Pixar, despite being bought by Disney, has continued to make good on their promise to not make sequels unless they had something to say. And the "Toy Story" franchise is their best proof of that. Look at the release dates for 1 through 4: 1995, 1999, 2010, 2019. "Toy Story 3" is probably my least favourite, but every single one has a very good story. And like most Pixar movies, they all have emotional depths aimed at the parents that won't interfere with the kids' enjoyment of the movie.
This movie opens with some back story, reminding us of the connection between Woody (Tom Hanks) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and explaining her absence from "Toy Story 3" - she was given away. The next big piece of the plot is their child Bonnie creating a new toy from a plastic spork: she calls him "Forky" (voiced by Tony Hale). All he wants to do is throw himself in the trash - he's a plastic spork after all, it's what he was meant for. But Woody realises how important Forky is to Bonnie, and keeps preventing Forky from suicide-by-trash while trying to explain to him that he matters to Bonnie and why he should care. This eventually leads to a reunion with Bo, and another existential crisis for Woody.
The list of names in tiny roles is staggering. This is partly because of the series' history, with people like Joan Cusack and Wallace Shawn showing up to voice characters who are, in this movie, small parts. The big additions are Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, and Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny, carnival prize toys who are permanently joined together. But there are also new - and well known - names in tiny roles: Bill Hader as a circus carnie, and Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) as the announcer on a TV commercial. Even more entertaining to me was finding out who voiced some toys in the closet for one short scene. I'll give you their character names and we'll see how old you are: Melephant Brooks, Chairol Burnett, Carl Reineroceros. That's the "Toy Story" director and producers giving tribute to some of the greats of comedy - but the fact that those greats are willing to show up for bit parts in this movie is a tribute to the success of the series.
And you need to watch the end credits. To the last scene. In between the credits are some of the funniest gags in the whole thing, and the last frame is them messing with the Pixar logo. It's wonderful.
"Toy Story 2" remains my favourite of the series, but this is, once again, a worthy and very entertaining entry into the series.