Movie Spotlight: Toy Story 4

From Wikipedia:

Toy Story 4 is a 2019 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures as the fourth installment in Pixar’s Toy Story series, and the sequel to 2010’s Toy Story 3. It is directed by Josh Cooley (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Andrew Stanton (who had co-written the first three films) and Stephany Folsom; the three also conceived the story alongside John Lasseter(director of the first two installments in the franchise), Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, and Martin Hynes. The film stars the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, and Joan Cusack.

The film continues from Toy Story 3, where Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear, among their other toy friends, have found new appreciation after being given by Andy to Bonnie. They are introduced to Forky, a spork that has been made into a toy and embark on a road trip adventure. The film is dedicated to Don Rickles, who died of kidney failure in 2017, and animator Adam Burke, who died from lung cancer in 2018.

Toy Story 4 premiered on June 11, 2019 at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California and is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on June 21, 2019, in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX. Like the previous entries in the series, the film received critical acclaim, with the story, humor, emotion, animation, and vocal performances earning praise.

Plot:

A flashback shows an event taking place between the second and third film at Andy’s house wherein, after Woody and his friends save R.C. from drowning in a drain pipe during a rainy night, Bo Peep, her lamp, and her three-headed sheep, Billy, Goat, and Grub, get sold to a mysterious man. Woody tries to get Bo back to Andy’s, but Bo tells him that all is well since children losing their toys is a common thing and she gets taken away from Andy’s house.

In the present, two years after the events of the previous film, Woody and all of Andy’s ex-toys have grown content in their new life with Bonnie and being friends with all of Bonnie’s toys. During a summer day, Bonnie goes to kindergarten for an orientation. Despite her parents saying she cannot bring a toy with her, Woody, who Bonnie has been neglecting for some time, sneaks into Bonnie’s backpack because she may feel overwhelmed in her new school. At the orientation, Woody’s fears come to light as Bonnie gets shy around her new classmates. Taking a spork and some other disposed things from a nearby trash can, he covertly puts them on Bonnie’s table during arts and crafts before retreating back to her backpack. She eventually turns the spork and other pieces into a handmade toy-spork that she names Forky. After Bonnie places Forky in her backpack, he comes to life, much to Woody’s shock.

After Woody introduces Forky to the rest of Bonnie’s toys, Forky begins going through an existential crisis, believing that he was made to be trash since he’s made out of trash material and keeps trying to throw himself away, but Woody and his friends keep prying him away from the trash. Soon, Bonnie, her parents, and all of the toys go on a roadtrip since Bonnie doesn’t start school for one more week. During the roadtrip, Forky jumps out of the window since he still believes he’s trash, forcing Woody to go out and get him while the other toys try to cover for him. Woody finds Forky and convinces him the joys of being a toy while they walk to an RV park where Bonnie and her parents will be staying at for the night.

When Woody and Forky come at a town that has the RV park, Woody spots Bo’s lamp at an Antique Store and soon he and Forky enter to search for Bo. They encounter a creepy doll named Gabby Gabby and her sycophants, the Bensons, who are silent but sentient puppets. Gabby Gabby offers to take Woody and Forky to Bo but she soon reveals her true colors in trying to possess Woody’s voice box and make it her own since the voice box she has is broken and no child will purchase her because of this. After noticing Bonnie and her parents entering the antique store, Woody and Forky try to escape but Forky ends up captured by one of the Bensons and Gabby Gabby later decides to ransom Forky for Woody’s voice box. Also, by the time Woody escapes the shop, Bonnie’s RV takes off without him or Forky. Woody makes it to a park where after realizing he left Forky back at the antique store, he runs into Bo, who has become an adventurous vagrant who helps lost toys find owners. After reuniting with Woody, she decides to help him get Forky back and they, along with Bo’s companion, a miniature female cop named Giggles McDimples, take a route through a nearby carnival to get back to the antique store.

Meanwhile, Buzz eventually goes out on his own to find Woody when he didn’t show up at the RV park and constantly uses his button-induced phrases from his voice box to help him (since earlier, Woody said to Buzz that his reason for wanting Forky to remain with Bonnie is because of an inner voice inside him, a la his conscience). Buzz soon finds himself as a prize in a carnival booth where after a squabble with two plush toy prizes, a duck named Ducky and a rabbit named Bunny, he and the two plush toys get out of the booth. Buzz eventually finds Woody and Bo on top of a building and they get Ducky and Bunny to help them retrieve Forky by promising that they will be Bonnie’s toys in compensation for knocking them off the booth’s shelf. Woody and Bo also recruit an old friend of Bo’s, a Canadian stuntman toy named Duke Caboom to help them.

At the antique store, the toys’ plan to rescue Forky almost works, but due to a run-in with Gabby Gabby, the Bensons, and Dragon, the pet cat of the antique shop’s owner Margaret, Forky gets left behind again. Woody has a falling out with his friends about going back to save Forky since he’s the only one willing to do so, leading him to indirectly insult Bo. As Bo, Duke, Giggles, Ducky, and Bunny go back to the carnival, Woody decides to give up his voice box to Gabby Gabby in exchange for Forky, to which Gabby Gabby agrees and believes she will be adopted by Margaret’s granddaughter, Harmony, as she’s wanted to be Harmony’s toy forever. However, Harmony is creeped out by Gabby Gabby’s new voice and doesn’t adopt her. Elsewhere, Buzz returns to Bonnie’s RV and desperately cries out to get Bonnie’s backpack from the antique store, since she left it there the other day. Woody comforts the depressed Gabby Gabby about being rejected and soon, Bo and the gang return, having a change of heart.

After Bonnie returns and gets her backpack, the toys follow her and her parents. Through Duke’s motorcycle skills, Buzz, Forky, Ducky, and Bunny make it back to Bonnie, who is overjoyed to have Forky back. In the process, the reformed Gabby Gabby sees a lonely little girl crying. Taking Woody’s previous advice about being a toy to heart, Gabby Gabby walks up to the girl to give her comfort and the girl decides to adopt Gabby Gabby. The film ends with Woody deciding to be with Bo to join her cause of helping lost toys find owners.

Reviews:

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 98% based on 127 reviews, with an average rating of 8.52/10. The website’s critics consensus reads, “Heartwarming, funny, and beautifully animated, Toy Story 4 manages the unlikely feat of extending – and perhaps concluding – a practically perfect animated saga.”The film held a 100% approval rating through its first 115 registered reviews.

Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 84 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.

Peter DeBruge of Variety wrote that “Toy Story ushered in the era of computer-animated cartoon features, and the fourth movie wraps up the saga beautifully. At least, for now.”

Writing for IndieWire, David Ehrlich gave the film a grade of B+ and wrote, “Clever, breathless, and never manic just for the sake of keeping your kids’ eyes busy, the action in Toy Story 4 is character-driven and paced to perfection.”

Find it in Theaters:

Lexington Exchange Movies 12

AMC Lexington Park 6

Flagship Premium Cinemas, Calvert Village

Xscape Theaters, Brandywine

AMC St. Charles Town Center 9

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