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Josh Cooley
Tom Hanks, Annie Potts, Tim Allen
Writing Credits:
Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom

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.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$120,908,065 on 4575 screens.
Domestic Gross
$433,061,937. MPAA:
Rated G

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 7.1
English Dolby 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
English Descriptive Audio 2.0
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 7.1
Supplements Subtitles:
Quebecois French

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 10/8/2019

• Audio Commentary with Director Josh Cooley and Producer Mark Nielsen
• “Bo Rebooted” Featurette
• “Toy Stories” Featurette
• “Let’s Ride with Ally Maki” Featurette
• “Woody & Buss” Featurette
• “Anatomy of a Scene” Featurette
• “Toy Views”
• “Toy Box” Featurettes”
• 10 Deleted Scenes
• Trailers & Promo
• Sneak Peeks
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Toy Story 4 [4K UHD] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 16, 2020)

After a nine-year absence, Woody, Buzz and the rest returned for 2019’s Toy Story 4. Young Bonnie (voiced by Madeleine McGraw) finds herself friendless and stressed at her Kindergarten orientation, so she makes a new pal out of a spork.

Bonnie christens this creation “Forky” and when he meets Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the other toys, he comes to life (Tony Hale) just like regular toys. This confuses Forky, as he believes he’s a disposable spork who belongs in the trash.

Forky persistently attempts to toss himself into any garbage bin, but Woody sees how much Bonnie loves the modified utensil so he guards against Forky’s departure. When Bonnie’s family goes on a road trip, Woody acts as guardian.

Inevitably, Buzz and the rest come along as well, and Woody eventually reconnects with his long-departed semi-paramour Bo Peep (Annie Potts) when Bonnie’s clan visits a traveling carnival on the road. Bo wound up in a small town antique shop but she freed herself and now lives a life free from ownership.

Woody also meets Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), a defective talking doll who never knew a child’s love. This leaves her bitter and desirous of Woody’s “talk box”, as she wants to use it to allow her own pull-string to finally work correctly.

In the face of all these challenges, Woody’s mission remains clear: get Forky back to Bonnie. Complications make this difficult.

On its own, Story 4 offers a fun ride. It seems thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable from start to finish - well, except for the part where I started to fear that the movie would literally be nothing more than 100 minutes of Woody rescuing Forky from the trash.

However, the film does seem "unnecessary" and more like a cash grab than the prior stories. Admittedly, most sequels are "unnecessary" and they exist largely to churn out more money.

I guess you could argue the second and third Toy Story flicks didn't need to exist, as the first movie stood on its own just fine.

However, Pixar managed to find new ways to approach the material and bring fresh life to the characters in the first two sequels. Those films took us through various life stages and created moving, emotional developments.

As does Story 4, to a degree, but it feels more contrived than its predecessors. The emotional moments still resonate, but not in the same way, partly because they seem self-conscious and generated for tear-jerking.

Take the plight of Gabby Gabby. She goes from villain to the movie’s emotional core at the drop of a hat, and I don't buy it.

Gabby’s arc also feels a lot like Jessie's in the second film. It's basically an altered version of that story but without the same power, as Gabby gets no "When Somebody Loved Me" moment.

I like the return of Bo and feel happy Annie Potts finally gets something to do. Bo seemed underused in the prior films, though that made some sense since they focused on Andy.

Still, it's nice to see her take a leading role, and she creates some of the most fun parts of the film. Potts plays the role well and adds real charm and vivacity to the film.

Unfortunately, Story 4 seems badly overstuffed, partly because it has so many mouths to feed. This becomes an issue in many sequels: they need new characters to develop but they also need to feature those from prior flicks, so they end up with a narrative spread way too thin.

In the case of Story 4, we find characters from the first three movies as well as Gabby, Forky, Bunny (Jordan Peele), Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key), Giggle (Ally Maki) and Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves). That's an awful lot of participants to feature, and too many get lost along the way.

Especially those from the earlier flicks. Yeah, Woody and Bo receive a lot of attention, but the rest feel like supporting roles.

Even Buzz. While the film does give him some hero moments, these seem tacked on, as if the filmmakers figured fans would revolt if Buzz didn't get a decent role.

