’s been done enough, surely? [/pullquote]In spite of my fears, every time I saw the new animated trailer in theaters I smiled and giggled in spite of myself. It looks a world of better than the live action version. I think they might get it right! I’m not the kind of critic who wants to see the same darn themes rebooted every few years, but agree Pixar knows how to craft a film. The trailer looks charming and fun: I’m all over it. If it doesn’t suck, it might put this story to bed, finally. NOTE, after seeing the 2018 movie: it didn’t. Here’s my Grinch-like review.

Watch The Grinch Trailers, to get you in the proper mood for the Mean One this Christmas: 

The Final Grinch Trailer:  

In Defense of the Grinch (1966)

In Defense of the Grinch (1966)

Movie Review – The Grinch (2018)

WTF: Pixar’s Bao Short Before Incredibles 2

So, let’s talk about that odd and disturbing Pixar movie short before the opening of The Incredibles 2. It’s called Bao, and is intended to be a cute, happy tale. [pullquote]Well, Pixar, you created a new nadir for your work in this one sequence. Your good intentions brought up unsettling innate urges best saved for adult audiences[/pullquote]. Or maybe it would have been better to scrap it and try some less awkward projects. With all the creative scripts Pixar has to choose from, THIS is what they picked. It looks good, but doesn’t feel good. Kind of like eating a bad dumpling? Let’s begin.

We’ve agreed here that little children probably won’t understand Bao; I can’t quite make it make sense either, although for different reasons than a kid might.

We at RunPee suggest you stay out of the theater with your little ones until it’s well over. (That won’t effect the RunPee Timer, since we always start it during the first logo AFTER any shorts.) Our great-niece didn’t get Bao and looked disturbed, but hey little gal, I was a little disturbed myself! And this is a tiny kid who usually*likes* horror! I think the fail in this film is that there was no sensible set-up for what the lonely lady did. It comes as a shock, a queasy revolting payoff.

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE PIXAR SHORT BAO

This is a bad choice in so many ways. [pullquote position=”right”]The dumpling was pretty cute before he grew legs and became a a slightly creepy homunculus.[/pullquote]

At least the dumpling was still a cuddly toddler at this point. I can see the empty-nest  lonely elderly lady treating it as her son. Besides, what are the options — eat a squirming and squealing living being? Only Klingons still do that. And Gollum. And carnivorous dinosaurs. (Welcome to my geeky world. Have a cookie….now, back to this short.)

So, I understand empty nesters kind of seeing themselves in this situation. We’ve seen grieving mothers carrying around fake doll babies as therapy. So here’s this lady’s new reason to live, and someone who responds to her affection — who hugs her, loves her, and needs her. Doesn’t matter that is is basically a Golem, made by her own hands. I’m somewhat onboard with this so far. It’s not funny, and most of it will go over kids’ heads, but it might be somewhat cute…although too far plunged into the uncanny valley for others already.

Here’s where it gets weird. (Weirder.) The dumpling becomes a rotten teenager, starts dating, grows a goatee (WT-ever-loving-F!),  leaves his “mother” suddenly, and then returns just as suddenly, with a new fiance in tow, sporting a huge engagement ring.

The mother is frantic and wants her “son” home, now, and for good. She hustles the “hussy”out the door. The dumpling tries to go with her, but the mother captures him and EATS HIM.

Yes she did.

Think about this. I totally get it that adults have an innate urge to eat cute things (think of nibbling a baby’s toes, saying “You are so cute I could eat you up!) This strange, off-putting behavior is encoded in the hardwired  area of the human brain. It’s triggered by seeing a certain look — large eyes, big head — and we get a little hit of instinctive recognition.   Selecting for this trait in adult creatures is called Neoteny, and we are are all subjected to a certain constellation of responses to something cute. This article explains the Phenomenon of Cute Aggression, and the unreasoning urge to harm/gobble up cuteness. I found a good video describing it too:

This is rather sophisticated science, melded with deep psychological taboo issues. This would STILL go over most adult heads in the awareness sense. I presume we are supposed to resonate with the urge on some deep animalistic level.

After all, carnivorous animals  — let’s say lions — don’t normally eat their young, and treat them with the fond tolerance that no adult lion receives, because cuteness has special status. Round fluffy heads and huge eyes are code for “Protect me; I am yours.” So, in other words, we are innately draw to protect cuties, married with the disturbing desire to eat or hurt them.

