Toy Story 4 [2019] ★★★½

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 24 years since the first “Toy Story” movie hit theaters back in 1995. It was revolutionary, to say the least, and Disney/Pixar followed-it up with two equally amazing sequels that succeeded in making it one of the best trilogies of all time. So when it came time to see “Toy Story 4”, I kept telling myself: I hope they don’t end up ruining it! But as soon as it opened, it was obvious that the people behind this sequel put so much effort into it, to validate its existence. That, along with creativity and boundless imagination have made this sequel so good. Perhaps the movie’s strongest asset is its familiar characters. I can’t tell you how good it was to be finally reunited with Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato Head, Jessie the Cowgirl, and all the old toys from the previous movies. There are newcomers, of course, notably Forky (voiced by Tony Hale), a handcrafted plastic spork created by Bonnie, the new kid who now owns all of Andy’s old toys. This gives Woody a whole new purpose: to show Forky how good it is to be someone’s favorite toy. It’s a heartwarming premise, fueled by Pixar’s usual dose of hilarious gags and a poignant finale. Director Josh Cooley and his collaborators know exactly how important it is to care for each and every character, as if they were real; They can be proud of what they’ve achieved: “Toy Story 4” is a wonderful sequel, and I think audiences of all ages will be grateful.

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