As Bonnie’s new toy goes missing, Woody makes it his mission to bring him back, but soon bumps into some old pals and new enemies while on the road.
I think it’s safe to say that the presence of this installment was unexpected. Toy Story 3 ended on such a high note, I’m sure it was almost unanimous that we did not need a fourth. However, Pixar had other plans. Now we have Toy Story 4. The toys are back for a new adventure and it’s a fairly fun trip, but was it necessary? Unfortunately, not.
Let’s start with the good. This installment is mesmerizing. From the opening shot of rain, I already knew we were in for a new era of animation. It’s no surprise that Pixar continuously raises the bar and with more recent films such as “CoCo” which excelled in bright visuals and illustration, Toy Story 4 still kicks it up a notch. At this point, they barely look like toys anymore. The animators have outdone themselves by recreating every toy to detail and also still able to create new toys on the same caliber. Speaking of the new toys, this installment is far more humorous than the first two. Forky (voiced by Tony Hale) is a huge standout. He’s clever, loveable, and downright obnoxious. As silly as he looks, he’s the perfect addition to the toy family. Hailing all the gut-busters is Ducky and Bunny (voiced by Keegan Key and Jordan Peele) who dominate each scene in this film and also hold the biggest mouths. They aren’t afraid to rush a toy and once you realize what the “plush rush” means, you’ll be laughing for a solid minute. Gabby Gabby (voiced by Christina Hendricks) is an interesting new villain and quite creepy at times, but her character never goes as far as the dictatorial bear in Toy Story 3.
Which leads me to the bad. The villain only does so much in this film. She is intimidating but her backstory limits her actions. She wants something from Woody but can’t necessarily get it on her own. Another character that was a let down is Duke Caboom (voiced by Keanu Reeves). Yup, the hype did not win me over. His voice acting is stellar, but his jokes are mediocre and far too similar to the Ken doll in the third installment, who absolutely murdered all his scenes.
The premise of the film is also a shy away from lazy. This is Woody’s show. The other characters are just background noise. Even Bo Peep has some incredible scenes, but it does not last long. I just wish we had more Forky and used his story to drive the movie forward because Woody is the forefront of all plots here. He has a strong story, but it did not need to go this far.
Pixar has announced that this is the last sequel for years to come. Meaning, we are about to see several Pixar originals. However, something tells me this is not the last we’ll see of these toys…
Nonetheless, this is a great film. But Toy Story 3 is a better installment and still a better ending.