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Movie Review: Toy Story 4 won't soon be forgotten

Buena Vista Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

There was understandable caution when Toy Story 4 was announced a few years ago, and even more leading up to this weekend’s release. I’m here to report you have no reason to worry, and better yet, a reason to celebrate. This new film is the best one in the franchise.

Yes, it’s hard to imagine a new Toy Story reaching the franchise’s lofty heights - especially after the success of 2010’s Toy Story 3. But somehow it does, with the toys finding new things to say with warmth, humour and courage.

Woody (Tom Hanks) and his friends have been with their new kid Bonnie for some time now. After a new toy named Forky (Tony Hale) joins the gang, an end of summer road trip reveals difficult choices for the friends left from Andy’s room.

Toy Story 4

The talented voice ensemble aids the brilliant, team-written screenplay in elevating the deceptively simple premise into a masterful dramatic work. Hanks and Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear are just as intrepid, whimsical and compelling as ever.

Several new characters add depth, spice, and variety to the world without being gimmicky. There’s too many to name them all, but special credit must go to Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele as the hysterical plush toy duo Ducky and Bunny.

It's the most nuanced and emotional Toy Story movie

This Toy Story is the most heartfelt of the series, and definitely the most mature. A case could be made the story is being catered to the adults who’ve grown up with the series for so long and less for the inevitable army of children who’ll also see it.

While there is something to be said about the smell of omnipotent wisdom the film exudes, it’s simple and approachable so even young children can enjoy it. This is a pure and true family film that rarely gets made nowadays.

Toy Story 4

Director Josh Cooley’s tale is about loyalty, fulfilling our purpose in life and how we go about making hard decisions. These are big ideas for children ranging from 4 to 99, and it’s somehow made digestible in a brilliant way with even more brilliant animation. Entertaining ideas made with this kind of care and love are why we go to the movies.

Toy Story 4 is so good you could easily be fooled into thinking the Pixar team had been planning for this chapter all along. It doesn't quite fit most genres because of its rollercoaster of emotions, leaving epic as the best way to describe how wonderful the movie is.

It’s more than just a terrific animated family film. It’s the best movie of 2019 and the unmissable cinematic experience of the summer.

Toy Story 4
4 out of 4 stars

G, 1hr 40mins. Animated Family Epic.
Directed by Josh Cooley.
Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks and Joan Cusack.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.

If I have one small complaint, it’s that the weirdest part was not having a short film at the start. After so many years of this tradition, it’s a power move on Pixar’s part.