“Toy Story 4” Review: Fun, Heartwarming…. and Philosophical?

When I first heard that Disney and Pixar are doing a fourth iteration of Toy Story, I was skeptical. Very skeptical. The third one ended beautifully (with a heartwrenching scene in a burning furnace), so when I heard about its plans for another movie, I asked myself, “what other story is there to tell?” After watching Toy Story 4, it turns out there’s more.

True to Disney’s style of creating films with depth, Toy Story 4 packs a punch. This time, the toys tackle existentialism and question their purpose in a child’s life and later on, in the grand scheme of things. The film begins when Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the gang are in the care of Molly, the little girl who inherited the toys when Andy grows up. They meet Forky, a toy made out of a spork and craft items, and go on a road trip, where their journey becomes more than just the physical.

Despite the philosophical approach to the film, Toy Story 4 is still a light, fun, and heartwarming watch. Those who grew up watching the first three movies will feel nostalgic as they are reintroduced to some of their favorite characters. I have to admit, I shed a few tears when the opening credits featured the song “You’ve Got a Friend In Me.” All the characters are just as lovable, but the biggest change is Bo Peep, who sheds off her demure persona to become a tough-talking woman who means business. Her story arc fits in nicely to the narrative and doesn’t seem forced to fit the growing number of strong female characters.

The new characters are just as exciting to see. There’s Gabby Gabby, a doll who lives in an antique shop; the Bensons, a group of puppets who look a little too similar to Slappy from the Goosebumps series; and Ducky and Bunny, two stuffed animals who join the gang. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen return to voice Woody and Buzz, and they are joined by a formidable cast including Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves. I loved hearing Joan Cusack’s distinct voice as Jessie.

There’s a part of me that feels like Toy Story 4 is a nostalgia piece targeted to those who grew up with the first film. The stories become more complex as we grow older. However, even if you didn’t grow up with the trilogy or you don’t care for the existential undercurrent, there’s plenty of things to love about the movie. And even if I become increasingly skeptical at the number of films Disney will release in the Toy Story franchise, I will watch each and every one of them. To infinity and beyond.

 

The Walt Disney Company. Toy Story 4 opens in Philippine cinemas on June 20, 2019. For more information, follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Follow the hashtag #ToyStory4PH to join the conversations online.

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