Toy Story 3 felt so final that when Toy Story 4 was announced, the obvious question was why? Did we need another sequel? Now that question has an answer. We probably didn’t need the sequel, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile addition to the franchise.
Toys, new and old, head out on a roadtrip with Bonnie and her family, leading to the unexpected reunion of Woody and Bo Peep. Bo Peep is no longer a supporting character. She is front and center as a star in this film.
Joining us on the adventure is Forky, a toy created by Bonnie at kindergarten orientation. Forky struggles through his transition from trash to toy, echoing Woody’s own transition from leader of the toys to dust bunny collecting resident of Bonnie’s closet.
While Toy Story 3 remains my favorite film of the franchise, Toy Story 4 definitely earns it’s spot as the funniest. This is in no small part due to the talents of Tony Hale as Forky, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as plush carnival toys Ducky and Bunny, Ally Maki as the Polly Pocket-inspired Giggle McDimples, and Keanu Reeves as the Canadian motorcycle toy Duke Caboom.
Rounding out the new toys we meet in the film is Christina Hendrick’s Gabby Gabby, an antique doll with a collection of ventriloquist dummy henchmen. If you thought the dummies looked creepy in the trailers, that’s nothing compared to their appearance in the movie. There are actual jump scares in Toy Story 4. Low key jumpscares-it is a G-rated movie, after all-but jumpscares nonetheless.
It is clear that Pixar continues to raise the bar when it comes to animation. Gone is any resemblance to the uncanny valley characters in the original Toy Story. The details were so precise in Toy Story 4 that you could count the threads on Woody’s vest and observe the peeling on Buzz’s stickers. Saying the animation was so good that it was almost distracting is an unfair criticism, but one that I’ll still mention. More than once I found myself noticing the details more than the story. That was never more apparent than in the antiques shop featured in the film. It’s home to over 10,000 items, including Easter eggs referencing every film Pixar has ever made.
After the sobbing that Toy Story 3 elicited in most viewers, you’re probably wondering if Toy Story 4 will bring on the tears. The answer? Probably. Is 4 as emotionally devastating as 3? Not even close. The comic relief in the film really helps to keep things feeling lighter overall. That’s not to say that Toy Story 4 doesn’t pull some emotional heft.
Toy Story 4 has a runtime of 100 minutes, clocking in just over the industry standard hour and a half. The film is free of language, violence or adult content, so the main concerns for parents should be the emotional scenes and those creepy ventriloquist dummies.
You’ll want to stay until the lights come up in the theater. Pixar has thrown in several really charming surprises in the credits, right up until the very end.
Will you still be friends with the toys from Toy Story 24 years later? Find out when Toy Story 4 enters theaters on June 21, 2019.
Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.
Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”) and Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”), Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” ventures to U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.