Randy Newman’s catchy classic song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” made my generation’s childhood, captivating and cementing a new generation for Disney fans everywhere. Pixar’s pitch perfect follow up in the Woody and Buzz Lightyear saga “Toy Story 4” follows a similar setting and allows audiences to discover the gang once again.
“Toy Story 4” is an endearing, exciting and entertaining conclusion to the now quadrilogy of this classic cartoon series. Much like playing with your toys once again, the film picks up from the last installment with a nice flashback cleaning up some loose ends and reintroduces Bo Beep with a proper backstory regarding her absence.
Bonnie has certainly kept her promise taking care of Andy’s toys. Although Andy was just a kid, Woody can’t stop reminiscing about his kid. Woody has now been relegated to a life of closet space and dust bunnies while all his pals now shine in the limelight with Bonnie’s transition as “his kid.” Bonnie’s imagination continues thriving until she’s forced to attend a kindergarten orientation leaving her frightened and frustrated without the comfort of her toys. Sensing she needs help, Woody wanders into her backpack for support and actually assists with her making a new friend-quite literally. However, Woody can’t catch a break as Bonnie’s new toy Forky constantly can’t comprehend his purpose. By helping Forky, can Woody find himself once again and learn the importance of growing up?
Now I don’t want to discuss details or give away anything regarding the plot, but the film is full of cute Easter Eggs and cameos for the attentive audience members. “Toy Story 4” exceeds expectations knocking it out of the park. This stupendous sequel shines as a wonderful piece of movie magic in the Disney/Pixar Cannon. “Toy Story 4” persists as the best film in the entire series and will have you crying, cheering and laughing all the way through.
Sequels stumble here and there, but “Toy Story 4” somehow can exist on its own merit without watching any of the previous movies. The self-containment can certainly create a new trilogy or another sequel if so inclined, but the film’s exceptional enjoyment joins elite company. Pixar certainly exceeds expectations for a fun family outing once again!
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen attracted audiences with the first film, but it’s scene-stealer Tony Hale’s hilarious antics as Forky, which will leave you clamoring for more. The award-winning “Arrested Development” and “Veep” actor astonishes audiences and is the perfect fit, much like Robin Williams in “Aladdin” or Eddie Murphy in “Shrek.” Every scene seems so much more memorable as Forky forms another anatomically, admirable character to the Disney universe. I felt reluctant to accept the character initially, but like Walter in “The Muppets” reboot he won me over with a wonderful, warm and well-rounded character who captured my heart. Tony Hale’s hilarious, heartfelt performance makes the movie and is undeniably infectious.
Now it’s definitely difficult to discuss the fun and fantastic cameos throughout without giving away surprises. However, I do have to recognize the greatness that is Keanu Reeves, who plays 1970s Canadian stuntman Duke Caboom akin to the classic childhood Evil Kineveal stunt cycle. Similarly to Michael Keaton’s kinetic performance in “Toy Story 3,” Caboom stands out on his own accord. The Keanussance is in full force with “John Wick 3,” “Always Be My Maybe,” and now “Toy Story 4” with the upcoming videogame “Cyberpunk 2077” slated for a Spring 2020 release. Reeves’ dynamic, dedicated stuntman dug deep to locate the soul of a lost toy and will leave you aching for more. We need more Keanu Reeves in our life!
It’s hard to believe “Toy Story 4” is the directorial debut of Josh Cooley, but considering his pedigree as a storyboard artist on “The Incredibles,” “Cars,” Ratatouille,” and “Up” along with co-writing “Inside Out” it makes perfect sense. Cooley captivates audiences with an amazing story and simply stuns with assembling another amazing movie masterpiece for Disney fans. As no surprise, the screenplay shines with another amazing achievement after attracting an All-Star group including Andrew Stanton (who wrote all of the “Toy Story” films, “Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E”), Pixar legend John Lasseter, Stephany Folsom, Valerie LaPointe, Martin Hynes and writing partners Rashida Jones & Will McCormack (“Celeste and Jess Forever”). “Toy Story 4” raises the bar besting the franchise.
Back in 1995, “Toy Story” was a major milestone as the first fully computer-animated feature film. The gorgeous graphics are on another level with “Toy Story 4” and beautifully blend, especially with the opening sequence. It’s a simply, stunning masterpiece well worth watching over and over again for generations to come. Easily one of the year’s best films and the best-animated film of the year!
4 out 4 stars
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