MOVIE: TOY STORY 4
STARRING: TOM HANKS; TIM ALLEN; ANNIE POTTS; JOAN CUSACK
DIRECTED BY: JOSH COOLEY
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
When the first Toy Story arrived back in 1995, we had no idea how much we would fall in love with these brought to life molds of plastic and fluff, and here we are, the 4th installment in the Pixar animated series, and we adore these characters as if they were our closest friends. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the collection is back for another adventure, even though it is a bit unnecessary after how good Toy Story 3 is. Toy Story 4, directed by Josh Cooley, is surprisingly, the funniest one yet, a road trip movie, reflecting on the path these toys have taken, and an introduction to one of the most unique animated characters in movie history- Forky (Tony Hale). New characters arrive, but Toy Story 4 reveals that there's still plenty of play time left in our old pal Woody.
We begin with a flashback, the toys are still owned by Andy, and it's the day when his sister Molly's favorite toy Bo-Peep (Annie Potts) was passed on to a friend; A heartbreaking moment for Woody where his loyalty between owner & favorite girl was tested. Fast forward to today, the toys in possession of little Bonnie, who does not play with Woody very much, and is timid about her first day of kindergarten. Woody takes it upon himself to make sure Bonnie isn't alone, riding in her backpack for orientation, and then giving her supplies to create a new friend. And so, Forky is born, a spork with sticks for feet, googly eyes, and pipe cleaner arms. He's a toy to Bonnie, but Forky thinks he's trash, and Woody makes it his new mission to keep him around.
This is just the start of Toy Story 4. The real adventure begins when Bonnie and her parents go on a RV road trip, with Forky and Woody briefly lost, a stop at a carnival, and a diversion to an antique store where Woody catches up with lost friend Bo Peep. What writers Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom are aware of is how good Toy Story 3 ended, and yet they are extending the world of Toy Story outside of just being “Andy's toys”, and revealing that there is a great big world for our beloved heroes.
The biggest highlight for me was how funny Toy Story 4 is. A majority of that humor comes from various new characters introduced: a pair of tethered stuffed animals Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele) that have a sick sense of humor, a mini-pocket doll called Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki), and my favorite Toy Story character of all time- Duke Caboom (perfectly voiced by Keanu Reeves). Caboom is a mustachioed stuntman on a wound up motorcycle, often striving to leap farther than his toy capabilities allow him. They all come together with Woody and Buzz to help stop a creepy antique doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) that sporknaps Forky and wants to steal Woody's voice box.
It's just an amazing feat that the Toy Story movies have all been this good. What fans will enjoy even more is the fantastic animation this time around. Woody looks like a living, breathing toy. The colors and action are more entertaining than any blockbuster we've seen this year and not to mention we still get a major dose of the feels. Although those feels may not be the same we got from Toy Story 3, realizing that these toys could have a tragic fate, Toy Story 4 has a different kind of emotion to it, one where we realize how important a toy can be to a child or how important it is for our toys to move on. If we learn anything from Toy Story 4, it's that saying goodbye is never the end. It's just good to know you've always got a friend.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady