"Toy Story” is one of those films that can make you laugh, smile and cry all at the same time. Since its first appearance in 1995, “Toy Story” has captured the attention of children and adults and its latest chapter, “Toy Story 4,” is no different. 

We find our familiar cast of characters of Woody, Buzz and Rex moved from their old home and given to a new child, Bonnie, to love. Bonnie is feeling some anxiety and uncertainty about starting kindergarten so Woody takes it upon himself to see that she has a successful day in the classroom. 

During craft time, Bonnie makes a new toy out of pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and a spork and names him Forky. Woody works with Forky to help him understand his role as a toy and his importance to Bonnie. When the family goes on a road trip, the two become lost and have to find their way back to Bonnie. Along the way, they enlist help from other toys. 

The writers of these films are good about incorporating nostalgic toys from different generations. Several toys make an appearance in this film that I remember from my childhood, which added to the movie’s warmth and humor for me.

One favorite of mine happens to be Duke Caboom, who is voiced by Keanu Reeves. Caboom is a takeoff of Evel Knievel. He rides a motorcycle and shows his Canadian pride by sporting a cape with a maple leaf. Caboom’s over the top personality and antics make him a fun character to watch.

Other additions to the cast were Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peel, who voice the stuffed animals Ducky and Bunny, respectively. Ducky and Bunny are freed from the traveling carnival the toys visit and I really enjoyed the humor they brought to the story to help keep it light and funny in some of its more serious moments. 

As with the previous “Toy Story” movies, “Toy Story 4” provides its younger audience with a narrative filled with essential life lessons. Some of these lessons include the importance of friendship, everyone has value, teamwork and showing compassion to others even when it’s not easy to do. 

“Toy Story 4” is an excellent film for the whole family to enjoy and it will leave you smiling. It is one of the best options to choose from in theaters right now. I give “Toy Story 4” eight and a half stars out of 10. The film is rated G and runs 100 minutes. 

For more information about “Toy Story 4,” go to its website at www.movies.disney.com/toy-story-4.

Andrew Branca is an award-winning journalist with the Waxahachie Sun. Contact Andrew at andrew@waxahachiesun.com or by phone at 972-268-7022. Be sure to check out his movie review videos online at www.waxahachiesun.com.

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