Toy Story 4 (Movie Review)
Oscar Rendon | St. Louis, MO | June 21st, 2019
Toy Story 4 stars Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Tony Hale (Forky), Joan Cusack (Jesse), Keegan-Michael Key (Ducky), Jordan Peele (Bunny), Christina Hendricks (Gabby Gabby), Annie Potts (Bo Peep), John Ratzenberger (Hamm), Wallace Shawn (Rex), Bonnie Huny (Dolly) and Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom. Toy Story 4 also includes the voice of Don Rickles crafted from archived voice work from the previous three films in Don Rickles final film appearance. Toy Story 4 follows our favorite group of toys as they discover just how big the world really is in a brand new adventure.
Who would have thought that 24 years later a group of animated toys would still tug at my heart strings, leaving me in a puddle of my own tears. To learn life lessons from inanimate objects at the age of 25 says something about the power of Toy Story and the well crafted and at times sad & heartwarming storytelling. I promised myself as I walked through the doors of the movie theater that I wasn’t going to cry, and guess what? I cried. Not even 10 minutes into the film and my tears were rolling down my face as I tried to hide them from all the other moviegoers/kids in the theater. I was skeptical about another Toy Story film after Toy Story 3 was released 9 years ago (I cried then too). The story for this film subverted expectations and conventional story tropes when it comes to villain and this films message to audiences. Tom Hanks voice warms your heart and melts it as the iconic cowboy Woody, although much of the performance in this film is animated his voice sold the heart and spirit of Woody and he made you feel for a TOY!!! Disney and Pixar really know how to rip out your heart only to give it back as a present wrapped in a nice little bow. While Woody was the heart and emotion of the film, Buzz (played by Tim Allen) provided some of the best comedy. In the film Buzz has a great bit about his “inner voice” that is written well throughout the movie. This film brought the funny and the heart that Toy Story is really known for doing. The story and plot of the film is great, my one criticism is that the plot is always about getting lost only to find their way back to their kid. While it’s basically the same movie plot it’s about the journey and how we get to the end of the film that is the most satisfying. Such is life, we are in constant repetition each day but it’s the small and different choices we choose that make it an adventure and this film highlights that perfectly and the lessons we learn along the way. I felt like when Woody was learning a lesson so was I and thats how this resonated with me. The villain of the film, Gabby Gabby voiced by Christina Hendricks was also great, she broke the mold that the Toy Story franchise had set up with other villainous toys. Her motivations and actions are understandable and aren’t as black and white as other villains. You get a depth with her that makes you sympathize with her and even root for her until the very end of the film.
Overall the film has everything you would want from a Toy Story film, the heart, emotion, adventure and life lessons that stay with you until the very end of the film and after. The plot may be repetitive with a few new additions but the story that lives in it is what gives it life. Woody becomes a father figure to Forky, Bo Peep returns with a much larger role that modernizes the character and it isn’t for sake of being progressive but because it lends itself to the story and what her character has been through which is displayed wonderfully in the first 10 minutes of the film. Gabby Gabby is a great foil for the characters but villain may be too strong a word for her and I enjoyed her characters arc, especially the last 15-20 minutes of the film. The animation is incredible and photo realistic, it’s hard to tell sometimes if what I’m seeing on screen is real or not. Randy Newman’s score as always pulls out the waterworks from me and has me in my own feelings.