Toy Story 4’s heart, humor, and depth proves this franchise had one more story worth sharing to us all.
Score: 4 / 5
When it was announced that Pixar was going to make a 4th Toy Story, my first reaction was, “what more is there to tell?” The prior Toy Story was such a perfect closure to the world of Toy Story that I couldn’t believe they could pull off another Toy Story that didn’t feel like it was just around for merchandise sales.
Well they proved me wrong, Toy Story 3 may have been the end for us, but Toy Story 4 was the end for Woody. What surprised me so much about this movie was how much the themes were aimed at adults at crossroads in their lives, about that panic so many have of holding onto something because they fear there is nothing else left. This movie is deep on some pretty existential levels. It also has some very dark moments, but then it also has some of my favorite comedy of any of the Toy Stories. It’s the Pixar that still knows how to tell a great story while keeping the children entertained.
There is just so much this movie does so well. The new characters are all great inclusions to the cast. Tony Hale’s Forky is amazing, Keanu Reeves’s Duke Caboom keeps the Keanu-ssance going, and Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s Ducky / Bunny combo have my favorite scene in any Toy Story hands down. These new characters steal the show in so many ways and I enjoyed every moment with them.
Which is also where I found the one thing that made this movie a little bitter sweet for me. To make room for these great new characters we lose out on a lot of screen time of most of the original cast. Including Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear. It was so strange to see him take such a backseat in what truly feels like the last Toy Story.
Moving away from the story and characters, it has to be said. This movie is so. Damn. Beautiful. The animation in this movie is beyond gorgeous at every level. I couldn’t help but marvel at every shot and every sequence. It’s insane how far Pixar’s animation has come after all these years. I know it will likely never happen, but I would just love if they used these improvements and reanimated the original films. It’s just that freakin’ good.
I wanted to avoid spoilers so I’ll keep this review relatively short. In all, Toy Story 4 is a beautiful ending to our friend Woody while also hitting on deep themes that has more in common with adults that in children. I may have loved Toy Story 3 more, but Toy Story 4 is a fitting conclusion to the 1995 classic that started it all.