BlackNerdMagic’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was one of the individuals who found myself in a questionable disposition as to why Pixar would shortchange one of the best endings to a series as we got from Toy Story 3. A ending that felt like closure for a cast of characters I had to come see as a part of my family ever since its debut in 1995. The biggest of my worries was that Disney wanted to put together a cash grab taking advantage on the nostalgic and emotional gears that can be found well placed in the internal workings of anybody who had the VHS tapes and now DVD's of this beloved series. Wow was I wrong to the tenth power. Toy Story 4 can comfortably sit itself among the other entries in this journey as being memorable, inspiring, and joyful experience of animation and storytelling.
The usual narrative of Woody and the Gang helping a toy who is lost in the world and needs rescuing is present so not much difference in pace and tone which some can see as a detriment but you can help but feel connected to the themes and meaning when you start to get that soft spot in your stomach and lump in your throat. We get some new characters who add a new dimension of belly aching laughs and incorporate their own uniqueness along with the well know hierarchy of toys; Key and Peele make for a even fantastic duo in their appearences and Duke Kaboom played by the always legendary Keanu Reeves is supreme delight along with a redemptive arc that's easy to root for. Forky steals the show for me; at first a character I thought would prove to be a thorn in my side won me over by the end in spades. His genesis and journey to realizing his worth as a companion to a young child turning over a new leaf in their development is beautiful.
For me, Pixar is leagues ahead of anybody when it comes to the world of animation. One of the best looking films I have seen with my own two years; hard to tell the difference in most scenes because most of them look almost as if the sets were placed in the real world. The detail in characters and environments have made a stupendous leap from the likes of Toy Story and Toy Story 2; Toy Story 3 is more recent but there is even a great improvement when compared to its quality. Individual toys are vastly rendered with the cleanliness and detail of microscopic proportions; environments are showcased with brilliant lighting, right amount of focus and depth, and illuminating cinematography that is landmark for the genre of animation. Cant wait for the eventual release of a 4K HDR home release so I can gawk even more on the small screen at home.
Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep have a ending in with I won't spoiled but feels rightly justified and not forced as far as resolution and sentimental value. Of course I cried the same as I did with Toy Story 3's ending which I saw as the perfect French kiss but this one hit just as hard and felt perfect. Brought back so many times as a kid myself where I felt a kinship with my toys and saw them as my best friends, protectors, and soulmates for a time and I had those memories and feelings wash me over like a pleasing waterfall and I was glad to see kids of this new generation be able to experience those good vibes as well.
Toy Story 4 is one of the best films this year bar none and one of the best animated films I have ever seen.