I grew up with the Toy Story franchise.
The first two films debuted in movie theaters before I was born. Before I had seen either the original “Toy Story” (1995) or the first sequel “Toy Story 2,” I had already met Woody and Buzz and the rest of the gang.
I remember playing with Buzz and Woody dolls when I was little. I used to play games. I went on the Toy Story Mania ride at Walt Disney World. I had fun and I loved the characters.
I saw “Toy Story 3” in the theaters when it was released in 2010.
I don’t remember the theater experience very well, but I watched it more than once. It was a great movie. I liked the new toys, and I liked Bonnie. I thought that it had a good ending. I thought it was a good wrapup for the franchise, and that it would be the last one.
Now, more than 20 years after Pixar Animation Studios introduced the world to the beloved Toy Story characters, they have released another film through Walt Disney Pictures, bringing back all those beloved characters for a new adventure.
“Toy Story 4” is an outstanding film.
It was emotional, and it had me crying by the end. But it also had comical relief, especially from characters like Ducky and Bunny.
In the film, we start with a flashback that takes place between the last two films. It provides a backstory for why we haven’t seen Bo Peep in a while. Back in the present, Bonnie is about to start kindergarten orientation. Woody is worried that she will be nervous and sneaks into her backpack. Bonnie goes to orientation and is shy around her classmates. During art class, Woody grabs stuff out of the trash and puts it on Bonnie’s table. Bonnie takes the supplies and makes Forky, and she feels better. Woody introduces Forky to the others. Forky feels like he isn’t supposed to be a toy and tries to throw himself away. Woody tries to protect him, which leads him on a life-changing adventure.
In addition to Forky, lots of new characters are introduced. Gabby Gabby and the Bensons are introduced as antagonists. Giggle McDimples, Duke Caboom, Ducky and Bunny help the toys on their quest.
As the film progresses, the audience learns that Bonnie hasn’t played with Woody for a long time, and he doesn’t feel like he has a purpose anymore. He misses Andy. He isn’t the favorite toy anymore. He learns from Bo that there are a lot of other kids in the world, and he may have to take a different path to find his purpose.
It’s easy to feel sympathy for Woody. Tom Hanks once again provides the voice for Woody. As always, he does an outstanding job bringing out the character’s emotions.
Overall, I think the voice actors did a great job. I’m glad that Bo Peep has a more important role in this film, and that we can get to know her. Bo Peep is voiced by Annie Potts, who is currently starring in the supporting role of Constance Tucker — or Meemaw — on “Young Sheldon,” a spinoff of the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” The film also features the voices of Tim Allen, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, and Joan Cusack.
Don Rickles, who has voiced Mr. Potato Head throughout the Toy Story franchise, passed away in 2017 before filming on this project began. Filmmakers were able to use archive recordings of Rickles for the film to pay tribute to his memory.
I think “Toy Story 4” is as good a film as the first three franchise installments. It’s more dramatic and emotional. You see the toys out in the world more. Buzz and Woody both learn to listen to their inner voices and learn they may have more than one purpose. The plot and acting were great. The movie talked a lot about friendship and loyalty. The soundtrack was also enjoyable.
I believe fans of the other movies will like this movie.
It’s hard to let go of these characters. I would like to see them reunite someday. It doesn’t have to be a sequel; it could be a short film or special. Buzz, Woody and the other toys will always have a special place in our hearts.