Michael Scott

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Toy Story 4


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Movie: :4stars:
4K Video: :5stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3.5stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

When I think of Pixar Studios the very first image that comes to mind is that of the first 2 Toy Story movies. Lets put this into context first. I’m just under 40 years old and I remember watching Toy Story and Toy Story 2 as a teenager on VHS...yes, VHS! Everything started and really took off for the fledgling Apple sprout off as their own film production studio back in 1995 with Toy Story. It was the first time in a LONG time that Disney proper had serious competition, and it shook the industry to its core. The CGI animation was breathtaking for the time, and it became a smash hit overnight. 4 years later they followed it up with Toy Story 2, which pulled the hardest feat of all out of it’s hat. To make a sequel that was better than the original (only a small handful of franchises can boast that feat). Most people would have been happy with two hits under its belt, especially since Pixar was a studio that (at this point) really wasn’t making a ton of sequels, but instead forging ahead with new intellectual properties. But back in 2010 the unimaginable happened. Pixar helmed a THIRD Toy Story movie, even amidst the constant criticism that the film was never needed. Luckily the film was another smash hit (although the weakest of the three as the laws of diminishing returns was kicking in), and it wrapped up the entire series with such a fantastic ending that we all thought “this is it, this is the end. The perfect ending for Buzz, Woody, and the rest of them”.

Fast forward almost another decade, and Pixar has once more decided to revisit the world of Buzz and Woody. If you remember where we left on in #3, Buzz and Woody and the rest of the toys were given away to a young Girl named Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) when Andy went to college, leaving them to fulfill their purposes with yet another child. Bonnie is now on her way to Kindergarten, and Woody (Tom Hanks) is kind of nervous about her going off on her own. While she’s not been playing with him as much, Woody has flashbacks to Andy’s younger years and his parental nature kicks in. When the family decides to take a celebratory road trip before Kindergarten proper starts up in a week, the toys are all going to learn something new about themselves.

Bonnie has created a new toy at Kindergarten called “forky” (voiced by Tony Hale) and it has become the most important toy in the world to her. When Forky escapes out the window of the RV truck, the good old sheriff has to dive out after him, only to run into an old flame in the form of Bo Peep (Annie Potts). Not only that, to get back to Bonnie and the truck, Forky and Woody have to make it past the tragic villain (kind of) Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), an antique doll that desperately wants Woody’s voice box so that she can have a child of her own.

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Toy Story 4 is less a big group film like the last several, and more of a personal growth story for Woody himself. While we have all the of the main cast back (excluding the late Don Rickles), Buzz, Jessie and the rest of them play back up to the new characters and the re-introduction of a new one. While the last movie wrapped things up perfectly, this one hearkens back to the days of Toy Story 2, where full on adventures and light hearted excitement reigned. As such it’s kind of conflicting in its continuity. The 4th movie almost feels unneeded in many ways, as the series was wrapped up so well, but there seems to be a need to continue one with some of the characters, especially Woody. He’s grown so attached to having a kid that he’s forgotten about his own happiness. When Bo Peep left in previous films it crushed him, and her reintroduction as a “lost toy” opens up a gaping wound in his heart that really is pushing him towards his own future. This once more wraps up the series nicely, but still feels a bit redundant considering we already had one of the best wrapups the series could have possibly had.

Bo Peep’s new focus in Toy Story 4 is refreshing though, as it adds a new dimension to her personality now that she’s grown and moved on after being cast aside by Andy’s sister. She and Woody always had that little chemistry going on between them, and here they’re allowed to flesh that out much more thoroughly (much to the delight of long time fans). Buzz is kind of put on the back burner a bit, as is Jessie, but they’re still integral to the story, and the final bit of acknowledgment between the two as they say goodbye is heartwarming to say the least. Gabby Gabby almost feels like a revamp of the prospector in some ways, as she fits the sympathetic villain motif of the series to a T, but it’s really Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom that really steals the show. I don’t know what it is, but Keanu has become a modern day acting icon and his charisma and popularity has everyone fangirling over him. However, some of it is well deserved as the man’s comedic timing and charming personality make Duke one of the best parts of the whole movie.




