Yesterday, I think you would have been justified to feel that Toy Story 4 is largely unnecessary. After all, Toy Story 3 ended just about perfectly.
However, if you happened to watch the Toy Story Toons shorts, you know that Woody and the gang embarked upon a whole new set of adventures with young Bonnie. These were five minute shorts, though, not a complete movie. Could Disney and Pixar recreate the magic of the first three Toy Story movies after a nearly twenty-five year run? Could they continue to hold our interest for two whole hours?
The answer is “yes.” Most definitely.
Toy Story 4 is a fun, lighthearted adventure that wisely breaks convention with the first three films.
For example, there is no true villain in Toy Story 4, which I thought was really smart. There are characters in opposition trying to achieve personal goals, but no one is truly “evil.”
Also, Toy Story 4 backed off of the emotional gut punches. They tease a few of them, but then choose to play them for laughs. Again, I found this decision very refreshing.
Adults will pick up on a story about finding purpose once you’ve raised your kids as well as the turmoil of finally living for yourself, but young children are unlikely to decipher all of that. Kids will relate to the comforting power of toys, the way they help confront challenges, and how they ultimately serve as a coping mechanism when difficulty arrives.
Young and old will love new characters, especially Forky (perfectly voiced by Tony Hale). Other new additions include Gabby Gabby played by Christina Hendricks, Ducky and Bunny given life by the hilarious Key and Peele, and an understated but lovable character called Duke Caboom, performed by Keanu Reeves. (It’s taking every ounce of willpower not to go out and buy a Duke Caboom toy right now.) Annie Potts plays Bo Peep, who makes her triumphant return and is given a really cool, captivating story to explain her absence.
While Toy Story 4 didn’t have to be made, some very important developments occur that could open the door to future movies. I’m not going to spoil anything, but I see great potential for some of these characters to spin off into their own adventures. Perhaps not into the movies, but maybe through a certain streaming service arriving soon?
Toy Story 4 is a funny, enjoyable, appropriate movie for the entire family. It’s not scary at all, there will be no tears, and you can look forward to some hearty laughs and charismatic new characters.
Like I said, Toy Story 4 didn’t have to be made, but I’m glad they made it. I’ve enjoyed these characters for twenty-five years, and I see no reason why we shouldn’t enjoy them for twenty-five more.