HOLLYWOOD—“Toy Story,” it is perhaps heralded by many as one of the greatest animated flicks of all-time. I mean this franchise has the ability to leave grown adults crying out their tears. I honestly thought after “Toy Story 3” the franchise was done. It ended on such a climatic note with Woody, Buzz and the gang realizing that Andy is now grown and no longer needs them. I mean, this franchise takes you back to your childhood, and brings a level of nostalgia that is so difficult to obtain with animated features.
However, in Hollywood when you make money, you should expect sequels, and here we have “Toy Story 4,” minus Andy, but a ton of new characters. Andy donates his toys to Bonnie (voice of Madeleine McGraw), who finds herself playing with some new toys instead of Andy’s classics. I mean it makes you question as an adult if you placed some of your favorite toys to the sideline when you received a new toy. This new toy that captivates Bonnie’s heart is a ‘Spork,’ similar to a fork, whose name is Forky (voice of Tony Hale). Yes, a Spork, whose name is Forky, is what we have here.
Hale does an exceptional job delivering high-energy and quirkiness. Forky does not realize how important he is to Bonnie and on countless occasions tries to escape Bonnie’s clutches. Woody has to play hero and continue to reassure Forky that he means a ton to Bonnie and his presence is needed. I will argue the only falter of the movie is that a vast majority takes place on the road and at a carnival. It’s a battle of old toys versus new toys, as Woody has to deal with some familiar faces from his past in Bo Beep (voice of Annie Potts), who utilizes Gabby Gabby (voice of Christina Hendricks) to prevent Woody from accomplishing his mission of reuniting Bonnie with Forky.
There are some fun new characters in Duke Caboom (voice of Keanu Reeves), Ducky (voice of Keegan Michael-Key) and Bunny (voice of Jordan Peele). “Toy Story 4” does have an issue with having what I call TOO MANY characters. I mean I counted over 30, maybe more. Did we need all of them? Did they all play a role in the narrative? Some more than others, but a lot are one note in terms of delivering a laugh when needed. I felt like Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen) was an afterthought in the movie. Like why in the hell was he even present America?
Will “Toy Story 4” leave you in tears? Not quite, but it will indeed tug at the heart and I give the flick extra kudos for making that happen. It’s rare that you cry watching an animated flick. The only time I recall is “The Lion King” (the original version people) and “Toy Story 3.” This latest entry into the franchise is not better than its predecessor, but it’s a solid entry.