Movie Review: Toy Story 4 (2019)

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Summary: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. As always there are a ton of characters in these movies. We have our classic Toy Story characters we know and love and all of the voice actors have returned, outside of Don Rickles (R.I.P.) and of course some new characters and returning new characters from Toy Story 3.
  • Tom Hanks as Woody. Woody is back! He’s the same Woody he always is, loyal, hardworking, resilient and a leader. In this, it’s been two years since Andy gave Bonnie his toys and Woody is used to being the leader, he’s used to running the bedroom and all the toys listening to him and deferring to him. He doesn’t have that now as Bonnie Hunt’s “Dolly” is the leader of Bonnie’s room. In this, we get to see how kids grow up and how they lose interest in certain toys and gain interest, or more interest in other toys. Woody doesn’t get as much playtime as he got with Andy or even with Bonnie in the beginning. He’s not quite sure how to deal with not having the same importance he’s used to having so when Bonnie makes “Forky” he takes it upon himself to make sure Forky is always around for Bonnie when she needs/wants him and this becomes his job. Without spoiling what Woody has go through in this one, he’s still the same Woody just with a lot of learned lessons and experiences under his belt. Tom Hanks is Woody and he will always have that kind but frantic energy as this character always. Also, the emotional moments he goes through, I felt all of that. If this is truly the last Toy Story, I’ll miss Tom Hanks as Woody.
  • Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear. Buzz doesn’t quite have the same large role in this as he’s had in other films, but Buzz is Woody’s best friend and always his ride or die. Buzz takes over in Woody’s absence but he also learns how to listen to his “inner voice” when it comes to making tough choices. I’ve always liked Buzz, he’s always that confident, cool uncle who always tries his hardest and may not always get it right but he’s always ready to try and learn it again. Tim Allen is of course Buzz Lightyear. His silly moments, even his emotional moments hit really well.
  • Annie Potts as Bo Peep. So, in Toy Story 3, I think, Bo Peep was gone. We had no idea what happened to her but we’ve found her! She was given away when Molly was still a kid and then ended up in an Antique Shop since she’s like china or porcelain or something. But she’s in this little town with a playground, and where RVs can park and hang out for a bit. There’s also a carnival which is just kids galore to play with the toys. Bo pretty much has become a “lost toy” but she has taken to this lifestyle so well. She’s pretty badass. Her sheep too, WHO HAVE NAMES y’all lol. But she’s reunited with her boo, Woody and it’s been so long but she has his back in his task to save Forky. I’ve always liked Bo Peep but I really liked her here because she was so active and running things, that I was like yaasss. She definitely has an upgrade in her animation but that’s cool. Annie Potts has a great voice, it’s like a classic actress voice but it fits this character.
  • Tony Hale as Forky. He is a new toy that Bonnie makes in kindergarten. He’s a spork with arts and craft things stuck to him. Since he’s made from trash, he just thinks he’s trash and keeps trying to find his way into the trash. He’s kind of useless for a while but he ends up being endearing because he’s like a baby new to this world and learning how to operate in it and how important his role is in this little girl’s life. Tony Hale is funny and awkward and pulls off the innocent role well.
  • Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby. She is a baby doll who lives in the antique shop. She’s like the leader of the store, she even has Vincent (who is basically the Slappy Goosebumps doll lol) wheel her around in a baby carriage. I recognized her voice but I couldn’t put a name to the voice. But she comes off super sweet and nice. She has her goals and will stop at nothing to achieve your goals, but it’s up to you to decide if she’s a villain or not. I quite enjoyed her though.
Supporting Characters. We have a lot of supporting characters in this movie too, a lot of old ones and a lot of new ones. I’m not going to go through each of them other than the ones we spend a good amount of time on.
  • Keegan-Michael Key as Ducky/Jordan Peele as Bunny. They’re attached to each other. They’re hanging as prizes in one of those kiosks for games at the carnival. They meet Buzz first because they think he’s trying to steal all the kids from them lol. But they’re funny and I wonder how much they allowed Key and Peele to just talk and say things because half the stuff they said was ridiculous. Those characters are also just comic relief but they have their usefulness lol. As always, it’s clear that Key and Peele had fun voicing these characters.
  • Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom. I almost didn’t recognize his voice but it’s totally him. Duke is a stunts toy who apparently failed at being a stunt toy lol. He gets sad every now and then about it but he’s Canada’s greatest! Keanu Reeves is also having a good time in this role. Not quite sure but it seemed like Duke and Bo might have had some kind of thing at one point lol.
  • Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples. She’s Bo’s friend, a tiny little pocket toy who is just all over the place. She’s cute and she’s funny and Ally Maki fits that lol.