Buzz still seems superfluous, as this is really Woody's story - again. I can't complain about that, as he's always been the heart of the series, but the less than stellar use of Buzz here - the clear second in the chain of command - makes the balance feel more "off".

Story 4 really under-uses the other recurring roles. They're essentially there are windowdressing, and I feel sad to see originals like Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Slinky (Blake Clark), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) and Rex (Wallace Shawn) left stuck among so many others.

Again, I know that the movie walks a fine line, as it needs to pack in all the old and new characters, so I get why the old ones find so little room to breathe. It still makes me a bit glum that they're such minor participants after all the time we've spent with them in the past.

None of the new roles really go anywhere. As mentioned, Gabby feels like a retread, and though Forky goes through the biggest arc, he doesn't really evolve that much.

In addition, the movie essentially casts Forky aside once we meet Gabby. Forky always exists as a plot contrivance - he's almost a SporkGuffin - but at least the movie offers him some room for growth during its first half.

After that, though, Forky does little more than service plot points. Unlike Buzz in the first film, Forky fails to go anywhere and he becomes nearly superfluous along the way.

Despite all these criticisms, I do find an enjoyable tale in Story 4. It's amusing and fast-paced and keeps the viewer's attention across its running time.

It's just a movie that doesn't need to exist, and it kind of "spoils" the lovely conclusion to the series that Story 3 brought. Andy's willingness to move on felt like a perfect place for the characters' cinematic lives to end. We could envision that Bonnie would love the toys and eventually pass them on ala Andy.

This may prove true, but Story 4 becomes an unneeded coda, one that feels more about toy sales than narrative necessity - and about more movies as well, as the door gets left wide open for Story 5, Story 6 and so on.

So I find myself torn. While I enjoyed the time I spent with Story 4, I don't think it adds anything to the series and it leaves a slightly sour taste in my mouth.

Footnote: in addition to extra footage during the credits, we get a cute tag at the very end.

The Disc Grades: Picture A+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Toy Story 4 appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This was a flawless presentation.

At all times, sharpness looked crisp and detailed. If any softness materialized, I didn’t see it, as I thought the image remained tight and well-defined at all times.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and the movie lacked edge haloes or artifacts. Of course, no print flaws popped up along the way.

In terms of colors, Story 4 went with a broad palette. All those toys allowed for a wide variety of hues, and the image brought them out in a vivid and dynamic manner. As expected, the 4K’s HDR capabilities added impact and power to the colors.

Blacks were dark and deep, and shadows seemed smooth and clear. HDR brought oomph to whites and contrast. This was about as good as it gets.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack also pleased. The film didn’t deliver a ton of opportunities for auditory theatrics, but we got enough to bring the mix to life with reasonable frequency.

That was especially true during the road trip and the carnival, as those allowed for a good variety of exciting soundscape elements. These blended together well and created a nice package of sound components from all around the room.

Audio quality was solid. Music sounded dynamic and full, while speech was distinctive and natural, so no signs of edginess occurred.

Effects appeared accurate and showed nice range, with solid low-end when appropriate. Though the mix never really threatened to reach “A”-level, it became a definite “B+” track.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos mix added a bit more involvement, whereas the visuals showed showed superior definition and colors. As great as the Blu-ray looked, the 4K topped it.

No extras appear on the 4K itself, but two Blu-ray discs brought materials, and BD One begins with an audio commentary from director Josh Cooley and producer Mark Nielsen. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, themes, cast and performances, animation and visual design, music and inspirations.

The best Pixar commentaries offered virtual master classes on storytelling. They detailed all the processes the studio used to develop character and narrative areas, and they became fascinating.

This isn’t one of the best Pixar commentaries.

Potential snarkiness aside, Cooley and Nielsen still manage to produce a fairly informative chat. They touch on the elephant in the room – ie, why continue after Toy Story 3 - and they give us useful notes about aspects of the production. The track doesn’t touch greatness, but it nonetheless becomes pretty good.

Two featurettes appear on BD One, and Bo Rebooted goes for six minutes, 21 seconds. It includes notes with story supervisor Valerie LaPointe, character modeling & articulation artists Tanja Krampfert and Mara MacMahon, directing animators Patty Kihm and Becki Rocha Tower, producer Galyn Susman, story artist Carrie Hobson, shading art director Lara Phillips,and actor Annie Potts.

As expected, “Rebooted” looks at the film’s updated depiction of the Bo Peep character. Despite the clip’s brevity, it becomes a surprisingly rich examination of the subject matter.

Toy Stories lasts five minutes, 38 seconds and features Cooley, Nielsen, Tower, story artist Jeff Pidgeon, production designer Bob Pauley, animator Andrew Atteberry, character developer/animator Priscila de Borthole Vertamatti, DP – layout Patrick Lin, and actors Tom Hanks, Ally Maki, Christina Hendricks, Tony Hale, and Keanu Reeves.

Like the title implies, we learn of the participants’ childhood toy memories. It’s too short and rapid-fire to add up to much.

BD One opens with ads for Onward and Frozen II. Sneak Peeks includes the same promos.

More extras appear on BD Two, where we find Let’s Ride With Ally Maki. In this five-minute, 41-second reel, we get a clip that features Maki, LaPointe, Cooley, script supervisor Rachel Slansky, assistant editor Jeff Stone, and PA Vincent Salvano.

“Ride” brings a look at the process used to get dialogue into the film. It offers a wacky view of the proceedings that informs and entertains.

Next comes Woody & Buzz, a three-minute, 35-second piece that features Cooley, Nielsen, Hanks, editor Axel Geddes, supervising animator Robert H. Russ, producer Jonas Rivera, and actor Tim Allen.

As expected, the featurette discusses the relationship between the franchise’s two lead characters. It’s pretty forgettable.

Anatomy of a Scene goes for nine minutes, 31 seconds and includes Hobson, sets supervisors Steve Karski and Thomas Jordan, and character tailoring lead Mariana Galindo.

They watch the “Playground” sequence and dissect various elements. The show delivers a fairly evocative analysis.

Two snippets appear under Toy Views: “Carnival Run” (1:00) and “View from the Roof” (0:29). Both offer toys-eye looks at two movie locations, and they’re fun.

Five clips show up within Toy Box: “Gabby Gabby & Her Gang” (4:03), “Forky” (2:43), “Duke Caboom” (2:25), “Ducky & Bunny” (2:37) and “Giggle McDimples” (1:11). Across these, we hear from Hendricks, Rivera, LaPointe, Pauley, Cooley, Geddes, Hale, Reeves, Maki, Nielsen, supervising animator Scott Clark, and actor Keegan-Michael Key.

The “Box” clips offer details about the movie’s new characters. They’re moderately informative but not especially deep. I like the glimpse of Key and Jordan Peele in the studio, though, and wish we got a long reel of their improv sessions.

Including introductions from Cooley, six Deleted Scenes fill 28 minutes. Presented as rough storyreels, these tend to focus on alternate character moments as well as roles that didn’t make the final film. That means we find some intriguing material across the various scenes, and they’re more substantial than usual.

Most intriguing, we find an “Alternate Ending”. It deviates significantly from the theatrical conclusion and becomes an interesting variation.

As for Cooley, he gives us basics about the sequences as well as why they didn’t make the final film. He adds some worthwhile notes.

Four trailers appear. Three offer different “teasers” in English, Spanish and Russian. The fourth brings an exclusive meant for China, one that focuses on the “Pixar legacy” as well as Story 4 itself.

We finish with Carnival Prizes, a three-minute, 25-second compilation of little animated snippets. These feature largely dialogue-free tidbits with the characters that boast moderate entertainment value.

On its own, Toy Story 4 offers an entertaining adventure. However, I can’t help but feel it seems superfluous, as the franchise concluded effectively with Toy Story 3 and didn’t need another chapter. The 4K UHD offers stellar visuals along with very good audio and a fairly positive roster of bonus materials. Toy Story 4 amuses but it doesn’t live up to the series’ exceptionally high standards.

To rate this film, visit the original review of TOY STORY 4