Film Review: Another Winner from the Creative Team of ‘Toy Story 4’

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CHICAGO – When you’ve brought to life one of the greatest animation series ever produced, there is not much to prove. The “Toy Story” series has relied on the strong and emotional stories since 1995, and after a nine year break comes back for one more intriguing spin for their characters, finding a new path in “Toy Story 4.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

The premise is the promising element in this story, continuing the tale of the Toys from the third (and most emotional) installment. The creative team takes a totally different track in this chapter, allowing the Toys to be more autonomous from their human playmates, while still commenting on the value of toys, especially when one becomes special because it is manufactured from imagination. There is a lovely freedom for one of the Toy characters (Bo Peep), which gives the atmosphere a welcome feminist/humanist vibe. The 1970s of Toyland is also nicely represented, with the Canadian knockoff of a popular Evel Knievel action figure (hilarious). Toys will be toys in this one, “to infinity and beyond.”

Woody the Cowboy doll (voice of Tom Hanks) is feeling a bit left out lately, as his human playmate Bonnie is growing to Kindergarten age and thinking outside the toy box in what she plays with … even making Jesse (Joan Cusack) the new sheriff. The little girl reluctantly transitions to her first school day, and Woody tags along in her backpack, hoping to get back into her good graces.

He observes the somewhat lonely Bonnie, as she creates a new toy on her own, with Woody’s help. Forky (Tony Hale) is the girl’s new favorite, even though he’s not sure why he’s alive. The whole Toy gang heads out on vacation in an RV with Bonnie’s family, with Forky escaping at his first opportunity. Woody’s new mission is to retrieve the new favorite, explain to him why he exists, and survive an adventure in an antique shop, where toys like Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) and Duke Kaboom (Keanu Reeves) exist to be displayed, but not played.

“Toy Story 4” opens everywhere on June 7th in IMAX, Dolby RPX, 3D and regular screenings. See local listings for theater format and show times. Featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keanu Reeves, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Christina Hendricks and Don Rickles. Screenplay by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom. Directed by Josh Cooley. Rated “G”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Toy Story 4”

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Last gasp? The Cast of ‘Toy Story 4’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Toy Story 4”

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