At her first day of school, Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) creates a new toy named Forky (Tony Hale). It’s up to Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of Bonnie’s toys to keep Forky safe while on a road trip.
Like many, I was skeptical when a fourth Toy Story movie was announced. Toy Story 3 had wrapped the story of Andy’s toys up to that point superbly. Several shorts have been made since then (which are perfectly okay with me) but another full-length feature felt like an attempted cash grab. Going into this movie I was torn. On one hand, I love the Toy Story films and welcome the chance to play with these characters. But on the other, as I said, the story of Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the crew felt complete. Even though it doesn’t quite hit the emotional highs as previous films in the franchise, Toy Story 4 offers a good conclusion for the characters many of us have grown attached to since 1996.
Firstly, if you thought the animation of Toy Story 3 was top-notch, then you’ll be blown away from the animation of Toy Story 4. As the toys go to different environments, from Bonnie’s room, to Bonnie’s family’s RV, to a playground, to an antique store, and many places in between, each place has its own aesthetic and feels unique. Toys are not made from the same material. Toys like Buzz Lightyear are completely plastic, Woody is a mix of fabric and plastic, and Bo Peep is porcelain. Buzz has a pretty matte look, you can see the pilling on Woody’s shirt, and Bo Peep has a shine to her Buzz and Woody do not, and all the other toys have similar characteristics. Look at the character posters to see examples of what I’m talking about. It’s honestly breathtaking the amount of detail that has gone into making these characters look as realistic as possible. The bar of what of animation is capable of just keeps going up and up.
For the first three films, or “Andy Trilogy” as I’m going to start calling it, the toys mostly shared the spotlight. There was more of a focus on Woody and Buzz but characters like Rex, the Potato Heads, Jessie, and Bullseye shared the screen pretty evenly. However, this time around the focus is on Woody, who becomes the sole heart and soul of the film, with everyone else being demoted to support duties. One of my favorite parts of the previous film was seeing all the different personalities of the toys together so it was disappointing I didn’t get to see as much of that in this film.
One of my biggest, if not my biggest, concern with creating a follow-up film to the wonderful Toy Story 3 was where the writers would take the story, as Toy Story 3 added a perfectly fitting ending to the story of Woody, Buzz, and the gang. In typical Pixar fashion, they proved that there is almost always more story to tell, and they told it well. I’m not a huge fan of how they made Woody the central character like I mentioned above, mostly because of how it shifts the narrative of the whole franchise, but I won’t get into that here. However, once again, Pixar created a story that has a lot of heart.
I thought Toy Story 4 was GOOD 🙂 While I’m still not ecstatic that this movie was made in the first place, I still enjoyed it. This series serves as breadcrumbs to track how far computer animation has come, as this is one of the best looking computer animated films I’ve ever seen. Toy Story 4‘s heart is in the right place but it ultimately falls short, which isn’t too surprising given it had to follow the emotional franchise-ending of Toy Story 3.
Cast & Crew
Josh Cooley – Director / Story
Andrew Stanton – Story / Screenplay
Stephany Folsom – Story / Screenplay
John Lasseter – Story
Valerie LaPointe – Story
Rashida Jones – Story
Will McCormack – Story
Martin Hynes – Story
Randy Newman – Composer
Tom Hanks – Woody (voice)
Tim Allen – Buzz Lightyear (voice)
Annie Potts – Bo Peep (voice)
Tony Hale – Forky (voice)
Keegan-Michael Key – Ducky (voice)
Jordan Peele – Bunny (voice)
Keanu Reeves – Duke Caboom (voice)
Ally Maki – Giggle McDimples (voice)
Christina Hendricks – Gabby Gabby (voice)
Madeleine McGraw – Bonnie (voice)
Jay Hernandez – Bonnie’s Dad (voice)
Lori Alan – Bonnie’s Mom (voice)
Bonnie Hunt – Dolly (voice)
Kristen Schaal – Trixie (voice)
Jeff Garlin – Buttercup (voice)
Wallace Shawn – Rex (voice)
John Ratzenberger – Hamm (voice)
Blake Clark – Slinky Dog (voice)
Don Rickles – Mr. Potato Head (voice)
Estelle Harris – Mrs. Potato Head (voice)
Entries for the Christmas in July 2019 Blogathon are due in two weeks! To find out more, check out the post here.