Film: Toy Story 4
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale
Director: Josh Cooley
Review: Paul Wright
Rating: 4.5 X’s out of 5 X’s
It isn't often that by the 4th film in a franchise people are still genuinely as excited as I was for Toy Story 4. Then worry starts to creep in that it’s merely a studio cash grab and maybe they should have just stopped at 3? I found myself asking can Pixar possibly have anything else to offer this franchise after this much time? Nearly 25 years since our animated protagonists first took the screen and stole our hearts. Thankfully the answer to that question was a resounding YES. Toy Story 4 not only added some completely fresh and new elements to the mix but was able to build even further off of what many considered to be the ideal ending to the franchise after our favorite toys were passed along from Andy to Bonnie in Toy Story 3. The newest iteration of this storied franchise kept to it's roots with some very well timed and family friendly comedic bits as well as finding new ways to go deeper than past film entries. From dealing with the loss of loved ones, to depression, to loyalty towards friends and family, Toy Story 4 made sure to toss plenty of deep lessons to it's original, much older core audience.
Throughout the series, the loyalty that the toys all seemed to preach towards their owners is unconditional and unquestioned. Without giving too much of the story away, let's just say that a different point of view makes it's way to the front of the plot in this movie and makes for a fresh feel that separates this enough from previous ones to warrant an additional movie, but also finds itself calling back to some of the nostalgic moments from the rest of the series as well. Tom Hanks portrayal of Woody is as good as ever in this movie but the surprise stars for me were Annie Potts, who plays Bo Peep, and Tony Hale, who you may know from the hit show Arrested Development, as Forky. The duo of Potts and Hale made for some absolute belly laughs throughout the movie and kept things rolling, even in moments some may have considered otherwise “dull”. An all-star team of cameos and guest appearances from the likes of Keanu Reaves, Keegan Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Carl Weathers, Betty White, Mel Brooks and Bill Hader made for some truly hilarious banter throughout as well.
All in all, this film is 100% worth going to see. I was a bit skeptical, because as previously mentioned, once you hit this territory in movie franchises, it’s either reboots or bad sequels. I’m happy to say that not only was the movie excellent, but now that I’ve seen it, it’s almost impossible for me to imagine the franchise without it. It truly belongs with the other movies and aside from the original, may even be my favorite entry in the series. 4.5 X’s out of 5 from me and a fitting way to end the Toy Story saga, if it truly is the end. Bravo Pixar, Bravo!