‘Toy Story 4’ Review

Toy Story has a legit chance at holding the franchise championship belt after this latest outing.

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

You’ve got a friend in me. Those lyrics immediately hit you right in the feels. Much like this entire film franchise. Pixar and this misfit gang of toys have always packed an emotional punch. Everyone’s favourite collection of toys is back, it’s been 9 years since Toy Story 3, which I can’t believe. It kind of feels like yesterday that we all watched those toys almost become nothing but melted plastic. Remember how crippling that scene was? Seriously, 9 whole years, it’s shocking really, that Pixar can create 4 movies over the span of almost 30 years and still have the attention of essentially the entire world.

We all know that Pixar tends to deal with adult themes in their movies. They are meant and made for children, but they can touch on some serious deep-rooted themes and emotions. Toy Story 4 is no different. In fact, it could very well be the most adult film they have ever made. The soul of the movie is Bonnie creates a new toy in class and names it Forky, voiced by the talented Tony Hale. Once Woody meets Forky, he immediately does not understand why he was created and feels like he had no decision in this matter and he feels like trash. Forky doesn’t know his purpose in life and feels that Bonnie created him without his consent. That’s some serious and heavy stuff right there folks. So Woody is trying to teach Forky the meaning of being a toy and how important it is that he is there for Bonnie because he’s the most important thing in her life right now. You see, Woody has been sidelined with Bonnie, being left in the closet during playtime, so even Woody himself doesn’t know what his purpose in life is anymore. If he can’t be there for his kid, what is his purpose? When he meets Forky and discovers just how much Bonnie needs him to get through a difficult time in her life, he ultimately makes it his mission to protect and care for Forky at all costs.

When Bonnie and her family hit the road for a family road trip, Forky and Woody end up getting separated from Buzz and the rest of the gang. Let me be clear, this is Woody’s swan song, this is his movie. Yes, the Toy Story films have always been centered around Woody, but this installment, I felt even Buzz was being sidelined a bit. When Woody and Forky stumble upon Bo Peep who was sent away 9 years prior, some new feelings start to arise in Woody. For the first time in his life, he is contemplating what being a toy is truly about. Bo Peep lets him know just how wonderful being a lost toy can be, and you don’t need to be attached to a child to have a purpose in your life.

Buzz meets a few new toys himself, while he is trying to find his “inner voice” he meets Ducky (Keegan Michael-Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele) without doubt the standouts of the film. From the very first trailer, you knew these two guys were going to be coming in hot, and they didn’t disappoint! I’m sure we will get a future spin-off because their voice work was so well done, and their friendship and chemistry in the movie made every scene they were in hilarious. One in particular, where they are giving ideas on how to retrieve a key from an old lady. Also, everyone’s favourite Canadian Keanu Reeves voices stuntman Duke Kaboom, who is also a highlight in the film.

This film seems smaller from previous incarnations, the hour and 40 minutes really flies by. It’s simple, the toys are trying to reunite Bonnie and Forky while all learning lessons along the way. Some of the minor characters barely have lines in the film. More like they are just in the background, because like I mentioned this is Woody’s film. It’s dealing with serious subjects and that’s why it felt more mature and at times there is hardly any humor. But when the humour arrives, it really knocks you on your butt.

It’s hard to say if this will finally be the final outing for these toys, but they introduced so many fantastic new ones, including the film’s villain/ sympathetic figure Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks). That seems almost impossible we won’t be seeing some sort of spin-off or in another decade a Toy Story 5. But even the last line of the movie makes you believe that this was it for Tim Allen and Tom Hanks. If it is, it’s been one incredible journey and if not, well I can’t wait to see where they go next.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Toy Story 4 = 89/100

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