  • Andy’s Toys:We get a nice return of all of our favorites with Joan Cusack as Jessie, Wallace Shawn as Rex, John Ratzenberger as Hamm, Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head, Blake Clark as Slinky Dog(who has always been my favorite!) and of course Bonnie’s toys: Bonnie Hunt as Dolly, Kristen Schaal as Trixie and others.
Character Driven. All of the Toy Story movies are pretty much character driven which is always great because this really allows you to relate to the characters and care about them. Of course, a lot of us grew up with these characters so it’s also nostalgia but these characters are so lovable, so recognizable and this movie is no different in how they’re handled. They drive the story forward. Things happen because of mistakes made by characters, or things are achieved because of the choices of characters. Ugh, it’s just so good. This screenplay is handled with such care that while Toy Story 4 wasn’t a needed addition, it’s compelling and just as good as its predecessors.
Emotional. So, I was teary throughout a majority of the movie but I believe I cried maybe  twice overall. The ending especially. I wasn’t expecting it to hit me like that. There are a lot of good emotional nuggets in this film that I think a lot of people can identify with and be moved by. Woody’s journey alone in this movie, which is probably the most important journey, is handled so well that I just can’t imagine how it could have gone any other way. The lessons that are learned by Woody, Bo Peep, Forky and even Gabby Gabby are just so good and such human lessons. *sighs* It’s so good.
Stunning animation. OF course, Disney/Pixar does it again with another stunning film. The animation is definitely upgraded compared to the first three movies. Even Kid Andy, when we see him, looks really different. Ya know, upgraded technology lol. Bo Peep I believe is like china, or porcelain or something and I think her animation has also changed just a tad (She actually looks like Anna and Elsa to me). She actually looks a lot younger in 2019 than she did in 1995. It’s really fascinating to see how much animation has changed over the years. They’re still the same characters we know, no one looks drastically different but you can tell it’s 2019 in how the film looks.
Heartwarming Human Story. Now, I’ll kind of talk about this a little later, BUT overall, I think the story in this movie, while not as deep as the previous films, holds up just as well. The idea that life moves forward but you’re stuck and don’t know what to do, or how to move forward with life and those around you, that’s hard. I understand that. I’m sure many people understand that. I think the fact that Woody has that issue, is pretty human. It makes it relatable and I’m sure many people will sit in the theater and go “hmm…. why is this my life??” lol. Plus, everything Bo Peep says has some precedent as well. As does Gabby Gabby. There are a ton of little nuggets in this movie that you might just told your entire life and won’t even realize it until the end lol.
The villain. I hesitate to call this character a villain because while they do villainous things, you understand why and nothing they do is actually as horrible as they could be. But they’re also extremely fascinating in their wants/motives and you may actually sympathize with them.
Cons:
Forky At First.I actually found him annoying in the beginning. He ended up growing on me but in the beginning,  I was like “ugh, this character, he wants to be trash so let him be trash!” Also, I need to know how the magic of Toy Story works because he’s a spork that a child turned into a toy… yet it came to life. Soooo, how does this work? The other toys I get because they’re actually toys but the spork, I need to understand. It won’t change the magic for me, I just want to know how it works.
Needed?Probably not. No one really asked for Toy Story 4. No one really asked for a Toy Story 3 but this one more than 3 is the most unnecessary. I’m not saying that we should just throw it in the trash but Toy Story 3 ended the series on such a high and emotional note, especially with most of growing up with these movies, when the third one came out Andy was going to college and I was in college and it really hit home for me. It was perfect and this movie just feels like an extra one. The problems the characters go through in this one don’t feel as existential as the others have. At times, it’s like “Okay, this feels like a tack on story line.” The messages are important but we also kind of have gotten parts of this story in previous films. Woody feeling useless, it was the same in Toy Story 1. Woody having a midlife crisis, same as Toy Story 2. We’ve seen it before. The package is the same, the contents are the same, it’s just the wrapping paper that’s different.
Overall, Toy Story 4is a great addition to the Toy Story franchise. The characters are back and just as good as they’ve always been with some new adventures. All of the characters are just as loveable as always and the voice acting is fantastic as always. It’s clear there has been some upgrades in animation over the years and it’s stunning, absolutely stunning. It’s very much a character driven film with heartwarming, human lessons to learn. I think the way the movie handles the story and the impact it has on the characters is so organic that it doesn’t feel like something that was put together just to be put together. Now, while I think they handled it well, I don’t quite see the need for the film. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and I wouldn’t take it away now that I have it, but it feels like an extra addition as Toy Story 3 ended on such a great note. I also found Forky to be quite annoying for a large chunk of the film. He might end up growing on you as he did me but he may not. But the movie is definitely worth the watch because Toy Story is always going to be timeless.
Rating: 4.69 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Toy Story 4? What are your thoughts? Would you like to see a Toy Story 5? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments down below!
Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for future movie reviews!

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