Toy Story 4: The BRWC Review. By Nick Boyd.
“Toy Story 4,” the supposedly last film in the franchise, was enjoyable and poignant.
Bonnie, who doesn’t want to start kindergarten, is glad when she makes a toy friend on orientation day she calls Forky (Tony Hale). Soon Bonnie and her family, along with the toys, are off on a road trip.
When they get to their destination, the toys find themselves reunited with an old friend named Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who is now on her own and doing just fine without a kid to love her. While in an antique store, Forky gets separated from Woody (Tom Hanks), and is being held by a doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) with not so good intentions, one of which is to take Woody’s voice box so that she can finally have a child of her own to love her. Her ventriloquist dummies create an unsettling and creepy vibe.
Woody and Bo Peep devise a plan to bring Forky back to Bonnie. Woody knows that this toy means a lot to Bonnie and makes it his mission to do whatever it takes to bring it back to her. Knowing that his worth as a valued toy may be fading, he wants to be able to make a new toy feel cherished. This, he tells Bo in a poignant scene, gives his life a sense of purpose.
A new toy in this fourth chapter is Duke Caboom, voiced by Keanu Reeves, a stunt car motorcycle driver, who feels that he was never able to fulfill his potential to do the stunts that his packaging promised. Despite his seemingly low self-worth, Reeves’ character comes across as suave and Reeves’ line readings are wittily performed.
Also, introduced for the first time are Bunny and Ducky, voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, respectively. They are carnival prizes waiting to be won and like Reeves’ character provide comic relief with their big personalities.
Hale provides solid voice work as Forky, a toy who initially believes he is trash because he is after all a plastic utensil as opposed to a real toy. Whenever there is a garbage bin, he immediately tries to throw himself in. Another toy, usually Woody, stops him and reminds him that he is in fact seen as a toy by Bonnie and therefore has worth. The way this plays out is humorous. Forky does, though, evolve over the film and develops a sense of loyalty.
While not as good as the first two Toy Story pictures and probably not as good as the third, the heartfelt storyline and fun action scenes give audiences what they’re looking for in a Pixar movie, emphasizing the need for belonging and at the same time independence.
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