So yes, the lady eats her “son” and should probably seek therapy. But we are intended to get it — to get that by eating him, she could not only keep him home, but metaphorically put him back in the womb/belly, where she can watch over him and keep him safe. I know he would come out as poop in reality, but stay with me for the symbolism. 🙂

Up ’til now we had a few cute baby-toddler dumpling moments, some weird disturbing images of a humunculus dating a human girl, and then the bat-$!tt-crazy image of a momma eating her own son. (Zeus’ father did that once with all his children and look where that left him <—– tangent.)

Bizarre as all this is for a Pixar choice, I still don’t get the ending. Who is the young human man who shows up at momma’s door to introduce his wife? Are these the same people? Was there never a dumpling at all?  Was it all a bad dream, or was she daydreaming about her real son one day, while making the endless morning dumpling breakfasts? What are they trying to say?

Is he a REAL BOY NOW?…nope nope nope, that was Pinocchio.

Was Pixar’s intent to disturb their fan base? I can’t imagine them being so subversive. How did this get a green light? You betcha this short made my Do Not ReWatch List.  (I’ll write about that list some other time.)

Essentially, if you like disturbing elements in your cartoons, you will probably enjoy this more than I did. And in fact, the whole RunPee family is scratching their heads over who made the call to put something so unsettling in front of a huge blockbuster intended for adults and children. Pixar, stick to the stuff you’ve shown unswerving ability to find success in before. (“This is a bad call, Ripley, a bad call.”) If you want to be creative, try it on the smaller Disney releases.

Pixar Short Review: C- (For some good visuals and nice pacing. It looks like the creator was super enthusiastic about whatever their movie short was meant to convey. That keeps it from getting a failing grade.)

I still don’t recommend watching it. But if your curiosity is triggered now, give it a wack before you watch The Incredibles 2. Tell us what you thought of it. 

Here is the creator of the dumpling short (Bao): 

Read About The Incredibles on RunPee.com:

The Incredibles ReWatch Review

The Incredibles 2 Review

Incredibles 2 and the Success of Animated Sequels

Incredibles 2 Poster looks like a Marvel Film

 

Incredibles 2 & the Success of Animated Movie Sequels

Sequels are big deals for today’s audiences. We’re willing to watch 19 ( soon 20) films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve got DC and their endless versions of Batman, an evolving Star Wars franchise, Star Trek reboots, and sequels to things we never asked for, like Hot Tub Time Machine 2. It’s clear we crave sequels  — and it is Big Business.

But do animated movies deserve the same treatment? Usually animated followup films are the “straight to video” type, like The Little Mermaid 2. Those are usually for the young children who are happy to watch more of what they loved the first time.

[pullquote]What animated movies get the sophisticated full cinematic treatment? More than you’d think. [/pullquote]We’ve got sequels to Toy Story, Cars, Monsters Inc, Despicable Me, Finding Nemo…all enjoying moderate success at the box office. Pixar has a great formula: they know how to engage adults with sly references, appeals to nostalgia, and jokes that go over kids’s heads. We don’t even have to bring a kid along to make it socially acceptable to see these “cartoons” — no excuse is needed.

We’ll see how Incredibles 2 does its job of luring grownups to the box office. The trailers look fun, although the “Mr. Mom” routine is quite dated by now. I hope they don’t milk that angle too much. It’s not a big deal these days for men to do the child-rearing.

I look forward to seeing what exactly Jack Jack’s powers are about. And I hope they continue the theme of the original film, where the supers are living under massive repression. It would be fantastic to take up the banner of freedom for supers, which, after all, is even something we’ve seen in live action superhero flicks like X-Men 1&2, and Captain America: Civil War.

[pullquote position=”right”]So it seems that animated sequels are perfectly acceptable, and people are willing to pack the theaters to see them.[/pullquote] I know I loved a return to the undersea world in Finding Dory, and folks can’t seem to get enough of Toy Story ( I refuse to watch Toy Story 3 out of self-preservation — I don’t want to watch a movie I know will make me cry). The Minions are reliable for a good time, and the Monsters, Inc prequel was a fun romp. I don’t think I know of any other animated prequels, so that might be a unique category.

We’ll see how my predictions pan out.

Do you watch animated movies? What are your favorites? Comments are below.

