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'Toy Story 4' Reaches For An Even More Resonant Sense Of Closure Than Last Film


If you teared up when Andy gave his toys to little Bonnie at the end of "Toy Story 3," you probably thought Pixar is animated tale had ended on a high note. Now Woody, Buzz and the gang are back for a new adventure. In a moment, we'll hear from the singer-songwriter Randy Newman about his involvement in the franchise. But first, Bob Mondello reviews "Toy Story 4."

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Last time, Andy was heading off to college. This time, Bonnie is heading to kindergarten. And as always, favorite toy Woody is there to smooth the way.


TOM HANKS: (As Woody) Bonnie had a great day in class, and we're going on a road trip.

TIM ALLEN: (As Buzz Lightyear) Road trip?

JEFF GARLIN: (As Buttercup) Vacation.

JOAN CUSACK: (As Jessie) Yeehaw.

HANKS: (As Woody) But then something really weird happened. Bonnie made a friend in class.

BONNIE HUNT: (As Dolly) Oh, she's already making friends.

HANKS: (As Woody) No, no. She literally made a new friend.

Everyone, I want you to meet Forky.

BLAKE CLARK: (As Slinky Dog) Golly bob howdy.

TONY HALE: (As Forky) Hi?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As characters) Hello. Hi.

HALE: (As Forky) Ah.

TIMOTHY DALTON: (As Mr. Pricklepants) He's a spork.

HANKS: (As Woody) Yes. Yeah. I know.

MONDELLO: And therein hangs our tale.


HANKS: (As Woody) Forky is the most important toy to Bonnie right now. We all have to make sure nothing happens to him.

ALLEN: (As Buzz Lightyear) Woody, we have a situation.

MONDELLO: A runaway situation that will unravel further on that vacation trip, a visit to a Wild West tourist town where Woody encounters an old flame, Bo Peep, who introduces him to a daredevil motorcycle toy who can maybe help get Forky back.


ANNIE POTTS: (As Bo Peep) Hi, Duke.

KEANU REEVES: (As Duke Caboom) Who's the cowboy?

POTTS: (As Bo Peep) Duke, meet Woody. Woody, meet...

REEVES: (As Duke Caboom) Duke Caboom - Canada's greatest stunt man.

MONDELLO: Keanu Reeves is the voice.


REEVES: (As Duke Caboom) Oh, yeah, yes.

HANKS: (As Woody) Huh?

POTTS: (As Bo Peep) He's posing.

MONDELLO: Meanwhile, Buzz Lightyear gets trapped in a carnival prize lineup with plush toys Ducky and Bunny, voiced by Key and Peele.


ALLEN: (As Buzz Lightyear) I need...

JORDAN PEELE: (As Bunny) A child to shower you with unconditional love? Join the club, pal.

KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY: (As Ducky) Yeah, join the club.

ALLEN: (As Buzz Lightyear) Come on. Help me get out of here.

KEY: (As Ducky) Oh, I'll help you - with my foot.

MONDELLO: And you don't really need to know a lot more, do you? Pixar sagas have occasionally been less than inspired - the "Cars" movies, for instance - but "Toy Story" is part of the company's DNA. And in this fourth installment, they're reaching for a new and even more resonant sense of closure. As always by focusing on the loyalty toys feel for their kids, they earn audience loyalty. Just try not to care about Bo Peep, let alone Woody.


POTTS: (As Bo Peep) Do I need to be worried?

HANKS: (As Woody) Well, my guys are veterans. They'll hang in there.

MONDELLO: The "Toy Story" world is now photo real enough that it hardly seems digitized, and the foibles and feelings of the toys ring equally true after nearly a quarter-century. They've got a friend in us because they've been such good friends to us. I'm Bob Mondello.


ROBERT GOULET: (Singing) You've got a friend in me... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.

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