Woody and his friends embark on a road trip, where Woody must
rescue a new toy and reunites with an old friend he thought was lost.
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Directed by Josh Cooley
Written by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom
Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale,
Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Christina Hendricks,
Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Joan Cusack, John Ratzenberger,
Wallace Shawn, Blake Clark, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris,
Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal
Sequel to 2010's Toy Story 3
Oscar Wins - Best Animated Film
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Song (I Can't Let You
Throw Yourself Away)
Got to say, I ended up pleasantly surprised by this film. Upon initial announcement, all I could think was how this was going to be a cash grab sequel and Disney’s way to keep one of their most beloved franchises still going. It didn’t help that there was some behind the scenes drama over creative differences about the direction this fourth installment would take. Even when the first trailer dropped, I was still very skeptical. And, can you blame me? The third one had a perfect ending which tied the series together nicely. There was no need for another installment. But after hearing all the great reviews and having some extra time, I finally sat down to watch Toy Story 4. And, they actually did a pretty good job with this epilogue to the story.
We follow Woody as he seems to be experiencing an existential crisis due to the fact that Bonnie no longer wants to play with him. So, like previous entries, a pretty heavy theme underlying the humor throughout. And, also like previous installments, it’s handled extremely well here. There are plenty of moments for the kids to have a good laugh while also imparting some good life lessons. As for the voice cast, both new and returning. Simply put, they’re all great. The veterans continue to show us why these characters have become so lovable in the first place. The newer cast members also blend in very well. Keegan Michael-Key, Jordan Peele, and Keanu Reeves are particular highlights. But this does bring me to a minor complaint for me, the real lack of utilization of most of the original cast. While in the movie, they don’t provide much to the overall story. As a longtime fan, it makes me sad.
For the most part, Toy Story 4 proves to be a solid final installment to a beloved franchise. Whereas the previous installment was the ending for Andy, this was the ending for Woody and the gang. Be prepared, though, the ending is another tearjerker. Let’s just hope Disney leaves this alone and doesn’t feel the need to make a fifth movie. You’ve got a friend in me, indeed.
From the moment it was released, I had reservations about Toy Story 4. It seemed like Pixar was finally selling out and mining the grave of its greatest franchise in order to make an easy buck. But I couldn't have been more wrong. Toy Story 4 finishes Woody's story with a funny, emotional, and satisfying conclusion that never feels forced and is 100% genuine. It deals with something we all must face at some point in our lives, mainly the choice of whether we should live the life we have or the life that we want. We get to see Woody faced with an existential crisis, and the film deals with some heavy adult themes that left me in tears.
When Bonnie comes home with a new toy she made called Forky (Tony Hale), Woody takes it upon himself to teach Forky how to be a toy. But when Forky gets lost, Woody goes after him and is reunited with his old friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who lives life her own way and shows Woody what life is like for a toy without a kid. It's an interesting direction to take, and the film is very much Woody's story, with the rest of the characters mostly taking a backseat. And I must praise the incredible growth that Pixar's animation has had since 1995. The animals, the rain, and everything in between looks more real than ever. It's simply remarkable.
I adored Toy Story 4 and consider it one of Pixar's greatest sequels. It does justice to its characters and delivers a perfect conclusion that we didn't know we needed. It felt good to be with these characters again, and I'm glad Pixar gave this film the love and care it deserved.