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MOVIE REVIEW: Toy Story 4

Upon hearing about the making of Toy Story 4 the universal reaction was, “wait what?”. After all, Pixar had just ended Toy Story 3 on an emotional note many believed left the franchise in neatly tied bow. Because of that, going into Toy Story 4 I like many others was unsure if this was a money grab or a realistic next chapter for Woody and Buzz.

Well the verdict is in: Pixar did it again. Toy Story 4 is yet another fantastical sequel to the previous three installments. The movie hits on every note the others did: funny yet heartfelt, creative yet familiar. Everything you love about the previous movies, is packed in this tidy 100 minute follow-up.

As with every sequel, there is a nervousness of introducing new story lines, characters and ideas. Why mess with the original? Well, the casting directors and writers absolutely deserve a huge amount of credit. The new characters and actors behind them are outstanding. Keanu Reeves, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele all have minor parts, but their impact is felt throughout. All produce hearty laughs and memorable moments. All are seamless additions to the main cast. Key and Peele both are hysterical in their roles and should give people flashbacks to their famous hit show Key and Peele. Meanwhile, Reeves once again hits it out of the park with his role as Duke Caboom, a hilarious stuntman with an even more interesting and funny backstory.

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While those three are great additions, the most notable addition is that of Tony Hale, who plays Forky, Bonnie’s new homemade toy. Forky is also the main reason for the journey throughout the movie as seen in the trailer. Hale delivers a light-hearted, clueless and very enjoyable performance along with some very good lines.

Aside from the characters the plot and script are both really well done. There are very few scenes that come across as unnecessary or forced. The addition of Forky was very clever and an idea that everyone who has kids or was a kid (so everyone) can relate.

Another main subplot that has been discussed prior to the release was the return of Bo Peep voiced by Annie Potts. While on screen Potts and Tom Hanks (who voices Woody) have solid rapport.

One interesting thing the movie hits on yet again is the idea of mortality, which is central to all Toy Story movies, but was a specific emphasis in this movie that really hits home at certain points.

With Toy Story 3 ending in an undoubtedly sad way, Toy Story 4 was likely to have something similar and as Hanks and Tim Allen teased before, this movie delivers a similar gut punch sure to bring some to tears.

When taking a step back at this latest and likely last entry in the series, it is hard to find fault with any of it. As great as the plot is, the cast of new characters clearly steals the show. As usual it features huge names that are both creative and well placed. Furthermore Toy Story 4 is a wonderful and rare film that connects with adults and children, delivers a whirlwind of emotions, and a strong yet very satisfying ending to an all-time quartet of films.

About David Albiani

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