2019 has been an interesting year for the movie industry, especially for Disney. From Toy Story 4 to upcoming live-action The Lion King and to the highly anticipated Frozen 2, they teams been tasked with creating fresh and organic content, while still keeping the love and care of the original films to make sure the audience can truly connect to the story. In my past review for Avengers: Endgame, I mentioned that I was 13-years-old when the MCU began with Iron Man. Marvel and the Avengers had a big impact on my life, and so has the Toy Story franchise.
Growing up with these movies has been an amazing experience. Seeing how far some of our beloved characters have come is truly something special. When Disney announced that they would be making Toy Story 4, I was a little nervous because Toy Story 3 had such a fantastic ending. After the plot was revealed and the teaser was released, I was more optimistic about this latest foray into the franchise. Now that I have seen the movie, I can confidently say Disney•Pixar absolutely knocked it out of the park with Toy Story 4. If you were also nervous when the announcement of this latest movie was made, you don’t need to be.
Toy Story 4 finds Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang embarking on a road trip with Bonnie, and a new toy named Forky (Tony Hale). The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend, Bo Peep (Annie Potts). As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from their lives as toys.
This was easily the funniest Toy Story movie yet, and I believe the main reason for that is because of the the new additions to the cast. Forky (voiced by Hale) is one of the best characters in the film because of what he means to be Bonnie. Forky is probably one of the most relatable characters Pixar has ever created. Yes, because he was created from literal trash. His relationship with Woody throughout the movie was surprisingly heartwarming. Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples (best name ever) is a scene stealer. Every time she was on the screen with Bo Peep, you couldn’t help but smile. Let’s not forget, Bo Peep is back and better than ever. The rebranding of Bo Peep was such a great move and it didn’t feel forced at all. At the Toy Story press junket the team behind the film revealed that Hanks and Potts recorded their lines together, and when you watch the movie you could really tell how in sync they were.
To no surprise, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny had the funniest moments in the entire movie. They have a running joke throughout the film that really gets better each time. Gabby Gabby is one of the most layered characters in the movie. I won’t go into too much detail about her character, but her relationship with Woody is another important part of the story that you guys will appreciate. Last but not least, Duke Caboom (who is voiced by the legendary Keanu Reeves) – Duke Caboom was the real MVP of the movie. We all know that 2019 is the Year of Keanu Reeves, and Duke Caboom will go down as another iconic role for the actor. I wouldn’t be surprised if they invested in a Disney+ spin off featuring the character.
Before you watch this film, I would highly suggest rewatching the previous movies – even if it’s just for Woody’s story arc alone. He has one of the most complete arcs in cinematic history, and it only gets better with Toy Story 4. Buzz Lightyear didn’t have as big a part as he’s had in other movies, but his on screen time was enjoyable and provided some much needed relief in some of the tenser scenes. Jessie, Slinky Dog, Rex, Hamm, and the Potato Heads don’t get as much screen time as some people might be hoping for, but because of the plot, it made sense to have smaller roles in this particular movie.
For his directorial debut, Josh Cooley did an amazing job of staying true to the legacy of the franchise while still adding new original ideas that felt authentic to the Toy Story lore. Toy Story 4 is a near perfect addition the earlier films, and will without a doubt be one of the best Disney•Pixar movies ever made. The team behind this movie did an impeccable job of making this movie work for kids, as well as adults who grew up with the franchise. There were so many themes throughout the movie that worked on many different levels.
Pixar is known for their breathtaking animation and the animation in this movie is superb. It’s expected with each movie, but I was blown away by how well things looked. One of the highlights was the antique store which the film spends a good amount of time in. From the cobwebs, to the dusted bookshelf, to the faded mirror, the amount of detail put into those scenes alone deserve some awards. Director Josh Cooley said there are many easter eggs in the antique store, so make sure to pay attention.
Toy Story 4 hits theaters on June 21, 2019. Be sure to check it out, you won’t regret it!