Toy Story 4

"Toy Story 4" centers on Woody trying to convince Forky, a toy that Bonnie made from a spork, that he should embrace his new life instead of wishing to be trash. When Forky runs away while the gang is on a road trip, Woody finds himself reunited with his former flame, Bo Peep.

The “Toy Story” series of films have been cherished for the past 24 years by children and adults alike.

Each of the three films provided not only beautiful animation, funny scenes and star-studded casts, but also moving stories about growing up, change and death.

Now, nine years after the last film, “Toy Story” returns to the big screen with its fourth installment. Is the new film simply an attempt to get money form die hard fans or does it add something to the overall story of Sheriff Woody and his friends?

The film centers on Woody trying to convince Forky, a toy that Bonnie made from a spork, that he should embrace his new life instead of wishing to be trash. When Forky runs away while the gang is on a road trip, Woody finds himself reunited with his former flame, Bo Peep.

My biggest fear for “Toy Story 4” was that its story would feel unnecessary. For most of the film, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I shouldn’t be watching a fourth Toy Story film. This feeling faded away, however, when the entire film won me over with the last ten minutes of its runtime.

“Toy Story 4” follows in its predecessors’ path by telling a compelling story about the human condition. While the earlier parts of the film do feel a bit unnecessary, the climax brings the entire film into perspective and makes it clear that the film was made with care.

Most of the film’s comic relief comes from new characters such as Tony Hale as Forky, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom and Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples. Each of these characters were fantastically written and had me laughing consistently throughout the film.

It almost goes without saying that the film has stunning animation. Pixar seems to improve their craft each with, with every one of their films looking more impressive than the last.

It’s hard to say whether the “Toy Story” series of films would’ve been as impactful as they are without their stellar voice casts. Tom Hanks gives another spectacular performance as Woody, with support from Annie Potts as Bo Peep.

The rest of the cast, led by Tony Hale as Forky and Tim Allen as Buzz, are also fantastic, but it feels as if they don’t have much to do. This feels especially true for Tim Allen, Joan Cusack and the rest of the original “Toy Story” gang. Most of them barely speak, with much of the films runtime being dedicated to new characters. Thankfully, the new cast that is introduced is a joy to watch, but it certainly feels like a lot of talent was wasted.

Overall, I don’t think “Toy Story” will be disappointed by “Toy Story 4.” While it does feel a bit unnecessary after the fantastic “Toy Story 3,” in the end, it proves that it has something important to say about being alive.

4/5 Stars

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