Title: Toy Story 4
Film Release Date: June 21st, 2019
DVD and Blu-ray Release: October 8th, 2019
Studio: Pixar/ Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Josh Cooley
Release Format: Theatrical
The movie focuses on Woody & friends on a road trip trying to find their new kid’s favorite lost toy Forky. They meet a mix of new and familiar faces along the way to make this one of their most important journeys yet.
Toy Story 4 answers the question we all had on our minds if we needed another one in all caps. YES, Pixar found a way to revisit these characters in a fresh way and put them in possibly the best story of the franchise.
This entry had me tearing up at multiple points whenever I wasn’t laughing at the clever jokes. This felt like it was made to grab at your hearts and minds and not your wallets.
There’s a snake in my boot
While the opening had me wondering why this wasn’t straight-to-DVD. It wasn’t bad at all but more of the same we’ve seen multiple times before. However, this thought quickly disappears once the trip and search for Forky starts.
There’s a lot of emotional depth in this story with Woody still being caught up over losing Andy and Forky finding the meaning to existing. Loss and purpose is a heavy theme of this film and something very relatable. The movie finds that balance of delivering this message without getting too dark.
The final minutes of the movie will have you breaking down more than your friend’s beat-up ’94 Honda Civic. This is the period of over a two decade-spanning story that has a satisfying conclusion.
I also like the thriller and horror aspects Pixar has infused into Toy Story 4 with the creepier toys. This element has been absent since Sid and his toys in the original.
I wouldn’t call the antagonists of this film villains as they are more complex than Zurg wanting to destroy Buzz. The creepers are against Woody and company because they have something valuable and are desperate enough to do whatever it takes to get it.
The new sinister toys are the kind you see in your grandmother’s house and need years of therapy for. Anyway, enough of about me, let’s talk about stuff that won’t give you nightmares like the excellent cast.
Toys For All
This project doesn’t come off as existing to cash out on new merchandising opportunities, but rather a passion project by an inspired team with a story to tell.
Toy Story 4 continues the tradition of keeping things “small scale” yet feeling bigger than life thanks to the writing and directing. These stories are personal and the interactions between characters are the steam that keeps this train running.
Look no further than Forky if you want proof, he is literally a fork with some sticks and wire for limbs. He wasn’t created to sell toys; nope he was created to help sell the narrative. If Pixar gets kids to buy toys of Forky, it might prove they can do anything.
Forky is a character that constantly questions why is he alive and constantly tries to “un-alive” himself…or throw himself in the trash. Sounds dark but you sympathize with his struggle and the sharp comedy does a good job of masking the existential crisis.
Buzz’s presence in this film is significantly less than any other entry, but he is still used brilliantly. He is the comedy relief and while he’s used sparingly, it’s always effectively. Tim Allen plays this out of touch with reality spaceman as well as he did 20 years ago.
Bo Peep returns in her largest role yet playing off her chemistry with Woody and tragic past. It’s been rough since her last appearance and her tale is as gripping as it is heartbreaking.
There’s a lot of cool new characters that pop up on the screen that is sure to have people picking favorites. Keanu Reeves is delightful as Canadian stuntman Duke Caboom, he has his own little arc that is a blast to watch.
Key and Peele play the hilariously crazy duo of Ducky and Bunny. At first, they come off as grating like Kevin Hart in every role ever, but they grow on you and end up getting the biggest laughs.
Stuff stuff stuff
There are so many creative sequences in this film, ranging from a blood rushing chase, fight or the toys finding a clever way to get around unnoticed.
The original film might as well have been drawings from a second grader with how beautiful the visuals are here. This animation is even leaps and bounds better than Toy Story 3 which is impressive considering it was only a couple of years ago.
Randy Newman returns to craft new bubbly songs that just make you feel good. Although there isn’t a standout track such as “You Got a Friend in Me”, it all comes together to enhance each scene. Whether it be a tender moment between Bo Peep and Woody or a daring escape by the gang, Newman adds the extra ingredient.
Things and stuff
Verdict: Toy Story 4 keeps the magic of what made the originals so good while adding new elements to keep it fresh like it’s the first. There is mind-blowing animation quality meshing with a great voice cast and a heartwarming script that’ll have you walking out with a smile.
Any minor gripe about the start doesn’t change this being an excellent film. It doesn’t matter if your old or young, this is a film that everyone can relate with and enjoy. As long as you have a pulse then it will be a perfect way to spend a Friday night.
What’s the best Toy Story film so far? What other Pixar movie are you hoping to see a sequel to? Leave your comments!