“You’re gonna see it’s our destiny. You’ve got a friend in me.”
Randy Newman, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”
There will come a day when the Toy Story franchise goes too far, but it is not this day. Pixar has once again managed to defy the odds with a fourth sequel that isn’t just watchable, it’s thoroughly enjoyable.
Before I jump into the latest adventure with the band formerly known as Andy’s toys, I’d like to take a moment to journey back to a simpler time. The year was 2010, we all thought we were witnessing the darkest moment in the Toy Story franchise as Woody, Buzz, Jessie, et al held hands and faced their inevitable demise via garbage incinerator. Cut to present day and “Toy Story 4” is asking us to hold its beer.
(And yes, it’s been nine years since “Toy Story 3.” Enjoy your existential moment)
A suicidal spork, a patricidal unicorn, and an army of ventriloquist dummies right out of your nightmares are just the tip of the “wait, isn’t this a kids’ movie” iceberg in the latest installment. Add in the fact that Bo Peep (Annie Potts) is back (and a total badass) and Woody (Tom Hanks) is dealing with some sort of toy version of a midlife crisis, and it’s clear “Toy Story” still belongs to the millennials.
Speaking of Bo and Woody, these two crazy kids finally get a chance to work things out and the screentime they deserve. They’re also the reason that “Toy Story 4” completely jumps ship on the central theme of the entire franchise. Friendship is cast aside for the rough waters of a relationship (see what I did there?). It’s an interesting choice considering, and I cannot stress this enough, this was once a children’s film franchise. However, it’s hard to care when you’re getting sucker punched in all the feels.T
To those who aren’t onboard for an animated rom-com, don’t worry “Toy Story 4” has got you covered. There’s plenty going on outside of Bo and Woody’s reunion with a small army of new characters joining the franchise. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as the carnival prizes, Ducky and Bunny, are one of the highlights. (and I would like to formally request a spin-off series) Keanu Reeves as the slightly depressed Canadian daredevil, Duke Caboom, is also a welcome addition. (and yes we Can-ada is officially my new motto)
Basically, “Toy Story 4” is another welcome (if unexpected) addition to the film franchise. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder if this is still a kids’ film franchise and then realize that it doesn’t matter. This crazy collection of characters has wormed its way into our imaginations and our hearts and they’re not going anywhere any time soon.
…just for fun: