Friday, June 21, 2019

Toy Story 4 - Movie Review

The Movie: Toy Story 4

The Director: Josh Cooley

The Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Allen, Joan Cusack, John Ratzenberger, Carl Weathers,

The Story: When a new toy called "Forky" joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

The Review:
As this movie approached its inevitable release, I was having thoughts that I'm sure a lot of people were having like why are they making another one, the trilogy was basically perfect. I had a fair amount of skepticism for what the story might involve although I also had faith in the Pixar team of story tellers so I decided to go in with an open mind and as little expectation, either good or bad, as I could have.

Well. Pixar has done it again. The Toy Story franchise is alive and well if not better than ever. The movie is original, it is fun, it is exciting, it is bold, it is inventive, it is nostalgic, and it fits perfectly into the story that has already been told without altering or changing anything we already know. Bringing on board a created character as a toy instead of a store bought one was a very interesting move and brings with it a strong message about individuality, self worth, self expression, and the value of who we are and what our purpose is.

This movie could easily be a conclusion to the story and it could just as easily be the beginning of something more and definitely a little different. You'll have to watch the movie to understand what that means but there is both a tip of the cap and a nod to the future as the story comes to a close. Of course, this wouldn't be a Toy Story movie without a serious tug at the heart strings so you'll want to make sure to bring some tissues or extra napkins along for the ride.

It was also interesting to see several new characters added into the mix and again, they may have been dropped in just to tell this story or they may have been added to the roster for whatever the future might bring but that being said, none of it felt forced or tossed in just to do it. Keanu Reeves provides the voice for a really cool character and you can tell he had a lot of fun playing the part and getting to add his talents to a roster that is probably, at this point, one of the best voice casts ever assembled.

The animation of course is absolutely beautiful and maintains the style and aesthetic of the previous Toy Story movies and it's always fun to look for Pixar easter eggs sprinkled all over the place (I spotted a few and can't wait to go back and look for more). I really love how Pixar has never gone for a photo realistic look with this franchise as having a classic cartoon feel and texture is essential to the toys being in the same world as the humans who have played a bigger role in each consecutive installment.

To keep the consistency going, Randy Newman was once again brought in to provide the soundtrack and all of the classic elements are there along with a few new themes thrown to keep things fresh. I've always loved the whimsical Saturday afternoon vibe of the music in these movies and all of it just adds to the immersive combination of visuals and voices that the soundtrack provides a foundation for. Top notch work as always from Mr. Newman.

The Verdict:
Toy Story 4 is so good. It's everything a Toy Story movie should be and actually leaves you hoping for more but still satisfied and happy if this is the end. Since we all know how much Disney loves money and sequels and trilogies and shared universes, I'm sure we will get to see more of Buzz, Woody, and the rest of the gang at some point and I really don't have a problem with that at all.

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