Toy Story 4 Review

MOVIE REVIEW: Is “Toy Story 4” a MUST SEE or a CASH GRAB?

Have you ever wondered why Disney is remaking so many of it’s classics? Well, what would YOU do if you’d built an entire industry of theme-parks and merchandise around aging story-lines and characters? You’d probably look for a way to make them relevant again. That’s why we’re seeing updated versions of Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King this year. It’s also probably why we’re getting Toy Story 4. No, this story isn’t as old as Cinderella or Snow White, but it was perfectly wrapped up with Toy Story 3 in 2010. Was Disney really able to mine new material from Woody and Buzz, or is this just an attempt to make an old story seem fresh?
The good news is that there IS enough story and character development to justify a Toy Story 4, even if it wasn’t entirely needed.
Woody (Tom Hanks) has sadly become the least-favorite toy and is left in the closet while Bonnie plays with the others. He deals with this disappointment by becoming a behind-the-scenes helper for Bonnie, who is about to start Kindergarten. This is how Woody inadvertently helps Bonnie create her new favorite toy, Forky (voiced by Tony Hale). They embark on a road trip with Bonnie’s family, where Woody runs into his old crush, Bo Peep (Annie Potts).
The Toy Story movies have always asked “What happens to toys who don’t have kids,” and the answer was usually pretty sad. This film, however, gives us happier version of those kid-less toys, who go on to lives of friendship and adventure. It’s a concept that’s difficult for Woody to imagine, but one he must consider now that he’s no longer needed.
The parent-as-toy theme ran pretty strong in Toy Story 3, where the toys had to let go of a college-bound Andy. It’s even stronger this time, when Woody has to redefine himself as a toy-without-a-child. It hit me pretty hard, as the parent of two older kids who are needing me less and less. That’s probably why I was crying through portions of Toy Story 4, while my kids laughed the whole way through.
There are far more laughs in this movie than tears, anyway. In fact, Toy Story 4 might be the funniest in the franchise, with jokes broad enough to reach any age. It’s one of those Kids’ Movies that could be appreciated by anyone, so don’t feel like you have to borrow a kid to see it.
A quick note to parents of very young or sensitive kids: Toy Story 4 has a few scary moments. The concept of a toy coming to LIFE is a little creepy (Annabelle Comes Home and a new Child’s Play are also opening this month) and this movie occasionally runs with that idea. There’s plenty of heart and humor to make up for it though, so don’t let that keep you away.
I loved every second of Toy Story 4 and look forward to seeing it again, but I do hope they let the franchise rest after this. I’d hate to see a day when a bad Toy Story movie came out. Or GOD FORBID, a live-action version! (A+)

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