The level to which I cherish the original three Toy Story films is unrivaled.
I would beg my parents as a five-year-old to take me to the original during its long 1995 theatrical tenure, and I recall them obliging more than a few times.
For me, this Pixar classic taught me about love, life, and the sheer simplicity of finding one’s own purpose.
So when I heard a fourth movie was coming — despite a literally perfect 2010 trilogy conclusion — it struck fear in my heart. I pensively sat in my chair at the theatre as Toy Story 4 began, praying these classic films wouldn’t have their reputations blemished by an unworthy sequel.
I realized within the first 10 minutes of Toy Story 4 that, not only would this film not hurt the classics that came before it, but it would add real, tangible moments of tender grace, wit, and would do justice to Woody, Buzz and all our favourite toys.
Oh, and I also have to mention that with voice actors Keanu Reeves, Tony Hale, and the perfect pairing of Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key, they added more instantly lovable misfit toys to the mix.
Toy Story 4 is a film about Woody’s journey to ensure his human, Bonnie, makes it through pre-school and a family road trip, even as he’s replaced as her favourite toy by a literal spork she glued eyes, a mouth, arms and feet to, aptly named Forky.
Tony Hale is a delight as Forky, and he and Keanu Reeves, as stunt driver toy Duke Kaboom, steal the show. But never fear, Woody, Buzz, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, Slinky and the other toys more than get their share of time.
This is the rare sequel that not only builds on the perfection of previous incarnations, but is fearless enough to add to the Toy Story universe in new, exciting ways for newcomers.
It manages this while still preserving nostalgic appeal for those who grew up with the Pixar originals. Toy Story 4 is, for all intents and purposes, my favourite animated film in years, and is the second-best in the series, behind only the flawless original.
So if you were worried like I was, fear not. Take your kids. Take your partner. Go alone. It doesn’t matter. Get to a theatre and see Toy Story 4 today, because the magic it produces on the big screen doesn’t get much better.