When we last left our favorite toys, we were saying goodbye to Andy as he went off to college, leaving his lifelong pals for adorable, young Bonnie to play with. Now, little Bonnie is slowly growing up, also. She’s off to kindergarten and is growing out of some of the toys she used to love as a toddler, including Woody.
Determined to take care of his beloved Bonnie at all costs, though, Woody charges himself with the care of her newest toy creation, Forky. He’s a collection of things she found in the trash and doesn’t understand why he needs to stick around, since he doesn’t see himself as a toy. When the family takes a road trip, Forky finally makes good on his escape attempts, and an exasperated Woody sets out to bring him home.
Along the way, the duo meet lots of new friends, including the long lost Little Bo Peep, who has truly come into her own since leaving Andy’s house years ago. Can Woody and Forky trust this new group of toys, or do some of them have more sinister motives in mind? Will they find their way back home before they are lost, forever, on the road?
I can remember when I saw the first “Toy Story,” way back in 1995. I was blown away by the CGI, the textures and the attention to detail. Today’s CGI makes the first “Toy Story” look like 8-bit garbage, by comparison. Even the flashback scenes with Andy make him look like a different kid.
Every single scene is a treat for the eyes, truly showing just how far graphics have come over the years. The film is hilariously funny. There are so many great lines, it will take several viewings to catch them all. And, the film is chock full of Easter eggs and fun details from all our favorite Pixar films.
Being that this is the end of the line for the franchise that put Pixar on the map, it’s a fitting tribute to the years of joy and imagination that Disney has blessed so many lives with. Sniff. Shut up, I’m not crying. You’re crying.
The whole gang returns for this huge ensemble film. Tom Hanks is amazing as Woody, who is the central figure of this story. Annie Potts was delightful and confident as girl power Bo Peep, as well. Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, John Ratzenberger, Bonnie Hunt, Wallace Shawn — all the old gang is back in their iconic roles.
Sadly, the old gang is hardly even used. I truly missed all my old favorite characters. They made room for the equally impressive newcomers, though. Tony Hale was amazing as Forky. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele brought their perfect comedic timing to the duo of Ducky and Bunny. Keanu Reeves was tough as nails as Duke Kaboom, Canada’s favorite motorcycle stuntman. Ally Maki was adorable and tough as Officer Giggle McDimples. And Christina Hendricks was frightening as the sinister Gabby Gabby. The casting was perfect, as always.
This was the most family-friendly movie I’ve seen in a long time. It earned a G rating, something not even the most kid-friendly cartoons earn these days. There is almost no violence. Although there is some peril and chase scenes, the characters don’t even fight the bad guys, they are grabbed and held, at the most.
There is no bad language. No nudity and only the slightest mild innuendo as a couple of adult phrases are turned into toy-centric exclamations. There is no drinking, drugs or any other substances abused or experimented with by these innocent toys.
I originally wondered why Disney was even making this movie. It seemed like an obvious money-grab to squeeze every dollar out of this franchise as they possibly could. My fear was them rushing to make an inferior movie that would ruin the amazing success they already established with this beloved group of characters.
However, I am happy to report that great care was taken to treat this cash cow, I mean franchise, with the love and respect it so richly deserves. My only complaint would be that the old gang was given almost no screen time. The characters personalities changed a little, almost like the creators didn’t do much background research on each one.
But, this story was all about Woody and introducing lots of new friends, and that was done beautifully. The studio always leaves us wanting more, and this film is no exception. I want to see where the crew goes from here.
I give it a teary-eyed 8/10.
Safe and fun for kids of all ages, from ages 1-135.
P.S. Stay through the first few minutes of the credits for some additional scenes. You won’t be disappointed.
Rating: G. Wow, nothing is rated G anymore. This could not be more family-friendly.
Run time: 100 magical minutes