Now Showing: Toy Story 4

by David Gifford

 

Toy Story 4 is a direct continuation of the Toy Story franchise. If you haven’t seen those movies, it is highly recommended to do so before watching this one. It makes sense in its own right for sure, but the emotional payoff will not be the same if you have not.

The new story centers around the toys with their new kid Bonnie, and Woody is slowly being played with less and less. Bonnie instead makes a new toy of her own called Forky who is very confused about his role in the world and Woody must look after him. Forky wanders off too far and Woody has to go find Forky and bring him back to Bonnie.

Toy Story 4 is directed by Josh Cooley as his feature length directorial debut. It stars Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan) as Woody, Tim Allen (Home Improvement) as Buzz Lightyear, Annie Potts (Ghostbusters) as Bo Peep, and Tony Hale (American Ultra) as Forky.

If you haven’t seen the movies before,  the basic idea is that when humans are gone the toys come to life. Their goal in life is to make children happy, and are very dedicated to that goal. When the kids come back, the toys act like toys as we know them. It’s a really cool way of telling a story, and it allows for the creators to talk about real human emotions, and using toys as an allegory for a lot of things that people go through regularly. Topics such as purpose, abandonment, and more are explored in this movie and it makes for a movie that is great for both kids and adults. Kids will love the humor and the story along with the visuals. The adults are going to find a lot of really smart writing, and hugely emotional moments.

One of the best aspects of Toy Story 4 is the introduction of new characters. There are a lot of different new characters, many of which are great. It’s nice to see the franchise able to continue coming out with new movies and not running out of interesting ideas for new toys.

Forky is possibly my favorite character in the whole franchise. Forky just loves trash, because that’s what he was made to do: Be used then discarded and he is comfortable with that. Eventually, Forky grows as a character but remains delightfully confused throughout the entire film.

The visuals and art-style continue to be great, and there are some moments that are probably the best looking of the entire franchise. There is a really cool scene involving chandeliers with the light glistening off of them. The animation of the toys’ faces and movements really bring them to life. After watching the original movie this week, they have certainly come along with the animation. At times it’s easy to forget that you are watching toys instead of animated human characters, but that fits in line with one of the major ideas in the franchise.

The story is also fantastic, and it builds to one of my favorite endings in a movie in a long time. It is really nice to see the creators of this franchise care so much about the fans. This project is a work of love, and a gift to the many fans that have been with the series for a long time.

I grew up on the Toy Story movies, and it wasn’t until watching this movie that I realized just how much I loved them as a kid. The idea holds up well, and whether or not this is the end of the franchise, it is still a fantastic film in every way.

Toy Story 4 is a must-see film in the theaters. It’s not only the best animated feature of the year by a long shot, but it is also one of the best overall movies of the year. The story appeals to both kids and adults, and everyone in the theater seemed to be loving every minute of this movie. Toy Story 4 gets my highest recommendation with a 10/10.

David Gifford is a sales representative with The Mountain Echo and a gaming and movie enthusiast.