Producer Mark Nielsen, Kristen Schaal, Director Josh Cooley, Tony Hale, Producer Jonas Rivera, Tom Hanks, Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Tim Allen, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Keegan-Michael Key, Bonnie Hunt, Blake Clark and Carl Weathers attend the world premiere of Disney and Pixar's "Toy Story 4" at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on June 11. (Photo courtesy of Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney)
California School of the Arts

Review: Pixar creates innovative, nostalgic magic with ‘Toy Story 4’

The toys are back and they’re off on another adventure. Bonnie makes a new friend in kindergarten, a plastic spork named Forky (Tony Hale), who is convinced that he belongs in the trash. After Bonnie’s family decides to go on a road trip, Woody (Tom Hanks) makes it his duty to persuade Forky that he should embrace being a toy, but things get out of hand.

Woody takes an unanticipated detour and along the way, reunites with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts). He also meets other wacky, whimsical characters like Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki), Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), Bunny (Jordan Peele), and Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key). In another turn of events, Woody and Forky run into an ominous doll in an antique store, Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks).

Gabby Gabby is a seemingly sweet doll with creepy undertones, especially with her mob of even eerier male dolls that move in jerking motions. Over time, the movie reveals more about her character and her true desires that take away from the “bad-guy” stereotype.

I was unsure that the “Toy Story” franchise could release another hit film in a new, creative manner, as the toys have now fallen under the care of Bonnie instead of Andy. After watching the film, however, the innovation and the imagination in every single shot proves that Pixar is still capable of producing family-friendly, incredible films for every generation to enjoy.

From 1995 up to 2019, “Toy Story” both excels in its writing and its visual effects. As someone who grew up with Disneyland and Disney films all around me, this movie brought me back in time while effortlessly showing me that I have not outgrown the franchise.

The cast did an incredible job bringing their characters to life, especially with Keanu Reeves as an eccentric stuntman. As if the movie couldn’t get any more comedic, Key and Peele — one of my favorite comedy duos — excelled in their roles and brought many laughs from the audience.

The movie explores the idea of being “lost” in both purpose and as a literal lost toy. While that may seem like a slightly dark concept, it teaches us that even when we are lost, we have the ability to become our best selves in the process.

Each “Toy Story” film deals with different scenarios in which real life meets the fragile lives of these toys. From mean kids to kindergarten to the airport to trash disposals, they’ve seemingly done it all. Yet, “Toy Story 4” is less about the outside world treating toys and more about the inner voice and desires of the toys.

Even after three films that have become classics in every generation’s heart, this fourth one still manages to create beautiful character arcs from Woody to Bo Peep to Duke Caboom and even to the movie’s antagonist. Although we don’t get to see too much of the original gang and their shenanigans, the execution on Pixar’s part to tie up loose ends closes the series on a perfect note.