The toys are back in town! While not the best film in the series, Toy Story 4 still provides some good laughs and seeks answers to some tough questions. Woody and Buzz are joined by some great new characters, but the film ultimately doesn’t meet the heights of its predecessor.
Toy Story 4 begins with Woody (Tom Hanks) and the gang hanging out with their current owner, Bonnie. One day at school, Bonnie creates a new toy out of art supplies that were thrown in the trash. This toy is named Forky and suddenly gains life. Forky (Tony Hale) quickly becomes Bonnie’s favorite toy. Forky though, believes he is just trash. Woody sees how important Forky is to Bonnie and tries to convince Forky that he is, instead, a toy.
Soon thereafter, Bonnie and the toys go on a family road trip. Forky soon runs away and Woody follows after him. This leads Woody to reunite with his past flame Bo-Peep (Annie Potts) and go head to head with the main antagonist, Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks). The film ends with Woody pondering a toy’s true purpose, and can he find happiness without a kid.
Toy Story 4 is a beautifully animated film. Every scene is simply gorgeous. Josh Cooley takes over the Director’s chair and created the most cinematic looking Toy Story yet. I can’t believe how far 3D animation has come since the first Toy Story came out in 1995.
The humor was very hit or miss. There were some genuine laughs to be had, but some jokes seemed to just run too long. Newcomers Forky (Tony Hale), Ducky(Keegan-Michael Key), Bunny(Jordan Peele), and Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) are nice additions to the cast. Unfortunately, the extra characters mean less screen time for some old favorites, particularly Buzz Lightyear.
My main issue with the film, however, was the ending. It was ultimately disappointing. It didn’t feel true to the characters and just felt off. I left the theater very unsatisfied, even though it was supposedly a happy ending. The ending brought about a major change to the series, which is always difficult for a fan. Still, the ending didn’t feel earned.
Overall, Toy Story 4 is a fine film. It is recommended for all fans of the series, but some may be ultimately disappointed by the lack of returning characters and the series changing ending.