The best thing you can say about Lamp Life is that it has some of the world-class photorealism CGI deployed in Toy Story 4. The short film looks damn beautiful. It also has some nice gags and comic timing.
The worst thing you can say about it is that it provides some shading and backstory to Bo Peep that’s not just unnecessary, but somewhat contrary to the theme of Toy Story 4. Woody sees Bo Peep as a liberated toy; the sense of intrigue on just how and why she transformed fuels the film. By laying it out, beat by beat, that sense of Bo Peep as a symbol of the post-kid “yonder” for Woody is diminished. (Especially when Tom Hanks isn’t cast as Woody.)
The more these Toy Story shorts pile up, the more it seems that they achieve the opposite of their goals of deepening the world, flattening and bloating various themes and concepts. (One notable exception: The “Forky Asks a Question” shorts are pretty fantastic and bring their own unique comic voice.)
Not Good (2/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.