If you read my last post that included a spoiler-free Toy Story 4 review, you would know that I wasn’t a fan of Toy Story 3’s story. I was thrilled to see that Toy Story 4 added a new depth to our favorite characters while introducing new toys that helped tell a great story. After attending the press junket to interview the cast, I can definitely say that this is the movie that we didn’t know we needed but is everything that we wanted!
DISCLOSURE: I WAS INVITED TO THE TOY STORY 4 PRESS JUNKET TO SCREEN TOY STORY 4 BEFORE THE FILMS RELEASE. NO MONETARY COMPENSATION WAS PROVIDED FOR MY PARTICIPATION OR FOR THIS REVIEW.
In a two-part press event, we were able to interview Director Josh Cooley, producers Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera, and cast members including Tom Hanks (voice of Woody), Tim Allen (voice of Buzz Lightyear), Annie Potts (voice of Bo Peep), Tony Hale (voice of Forky), Christina Hendricks (voice of Gabby Gabby), and Keanu Reeves (voice of Duke Caboom). It was through this series of interviews that we were able to understand the need for a fourth installment in the series and the part each character played in creating a family-friendly movie that is both visually appealing while making us laugh (and cry!).
What Makes Toy Story 4 A Much Needed Installment in the Series
THE NEW CHARACTERS
While I initially was confused with the new toys in the movie, each one was necessary to build out the story of Toy Story 4. They each had a purpose. Jonas Rivera agrees that “the story would not work without Gabby Gabby.”
“The story would not work without Gabby Gabby. She is an echo of Woody. And we needed her to be this legit and real and truthful human character. The same thing for Duke Caboom and Giggle and everybody new. So they’re not just for fun, although we love them. But this movie wouldn’t work without them.” – Jonas Rivera
Gabby Gabby, voiced by Christina Hendricks, comes across almost as a villain at first.
“You realize that she’s coming from a very loving place. And I think that’s important to sort of say maybe you don’t like someone at first. But how did they get there and why are they there and understanding their story. So I think she’s very special in that way. And then she sort of gets embraced by the group.” – Christina Hendricks
…BUT NOT FORGETTING THE OLDER TOYS EITHER.
The old toys are not cast aside in Toy Story 4. We are delighted with the return of Bo Peep along with our favorites. They also didn’t forget Mr. Potato Head either. Don Rickles, the voice of our beloved Mr. Potato Head, was a huge part of the Toy Story movies from the beginning. While Don Rickles has passed away, the filmmakers were able to include him in the latest Toy Story installment to help keep his memory alive.
“We were honored to really be able to kind of keep his memory in the film and our editorial department did a great job really creating his performance out of his own voice from past projects.” – Mark Nielsen
THE CHARACTERS TEACH US VALUABLE LESSONS
For example, Forky teaches us acceptance. The theme of acceptance throughout Toy Story 4 can be seen with how popular Forky is and the movie isn’t even out yet! Tony Hale captured perfectly how his character fits in perfectly with the other toys.
“I just love that he sees everything as new. And mainly I love that he’s a character that his home place is trash. That’s all he knows is to help people eat soup. And then Woody comes along and shares that he has a greater purpose. I think just in life, anybody who might see themselves that way and they have worth. They have a purpose. That’s just a beautiful message that Toy Story is giving us.” – Tony Hale
You won’t have to wait too long to get more Forky. Mark Nielsen confirmed that there will be a ten episode series on Disney+ called Forky Asks a Question.
TOY STORY 4 SHOWS US TRANSITION
Director Josh Cooley believes that you can sum up Toy Story 4 with one word: transition.
“Every character in this movie has gone through a transition or is struggling with going through one or has not gone through one. Bo Peep has gone through a transition we learn about while working on the movie. Woody is struggling with moving from Andy’s room to Bonnie’s room. Forky doesn’t even want to transition at all. And Gabby Gabby is kind of stuck in time. That’s part of the reason we put her in an antique store. Things are not changing around her. There’s dust everywhere. And even Duke is haunted by his past as well.” – Josh Cooley
DON’T MISS THE Easter eggs IN THE ANTIQUE STORE
You will be able to find something from every movie Pixar has ever done.
It’s amazing to know that the animators were able to give us special surprises throughout the movie that will delight the biggest Pixar fans. It’s a good reminder to just how big Toy Story 4 is.
“The amount of artistry and creatives and tremendous labor that has gone into this movie outside of us. The attention needs to be shining on that. Because they really have worked so hard. The movie is eye candy. It’s just such a visual masterpiece. It really is.” – Tony Hale
To see the cast on stage together was a dream come true. While the audience will certainly feel some kind of way as they watch this movie, so did the cast.
“We laughed, we cried. We ran the gamut.” – Christina Hendricks
I can certainly agree with her. Catch the official Toy Story 4 trailer above and don’t forget to grab your Toy Story 4 tickets ASAP because believe me, your local theaters will be sold out soon, if they aren’t already! Now RUN!