Rating:

Rated G for General Audiences




4K Video: :5stars: Video: :5stars:
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Usually animated films show moderate improvement over their Blu-ray counterparts simply due to the fact that there is only so much more detail that one can muster out of human drawn pictures. Not so with the 4K UHD of Toy Story 4. The disc borders on being photorealistic at times, with a jaw dropping transfer that puts this in the upper echelons of animated 4K titles that I’ve reviewed. Everything that CAN be improved upon is improved. Colors are brighter and more deeply saturated. Details are jaw dropping, and the contrast difference is stunning. Comparing the 2 discs side by side I have to say that the 4K UHD has a slightly dimmer look to it, as the outdoor shots in the Blu-ray almost look garishly bright and overblown in comparison. I have never seen the film in its theatrical run, so I can’t verify if this is how it was MEANT to look, but the dimmer look makes it look much more natural in comparison. The colors are still lush and heavily saturated, but it looks tamed down a bit, which lends itself towards a more natural look. Blacks are deep and inky, with stunning shadow detail inside of the antique shop, and visual clarity is amazing. Every character, every background, EVERY little detail is just picture perfect. Bravo Pixar, bravo.







Audio: :4.5stars:
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The Dolby Atmos track found on the 4K UHD disc is definitely a bit more boosted in comparison to the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track. While the 7.1 track on the Blu-ray was pretty good, it was a bit flat at times, and felt distinctly “soft”. This one definitely has more bite, with a strong bass track and a much better sense of dynamics. Surprisingly enough there wasn’t that much boost needed on the volume level, as Disney has a tendency of mastering their tracks low in volume. Probably 3-4 clicks of my receiver and we were right on track according to my level meter. It’s a great sounding track that carries some strong dynamics (such as during the carnival, where you can hear all the chaos around you), with some decent use of the overheads (again, in the carnival scenes where the rides are swooshing overhead, or during the jump scene inside the antique store with Duke Caboom). Bass is punchy and more gutteral, but it’s STILL a bit lighter than I would have liked. I wanted to rate it 4/5 too in some ways, BUUUT it is still a distinct jump over the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that I rated a solid 4/5. My personal score would have been to rate it a 4.25/5, but since we don’t have that sort of precision on the rating system, 4.5/5 it is.








Extras: :3.5stars:
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(all extras are found on the Blu-rays)
Disc One
• Bo Rebooted
• Toy Stories
• Audio Commentary with Director Josh Cooley and Producer Mark Nielsen

Disc Two
• Lets Ride with Ally Maki
• Woody & Buzz
• Anatomy of a Scene: Playground
• Carnival Run
• View from the Hood
• Toy Box
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailers and Promos



Final Score: :4stars:


Toy Story 4 is kind of an unnecessary film in the franchise, but it’s still a good movie. Even through mild complaints about redundancy and rehashed material, at the end of the day it’s a very good children’s movie whose only flaw is that the films that came before it were so great, that it could never really aspire to fly as high it’s predecessors. The film is adorably cute, has fantastic CGI, and the technical specs on the 4K are amazing, making it the easily superior disc out of the Blu-ray vs. 4K UHD debate. As a life long fan of all things Toy Story, I can give a solid thumbs up and recommend it for a fun watch at the very minimum.


Technical Specifications:


Starring: Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele, Keanu Reeves, Joan Cusack
Directed by: Josh Cooley
Written by: Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English Dolby Digital+ 7.1, English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0, French, Spanish DD+ 7.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Studio: Pixar
Rated: G
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 8th, 2019
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Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. A must have for fans of the series. :)
 

Todd Anderson

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I bet this is total eye candy on a projector. Very curious... but not sure I want to drop the coin to find out!
 

mechman

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I'll check it out cause I love the animated stuff from Pixar.
 

Michael Scott

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I bet this is total eye candy on a projector. Very curious... but not sure I want to drop the coin to find out!
ohhhhhhh, it's Eye candy. tried on a 4040 that my buddy has and it's GREAT. 5/5
 

jdubs75

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Thanks for the review. Hoping to check this one out next weekend!
 

Todd Anderson

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We've announced a winner in the Toy Story 4 Giveaway! :T
 
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