Toy Story 4

Stars: 4/5

After the tear-jerking conclusion of “Toy Story 3,” almost everyone believed the franchise was over. Andy’s time with the toys had finished, but now, Woody has another story to tell.

“Toy Story 4” follows the original toys two years after Andy gave them away to Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw). Fearing she will become nervous at her kindergarten orientation, Woody (Tom Hanks) slyly sneaks a spork onto her table during arts and crafts. Bonnie decorates it to have a face, and it magically comes to life, joining her other toys on a road trip.

After an existential crisis, the now-sentient Forky (Tony Hale) dives out of the window of the car, believing he is not a toy at all. Woody follows him, and after some convincing, they both decide to try and find Bonnie again.

In that adventure, Woody finally reunites with Bo (Annie Potts), some difficult decisions are made and ultimately, an ending just as emotional as “Toy Story 3” wraps it all up.

As expected from Pixar, it’s a great movie. The plotline is fun with a deep twist, the design and animation are impeccable as always and the script and character design make it nearly impossible to not empathize with every toy.

Seriously, getting emotional about that spork happened way too quickly.

But looking back at Pixar’s track record, this isn’t out of the ordinary. They know exactly what they’re doing and how to produce something successful. The company is essentially a machine of heartwarming stories, so there is very little they ever truly mess up.

Because of that, “Toy Story 4” is already great. It will likely bring entertainment to kids and adults alike for generations to come, but there is one glaring question underlying it all —was this sequel really necessary?

Considering the recent construction of Toy Story Land in Disney World and other Disney parks around the world, the decision to release another sequel in the series was more of a shrewd business plan than something necessary to complete the story.

Arriving directly in the middle of Disney’s live-action remake spree, it all feels a little too corporate. No matter how great the movie, the advertising shows through a little too much. Everybody knows Disney is a media giant, but it’s starting to slack on the pixie dust that covers it all up.

Essentially, “Toy Story 4” is a fantastic movie — impeccably animated, written with care and infused with important lessons for its audience — but its glaring business plan is a little off-putting. I guess children don’t really care much about corporations. They’d just rather empathize with a piece of plastic cutlery.

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