Since the original Toy Story broke ground in 1995, Woody and the gang have been a large part in so many lives. Whether it’s the leadership and loyalty of Woody, the friendship of Buzz, or the innocence induced panic of Rex, the toys have had their effect on everyone. After the wonderful ending that was Toy Story 3, can the next installment keep that same magic we’ve seen over the past 20 years?
Toy Story 4 Synopsis
After the events of Toy Story 3, Woody and the rest of Andy’s toys now belong to Bonnie, a new kid who Andy entrusted with his childhood friends. Bonnie is beginning her new life as a kindergartener and on her first day, with the help of Woody, makes a brand new friend out of some sticks, wire, googly eyes, and a spork. Forky, the new self-loathing “toy” quickly becomes Bonnie’s favorite. Toy Story 4 then quickly turns into a road trip comedy with some old and new friends found along the way but how will Woody deal with all the excitement and keep his new kid happy along the way?
What I Liked
The Toy Story franchise has always been known for its breathtaking animation and Toy Story 4 keeps that tradition going. The opening scene of the film, which is a wonderful flashback, gets to almost photorealistic levels. The wonderful animation holds throughout the remainder of the movie. The porcelain look of Bo Peep or the hair on characters stand out.
Another aspect that Toy Story has always done wonderfully has been its introduction of new characters. We get iconic characters like Jessie and Bullseye in Toy Story 2. Toy Story 3 introduces us to the likes of Lots-o’-Huggin’-Bear, Trixie, and the wonderful Ken doll. Toy Story 4 does a great job with its new additions. Duke Kaboom (Keanu Reeves) is a Canadian stuntman who has some great moments. There is also Ducky and Bunn, played by the comedy duo Key and Peele. They bring some of the funniest moments of the film.
Pixar, especially Toy Story, has always had some great humor and that stays true throughout Toy Story 4. The new characters mentioned above have some hilarious moments. They also have some one-off lines that actually got audible laughs in the theater.
Finally, the antagonist of Toy Story 4 is one of the best of the year. A large section of the movie takes place within a midwestern antique store. We run into some old and frankly creepy toys at the store. If you have any sort of phobia involving creepy ventriloquist dolls this is your warning.
What Could Have Been Improved
Toy Story 4, while overall a good movie, did have some issues. One of the main problems is the character motivations and actions. There were times in this film that it felt like a totally different character making the decisions. Toys say and do things that after 3 films of build up, don’t really make sense. There are some specific choices that happen but it would be getting into spoiler territory.
The other issue that Toy Story 4 has it’s that it’s less of a Toy Story movie and more of a Woody solo film. All the original, lovable bunch that we’ve grown to love take a back seat in a film series that was built upon their relationships. Buzz gets reduced to some comic relief and isn’t in the majority of the film and key toys like Slinky, Rex, and Ham get one or two lines in the entire film. Toy Story has always been a story about these toys existing together and staying together no matter what and we don’t get that in Toy Story 4.
Overall while being a great film it was only a good Toy Story film. Several of the characters you’ve loved over the past 24 years get glossed over. Many will definitely not like that aspect. If Woody is your favorite and you want to see his story arc finally come to completion you will love Toy Story 4. It’s wholesome, funny, emotional, and is a film that any fan of the franchise should see as soon as possible.
Overall: 3.5 / 5