Nine years after Toy Story 3 ended Disney-Pixar's masterful animated trilogy on a high note, we're back with the gang. Toy Story 4 reunites us with Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and pals, and also introduces us to new homemade toy, Forky (Tony Hale).
The story is a road trip crossed with an existential crisis drama and thrilling family adventure. When Woody and Forky are separated from young owner Bonnie, they unexpectedly run into Woody's former love interest Bo Peep, who reminds them of what it means to belong to the wider world where toys are free.
Expectations are clearly sky-high for the latest instalment – Toy Story essentially birthed the CGI animated film movement upon its release in 1995, and the the trilogy as a whole stands up as one of the greatest of all time. Borne aloft by their endearing characters and witty scripts, the films speak to the child within all of us.
The first critical reactions to Toy Story 4 are in and they're very positive. Fandango's Erik Davis says the movie induces big laughs and even bigger tears.
#ToyStory4 is another fantastic entry in the series & the one installment that feels most like an adventure movie. With themes of hard goodbyes, second chances & finding your way home, it’s packed w/ big belly laughs, but I also cried harder here than I have for any of the others pic.twitter.com/MoFFY2pNqJ— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) June 7, 2019
Screenrant's Rob Keyes says the movie does a fantastic job in developing characters whom we've known for 24 years.
Toy Story 4 is super satisfying, and features some of the funniest and most emotional moments in the franchise. It leans into new characters quite a bit and will surprise you by the end. And yes, there are some great moments during the credits (none at end though). #ToyStory4 pic.twitter.com/mYT4z4Nvfo— Rob Keyes (@rob_keyes) June 8, 2019
Cinemablend's Alisha Grauso says those left shattered by the end of Toy Story 3 should brace themselves for this one.
#ToyStory4 has an ending as lovely and warm and heartbreaking as Toy Story 3. In between the genuine belly laughs (thanks, Duke Caboom) is a story that has the heart that Pixar is known for. Loved it.— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrauso) June 7, 2019
Rest assured, however, that the movie delivers the laughs when it needs to – the Cinemablend team say it's a series highpoint on that front.
Jacob Hall of Slashfilm says the movie, as with its predecessors, uses a family-friendly exterior to delve into profound and complex topics.
TOY STORY 4: Only Pixar at the top of their game can make a third sequel to a franchise about living toys that’s a poignant look at learning to prioritize your own happiness over the happiness of others. Also: feels as definitively final as 3 did. Keanu Reeves steals it all.— Jacob Hall (@JacobSHall) June 7, 2019
You'll notice the shoutout to John Wick star Reeves at the end of that tweet. He voices daredevil Canadian stuntman Duke Caboom and is, according to many reactions, one of the best things in the movie. Here's what Collider's Steven Weintraub thinks.
A few things about #ToyStory4 :— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) June 7, 2019
The level of animation that @Pixar has achieved in this film is astounding.#KeanuReeves is so awesome as Duke Caboom.
The theater we saw it in was a bit dusty...
And i loved the entire movie. So well done. Absolutely recommended. pic.twitter.com/u5ExEZBf6w
And The Playlist's Griffin Schiller says we must have more of Duke Caboom in future.
#ToyStory4 is simply delightful. A tightly paced narrative that harkens back to the feeling of the original 2 films featuring some of the franchises best comedy. A relatable & mature message that speaks to those who grew up with it. #DukeCaboom RULES! More Keanu please. pic.twitter.com/JB3RZRGrTi— Griffin Schiller (@griffschiller) June 7, 2019
More importantly, however, will this fourth movie potentially set up a whole new Toy Story series? Joblo.com thinks it just might...
#ToyStory4 brings a conclusion to the story of Buzz & Woody that we never knew we wanted but is totally worth it. It sets up a potential future for the franchise with a host of new characters. Definitely a quality Pixar film and one of their best sequels.— JoBlo.com (@joblocom) June 7, 2019
You've heard it from the critics and there's just under two weeks until you can make up your mind. Click here to book your tickets for Toy Story 4, released in Cineworld on 21st June.