Pixar started the “Toy Story” franchise back in November of 1995. I was 12 at the time and somehow I never made it to the theater to see the movie. “Toy Story” was a big deal at the time and for some reason, I was never able to see it on the big screen. While I was never able to make it to the movies, I did receive a copy of the “Toy Story” video game on the Sega Genesis for Christmas that year and that was actually my first rodeo with Woody and the gang as the game’s storyline was pretty similar to the actual movie. My first viewing of “Toy Story” finally came a few months later via VHS and I think I immediately rewound the tape to watch it again. Ever since that day, “Toy Story” has remained one of my favorite movie franchises. I still have the Buzz and Woody figurines looking over me on my desk as I type this review. Throughout the franchise, “Toy Story” has perfectly nailed the feeling of childhood and the attachment to our favorite toys growing up. “Toy Story” was a huge smash hit that amassed a cumulative worldwide gross of $373,554,033. For a movie with an estimated budget of $30,000,000, the huge haul was more than a greenlight for a franchise.
Nine years after “Toy Story 3”, Pixar has finally released “Toy Story 4.” Right off the bat, I must admit that it is my favorite of the four movies. The hour and forty minute adventure brings with it a rollercoaster of emotions. I laughed harder than any of the previous installments and it includes a good amount of heartfelt moments to tug at your heartstrings. Surprisingly, some of the scenes in “Toy Story 4” were a little creepy. Warning to the parents with little kids, the Dummies in the movie may scare your little ones. “Toy Story 4” serves up the right blend of comedy and adventure with a little thrill on the side.
The whole classic gang we all love is back for the new adventure with the addition of newcomers Tony Hale’s Forky and Keanu Reeves’ Duke Caboom. Through the years, Woody has learned the importance of “having a kid.” “Having a kid” is like having an owner in the “Toy Story” world. When Woody’s new kid, Bonnie, leaves for a road trip with her parents, she leaves behind her newly crafted toy, Forky. Even though Woody is no longer Bonnie’s toy of choice at the time (Jessie takes the number one spot in her heart), Woody rounds up the gang to reunite Forky and Bonnie after Forky gets accidentally left behind.
“Toy Story 4” mainly focuses on the Forky/Bonnie reunification storyline but there are other characters along the way that tell their pasts and explain their current situations. To me, Key and Peele’s Bunny and Ducky made me laugh the hardest. Bunny and Ducky are plush toy prizes in a game at the carnival near the RV park Bonnie’s family escapes to for their vacation. They are desperate to escape the prize wall and find a kid like the other toys. “Toy Story 4” also reunites a few characters but I do not want to spoil any of the surprises!
Animation has come a long way since 1995 due to the rapid increase of technology. Disney and Pixar have always been about the details and in “Toy Story 4,” they really show off their animation capabilities. Due to the beautiful and crystal clear Dolby Cinema screen, I was able to see the smallest details from the peach fuzz on some of the humans’ faces to the lint on Woody’s vest. The characters were truly brought to life and it really sucks you into the toys’ world. Sometimes you forget you’re watching an animated movie. With all of the bright colors hitting your retina at any given time, “Toy Story 4” is simply beautiful and an incredible achievement in animation.
The writing in “Toy Story 4” also shines just as brightly as the animation. Usually in an animated movie aimed at kids, the writers will throw in jokes that go over the kids’ heads to appease the adults. Not the case for “Toy Story 4.” All of the jokes are kid appropriate and all of the jokes will have the adults laughing just as hard! Everyone in the theater was laughing the whole way through and truly enjoying themselves. The script is also so tight, there is hardly a dull moment. The story moves along quickly and holds your interest the entire way through. There are no wasted scenes to drag the story down.
“Toy Story 4” is simply perfection and not to be missed. Parents and kids will have a memorable time because while the kids laugh at all the antics within the movie, the adults will be reminiscing about their toy of choice as a kid. During “Toy Story 4” you will laugh, sit on the edge of your seat and possibly cry by the time the credits roll. Also, stay until the very end of the credits for a few small extra presents from Pixar!