The Toy Story franchise continues to amaze me, from the gorgeous animation to the deep storytelling. Toy Story 4 is a fitting finale we didn’t know we needed.
This franchise has expanded and captured our hearts for the past 25 years – the ending result, a heartwarming and beautifully animated masterpiece. Yes, TS4 is well worth your time and it receives a five-star review from me. Disney / Pixar didn't botch the story or even make the film feel like a quick cash grab. The storytelling deepens in-depth and emotion from the 3rd film (2010). I know it's hard to believe how Pixar managed to explore new territory, but they do and it's a knockout. In this adventure, Woody and the gang go on a road trip extravaganza with Bonnie and her family. Woody (voiced by the beloved Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world and his main priority as a toy has always been to take care of his kid – whether that's Andy or Bonnie.
So, when Bonnie's beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voiced by the hilarious Tony Hale), declares himself as "trash" and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a “toy”. Leave it to Pixar to take a plastic spork and completely take a hold of our heartstrings. Forky's character teaches us about identity and self-worth. It’s a character that so many people in today's technology driven-age can associate with. Forky provides a useful shorthand for expressing that feeling and filling those shoes. Forky’s character is raw, cunning, and comes off organically. Each of us has dealt with the stress and anxiety of this fast-evolving world, and Forky shed’s light onto those issues. He’s a character we can lean on – a safety net when we don’t feel like we are good enough. I connected with this character and I was amazed at Forky's overall growth from his first to final line. Hale, known for his comedic presence in the TV satire Veep, immerses himself into the googly-eyed spork.
Furthermore, when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family's road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voiced by the enchanting Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo's adventurous spirit shines brightly through her porcelain exterior. Other old friends enjoy the screen time and that includes Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Wallace Shawn as Rex, John Ratzenberger as Hamm, Blake Clark as Slinky Dog, the late Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head (from archival recordings), Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head, Bonnie Hunt as Dolly, Kristen Schaal as Trixie, Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants, and Jeff Garlin as Buttercup. Plus, we are introduced to new characters as well. Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele voice Ducky & Bunny and they're a hilarious duo scene after scene. Keanu Reeves voices Duke Caboom and like in Always Be My Maybe, Reeves steals every scene he’s in.
Gabby Gabby (voiced by a fierce Christina Hendricks) portrays our stories antagonist. Yet, Gabby Gabby’s character has a certain depth and meaning other villains don’t have. She’s a broken toy who just wants to be loved by a child. Her character comes full circle to that conclusion by the end of the film. It’s a fitting character arc for Gabby Gabby and her broken voice box. TS4 is darker but a beautifully told animated gem. As our character’s travel down uncharted territory, Pixar tells the audience how to move on. Prepare to grab those tissues because you are going to need them. “Tim Allen said that the film's story was ‘so emotional’ that he ‘couldn't even get through the last scene’’. “Similarly, Tom Hanks said that the film's ending scene was a ‘moment in history’". Like a shot through the heart, TS4’s emotional toll will strike you to your core. As Forky grapples with self-worth, Woody grapples with letting go of the past and looking toward the future. In the end, TS4 is a fitting finale to a near-perfect animated saga. For now, so long partner.
Glynis and I saw this movie at the Getty Drive-In, Muskegon MI.
Toy Story 4 is rated G (All Ages)
Directed by Josh Cooley
Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal, Timothy Dalton, Jeff Garlin, Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves.
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