Movie Rewatch – The First Incredibles

This movie is really good! I hate using such an imprecise term, but I’m sitting here shocked at how good this animated superhero film is.

I’d seen Incredibles when it came out in 2004, and certainly liked it, but now, in 2018, I have a different mindset. Back then I had no idea how…well, GOOD superhero movies were going to get. [pullquote]Remember, 2004 was still a few years away from Iron Man and the start of the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe, which really defined and perfected the superhero experience. [/pullquote]I think back then, all we had were some Spiderman movies of various quality, some Batman movies that really didn’t age well, and early X-Men. And Fantastic Four. Which is a perfect segue to my next point.

It’s clear that the Incredibles are a remake/rebooted version of the Fantastic Four, which is interesting: Fantastic Four tried twice to make their series work, and both bombed terribly. I mean, they were simply awful. So who would think that tweaking it into an animated film would be  a good bet?

Well, the answer is Pixar, now owned by Disney. [pullquote position=”right”]Using the magic Pixar formula —  irreverent humor,  outstanding animation work, attention to character traits, well-known and respected actors for voices, and a real plot with actual jeopardy — Incredibles really showed it could be done. [/pullquote]

Incredibles is good enough to be a Marvel movie, quite frankly. It may as well be one, maybe in an alternate universe. You forget you’re watching cartoons about ten minutes into the film, which starts quite charmingly with an “old news reel” and a flashback to Mr. Incredible and ElastiGirl in their heyday.

The movie picks up at a place that would not seem too far from the X-Men Universe: all the supers have been relocated and retired by public demand, due to traumatic collateral damage done in the name of “helping mankind.” The Incredibles family has to hide their powers and try to live normal lives in suburbia. Mr. Incredible works in a dead end insurance job, and ElastiGirl is a stay at home mom. Their kids have to hide their superhero status as well, which chafes them to no end. How can you try to “be your best” when your best can never be tested? How can Mr. Incredible be “normal” when he breaks everything he touches, and has to be constantly vigilant against his own strength? We see him mourning for the good old days, and listens to police scanners at night with best friend FloZone (voiced by Samuel Jackson, clearly enjoying himself), sneaking out to do clandestine hero work.

These are mature themes, and shows why adults flocked to see Incredibles, and will flock again, in 2018, to see Incredibles 2.

I didn’t notice at the time, but in this rewatch, knowing there’s going to be a sequel out soon, I saw how clearly the film demanded a follow-up. When you watch it again, take note of how nothing has actually changed for this family. Well, except for Jack Jack, but we wont go into that here. Basically: at the end of their adventure, the family goes home and back to their “Witness Protection” style life. The supers are still not welcomed by the public, the government, or the world. It’s back to suburban hell. We don’t see that in the movie, because they ended the film on the high note of putting their masks on (which is more symbolic than useful, but just go with it). Their family unit maybe stronger than ever, but now the fun’s over and it’s time to put the leash back on.

So it does demand another film. How has the Incredible family unit been managing, back at mind numbing jobs and public school?  From the trailers it looks like (SPOILER ALERT)….scroll down or not…

 

 

 

Okay, from the trailers it looks like ElastiGirl is back on the job and in the public eye. Mr. Incredible has to be Mr. Mom. So maybe the supers are accepted again? Or is using ElastiGirl a way to slowly ease the public about reintroducing supers? I’ll go with the latter.

Anyway, the sequel looks pretty good, and I know it will pack the theaters, as we’re just not saturated with superhero movies. It’s pretty much a Golden Age for hero movies and we keep lapping them up and asking for more. I’m fine with that.

Incredibles is a fine film, with a lot of heart and humor, charming characterizations, surprisingly good chemistry in a voice-over medium — it’s just enjoyable on every level. The Big Bad is a bit annoying, but creating a great villain is a sticky point for almost every superhero film. You can just ignore whathisname, and get back to marveling at the amazing visuals and snappy banter/bickering.

I recommend seeing Incredibles again, before catching Incredibles 2, just to get back up to speed with these great characters and their family dynamics.

Movie Grade: A

Here’s a link to the blu-ray of the original Incredibles movie, and the logo tee shirt. I’ve seen entire families wearing this shirt, and not just for a family Halloween theme…places like Disneyland, so it’s easy to find each other, or on any family outing to show they are a family unit. It’s fun.