The wild and unpredictable world of animation has produced many memorable, visually stunting works of art. In the modern world, there are few artist groups who have undergone such a prosperous, bountiful transformation from the days of flip book animation to 3D CGI medium quite like Walt Disney Pictures; subsidiary Pixar Animation Studios. Originally dazzling audience’s back in 1995 with the first ever computer animated feature film Toy Story, not only was it visually breathtaking, but compounded by a touching, fun story. A film which birthed a series of sequels, 1999’s Toy Story 2 and 2010’s Toy Story 3, Pixar now attempt to outdo themselves once again with the fourth film in the fantastic franchise, Toy Story 4.
Set for release in theaters everywhere on Friday, June 21st, nearly ten years after the release of Toy Story 3, for the latest edition in the series the studios bring in brand new Director Josh Cooley (Inside Out 2015) working from a screenplay written by Andrew Stanton (who had co-written the first three films) along with Stephany Folsom (Thor: Ragnarok 2017).
Picking up after the events of Toy Story 3 where Andy donates his toys, he is assured they will have a good new home with a sweet little girl by the name of Bonnie. With Bonnie now the rightful owner of the toys, we wind up sitting in on her kindergarten orientation where a new toy star is born!
Of course the beloved cast of characters from the original Toy Story return with a vengeance in this new comedic tale including Woody (Tom Hanks: Forest Gump 1994, Cast Away 2000) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen: Home Improvement series, Last Man Standing series). Together, along with their pals, they precariously land themselves in another wild adventure, one which happens to introduce a few great new characters discovered in an antique shop.
These characters include Gabby Gabby, a wind-up vintage doll played by Christina Hendricks (Mad Men series, Fist Fight 2017) and Duke Caboom, a Evil Knievel type stunt rider toy played by Keanu Reeves (The Matrix 1999, John Wick 2014). Additionally, there are also some extremely well-rendered ventriloquist dummies who ironically are the only silent members of the talking toy clan. Meanwhile, as alluded to, the usual all star cast make their appearance, including a returning top notch performance from Annie Potts (Ghostbusters 1984,Toy Story 1995) as Bo Peep; a character which was actually absent from the 3rd installment of the film series.
As the plot thickens, one of the greatest achievements of Toy Story 4 happens to be the deep emotions created without using any actual humans throughout the storyline. Themed with loyalty and true love, Disney once again does a fine job of capturing the hearts of those of any age group. In fact, this comedic tearjerker will send you on an emotional roller coaster without warning. In truth, it is very challenging for an animated film to capture such emotions, but the realism in the technology of Pixar Animation studios certainly aids the task with ease. Fabric and texture in CGI appear phenomenal in likeness to reality in Toy Story 4, and those who may not be a fans of animation will still able to appreciate just how close to perfection it all really is.
Through it all, Toy Story 4 takes some pretty hilarious turns, twists, and tumbles that rank it on a level up, if not at least make it equal with previous films in the franchise. Now the question is will there be more Toy Story films to come? Since this one was never supposed to happen until it was concocted in 2014, it may be a safe bet that a fifth film will see the light of day sometime in the distant future. In the meantime, get to a theater for this one and bring tissues because Cryptic Rock gives Toy Story 4.5 out of 5 stars.