Directed by Josh Cooley
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Christina Hendricks, Tony Hale
Runtime: 100 Minutes
This week we changed things up for the movies. We saw Toy Story 4 in 3D! Ms. “movie buff” Hannah Stanford went with me and we both enjoy 3D films, so we decided to give this one a shot in the 3D format. I will say, I was a little worried about taking notes with glasses on, but it worked out perfectly. I grew up with the Toy Story series. The first film came out in 1995 and the last was released nine years ago. I’ve personally always loved these films and it always seems like Pixar films (the company who creates them) showers their films with deeper meanings which usually hit home. This film was no exception. I had HIGH expectations for this film, yet it was another sequel. Would it this live up to the other films?
Onto the film.
We start nine years ago. Immediately the toys are in action. The RC car is stuck in the gutter and Woody, Buzz, and the gang are trying to rescue their friend. RC is stuck in the mud and spinning his wheels. A nice metaphor of the overall message of this film, being stuck in the same place, or the thought of turning your wheels and not getting anything accomplished. This prologue worked well for several reasons. First, it got the audience up to speed with all the characters if they hadn’t seen the other films or maybe had forgotten about them. Secondly, it placed an idea in the viewers head about being stuck. Most importantly, we got to see Woody (Hanks) and Bo Peep (Potts) and learn what had happened to her. (She wasn’t in the last film.) The chemistry between Woody and Bo Peep was fantastic and this helped fuel the entire film because what we end up seeing is truly Woody and Bo Peep’s story and without the prologue there wouldn’t be as much weight to this struggle.
We fast forward through the years and see Andy (the original “kid”) giving all his toys to Bonnie. It’s about to be an exciting time in Bonnie’s life, she’s about to start kindergarten. We see that Woody is no longer her favorite toy and we see an animated character question his life and his purpose. The writing is so well done, you forget these are toys and look at them as real people which allows us to relate to each character and their lives and struggles. A main theme we see throughout is about accepting who you are and everyone having a purpose somewhere in life.
Quick note on the 3D. It was excellent and helped add depth to the film. In the beginning it’s dark and raining yet the rain pops out at you. You feel like you’re in the rain with them. Toys are swung around, and it feels you may get hit by Woody’s boot. (Very cool) I asked Hannah if she thought my writing would look 3D too with the glasses on. She wasn’t amused with my dad joke. Also, no…no it didn’t.
Bonnie is off to kindergarten and she is having trouble; she makes a new toy named Forky. Forky (Hale) is made from things found in the trash, a spork, some broken popsicle sticks, some putty, pipe cleaner, and crazy eyes. Woody grabs all the items for Bonnie when she wasn’t looking. He’s desperate to still have a purpose for Bonnie and snuck with her to kindergarten orientation to make sure she had a good day. His purpose is now to make sure she doesn’t lose Forky. Her new favorite toy.
The movie really kicks off after Forky is “born” We see another existential crisis. Forky doesn’t understand what his purpose is. He thinks he’s trash and not a toy. This film is littered (no pun intended) with characters all going through that struggle. Throughout the journey we meet Gabby Gabby (Hendricks) who is defective and struggles with finding someone to love her. She ends up being our “big bad” yet like every character she has layers. We meet Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves kills it yet again) a motorcycle daredevil toy who couldn’t live up to his tv commercials, “It was a commercial, no one can make a 40-foot jump!!” Of course, we run into Bo Peep again, but she has changed. Like in life, people grow, people fail, and sometimes we just coast along. Bo Peep has grown. It was nice to see a character who had fallen on hard times, pick herself up and become one of the strongest characters. I think she probably ends up much stronger than Woody.
I bet you didn’t expect an animated film to have so many deep messages. What makes this film so great is there are many things for children to enjoy in it. Some of the jokes cater to the kids in the audience but there is SO MUCH for adults. I didn’t expect to leave this film thinking about so many things in life, but that ends up happening. The 3D is great, the script and cast all shine, and there is a scene with Ducky and Bunny (Key & Peele) devising a plot to get a key that is worth the price of admission by itself. Go see this film. See it in 3D if you can, but regardless see it. 5 stars out of 5 #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development.He can be reached at [email protected] or 740-981-9158