Pixar’s newest movie is taking them back to the franchise that put them on the map. The fourth installment of the Toy Story series sees Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang on a road trip with new owner Bonnie. When Woody sets out on his own to rescue new toy Forky, he runs into Bo Peep, who was sold long ago, and seeks her help in completing his mission and returning to Bonnie.
For good reason, the Toy Story trilogy was widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time. I personally like the first the best, but the other two movies, and the third in particular, definitely have their fans. Because of my love for those movies, it was nice to see all of the characters back on screen again. After growing up with them, it’s hard to beat the nostalgia for Woody and Buzz, voiced by the always brilliant Tom Hanks and Tim Allen.
Putting nostalgia aside, the most successful part of the movie is the humor. I had a smile on my face for a lot of the movie, chuckling at some scenes and laughing out loud at others. A lot of the jokes will be funny to kids and adults alike. A lot of the humor comes from the new characters, a utensil-turned-toy named Forky (Tony Hale) and two plush toys named Ducky and Bunny, voiced by Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele. All three are welcome additions and fit in very well.
The biggest issue I take with Toy Story 4 is that besides those new characters, it doesn’t add anything to the Toy Story legacy. Toy Story 3 was such a perfect ending to the franchise that a fourth movie seemed unnecessary from the moment it was announced. I did my best to give it the benefit of the doubt because I don’t want to take away from a filmmaker with a story to tell. But in the end, it does feel like it was unnecessary and out of place among the Toy Story films. It plays on the nostalgia of the first without being nearly as good, and, save for the very last scene, does not have nearly the emotional impact of the third.
This is a tough movie to rate because it does feel like so much of a nothing movie overall, but most will enjoy watching it, as I did for the most part. I think adult fans of the franchise will enjoy being back in the world and kids will most likely love it. However, I know personally I won’t revisit it as often as I do the others. It’s a harmless, middle of the road movie if there ever was one and because of that, it earns a middle of the road rating.
Toy Story 4 gets a 10-4.
Ratings from low to high: Felony, Misdemeanor, 10-4, Positive ROP, Golden Donut