“Toy Story 4” delivers a cinematic grand slam, a nine-years-later sequel that’s wholly equal to the high expectations raised by the terrific trio that it follows. Touching, raucously funny, adventurous and yes, even profound, Pixar’s signature property once again touches them all.
It’s a towering accomplishment, one that shouldn’t be taken for granted given the fact that “Toy Story’s” original director and Pixar’s creative mastermind, John Lasseter, was forced to take a leave of absence in 2017 and eventually exit the company.
Josh Cooley served as the director, but with the script credited to Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom and the story to several others, this was clearly a group effort, one assembled with tender loving care.
Perhaps no animated property has exhibited more ambition in charting the vagaries of childhood — albeit through the eyes of toys, whose lives are utterly defined by the service that they provide to kids. That has included, at times heartbreakingly, being outgrown, forgotten and cast aside by the mercurial little people whose love animates them.