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Toy Story 4 (2019) - Blu-ray Review

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Toy Story 4 (2019)

Bad news: Toy Story 4 is Pixar’s biggest money grab to date. Good news: This is Pixar, so it never feels like one.

It is not a stretch to say that the company couldn’t make a bad movie if it tried. After all, none of its films have failed to pull in less than $300 million at the worldwide box office and even its least popular film, 2015’s The Good Dinosaur remained in the top ten for a month. The Pixar folks are some of the best filmmakers in the industry and the Toy Story characters are simply too beloved by everyone to slight with an inferior product. And though Toy Story 4 never quite achieves the emotional highs of any of its predecessors, there are enough great moments to strongly recommend.

"though it never quite achieves the emotional highs of any of its predecessors, there are enough great moments to strongly recommend."


The film opens with a flashback to nine years ago where we are reminded of what happened in the previous installment before coming back to present day, where we see that Woody (Tom Hanks) is having a tough time adapting to his new life as a supporting character to his new kid, Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw).

The pull-string cowboy was always confident with his lofty place in the toy box, and that was taking care of his kid… at all costs However, with Andy now off to college, his loyalty has shifted to Bonnie. But she has many more important things in her life to worry about: things like gearing up for the stress of kindergarten, and not being able to bring her favorite toys to class.

But Woody finds a new purpose when Bonnie fashions a toy friend out of a plastic spork, pipe-cleaner and other discarded arts and crafts items. She calls her new friend Forky (Tony Hale) and it soon becomes Woody’s job to not only protect the googley-eyed contraption at all costs, but to also explain to Forky why he no longer belongs in the rubbish bin. There’s a funny recurring gag that has Forky not understanding why he can walk and talk and continually trying to throw himself in a trash can.

This is a fairly poignant moment and one that ties heavily into the film’s over-arching themes of transition and passage as Woody learns to accept his back-up role – a situation we’ve never seen him in before – and explain to Forky that he is now the most important thing in Bonnie’s life.

Woody’s biggest test of his new role comes when Forky makes a run for it as Bonnie’s family is heading out for vacation in an RV camper. Toy Story 4 now becomes a road trip movie as Woody takes it upon himself to leave everyone behind and search for Forky.

Woody and Forky eventually meet back up with everyone in an antique shop where Woody spies a lamp that once belonged to his old friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts). If you recall, the two shared a few heartfelt moments way back in Toy Story 2. During their reunion we get an enlightening backstory to Bo Peep who was given up by her kid long ago. But rather than sit around, Bo made the best of her situation and is now a strong and independent character capable of standing on her own two porcelain feet. We know that Disney/Pixar has become a standard-bearer for inclusion and acceptance, so it’s nice to see Bo’s character handled the way it is. Other similar hot-button issues – body image, for one – are often taken on as well. Especially appreciated is a child who is illustrated wearing cochlear implants.Toy Story 4 (2019)

There’s a fairly dark and frightening sequence that takes place inside the antique shop as Woody’s rescue efforts are constantly thwarted by the kidnapping of Forky by a Gabby Gabby doll (Christina Hendricks) and her crew of creepy ventriloquist’s dummies.

Toy Story 4 director Josh Cooley and screenwriters Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom have managed to capture the same big heart and small charm that we’ve enjoyed in these stories for the last 24 years. But it is becoming evident that the idea has begun to run its course. It now takes bolder reaches – including some that don’t hit – and a bigger scope to keep the magic alive. But in doing so, we lose some of the original magic that made the idea of what our toys do when we are not around so unique. There’s a heartfelt “saying goodbye” sequence in Toy Story 4 that, while quite emotionally hefty, fails to even compare to Toy Story 3’s final scene.

That’s not to say that the film isn’t good. It is. In fact, it is much, much better than half of the stuff coming out of Hollywood these days – live action or animated. It’s just that these revisits are now beginning to feel a bit unnecessary and even self-indulgent at times.

3/5 beers

Toy Story 4 (2019)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Buena Vista
Available on Blu-ray:
October 8, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: 
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English: DTS-HD HR 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray DiscThree-disc set (2 BD-50, 1 DVD) DVD cop
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Disney/Pixar brings the Toy Story gang home with the blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code edition of Toy Story 4. The 3-disc package includes a blu-ray, and extras disc, a DVD copy of the film, a Movies Anywhere card for digital redemption, and over an hour of bonus content in more than six featurettes, an audio commentary, deleted scenes, and more spread across three discs. This will make a great addition to any Pixar fan's collection.

Video

Toy Story's 1080P transfer is a true thing of beauty with plenty for any Disney/Pixar fan to enjoy. The visuals are as clean, bright, and crisp and colors as brilliant as one would expect from Disney/Pixar. There is very little to pick on with the transfer as it is as near reference quality as anything you'll see on home video this year. Fast-forward to the nighttime walking scene at the 22:37 mark to see how well the transfer holds up, even in darkness. Now, that's how you do it!

Audio

The English 7.1 DTS-HDMA audio track is the perfect accompaniment to the magnificent visuals of this release. Your home theater will become an audiophile's playground as as the 360 degree dome of audio delight goes to infinity and beyond. The carnival segment is particularly delightful as the scene envelopes the listener in an envelope of buzzes, whits, bells, and dings.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See special features

Special Features:

This is where the Toy Story 4 blu-ray experience comes to life with a whole host of bonus material spread across two discs. There is a Movie Anywhere redemption code and the entire package comes housed in a metallic-printed embossed cardboard slip cover.

Disc One

  • Bo Rebooted (06:21)

Feature-length audio commentary fir director Josh Cooley and producer Mark Neilson.

Disc Two

  • Let's Ride with Ally Maki (05:41)
  • Woody & Buzz (03:35)
  • Anatomy of a Scene: Playground (09:31)
  • Carnival Run (01:00)
  • View From the Roof (0:29)
  • Toy Box (13:00)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Trailer and Demo

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

 

Toy Story 4 (2019)

MPAA Rating: G for general audience.
Runtime:
110 mins
Director
: Josh Cooley
Writer:
Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom
Cast:
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts
Genre
: Adventure | Family | Animated
Tagline:
Get Ready To Hit The Road.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The panic is attacking me!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Site: https://movies.disney.com/toy-story-4
Release Date:
June 21, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 8, 2019.
Synopsis: When a new toy called "Forky" joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Toy Story 4 (2019)

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