I recently had the privilege of being invited to Pixar Studios for a look at the upcoming Toy Story 4 film. I’ve got quite a bit I’ll be talking about split into different articles, including a roundtable interview with Director Josh Cooley and Producer Mark Neilsen, a look at Bo Peep with her new design, and a look at the locations from the movie. Also, I’ll be posting an image gallery of the trip, along with our tour of Pixar Studios, with help from Woody, so make sure to check those out. However, in this article, I’ll be talking about the film a bit without any spoilers.

I was 12 when the first entry of Toy Story was released back in 1995 and the movie just blew my young mind. I won’t lie. I watched my toys from a distance on weekends to see if they moved and talked, but sadly, they never did. That didn’t stop me from watching the later films, and while I’m much older now, I still enjoy watching all three movies with my nieces. Additionally, I’ve really been looking forward to seeing Toy Story 4.

Toy Story 4 (Pictured L-R): Valerie LaPointe (Story Supervisor), Axel Geddes (Editor), Thomas Jordan (Sets Supervisor), Steve Karski (Sets Supervisor), Patrick Lin (Layout Supervisor), Robert Russ (Supervising Animator), Scott Clark (Supervising Animator), Jean-Claude Kalache (Director of Photography, Lighting) & Robert Moyer at April 3, 2019 press day. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

We got to watch around 25 minutes of the film, which was about the first 20 minutes or so along with some scenes from later on in the film. I’m not sure if there will be any changes made between what I saw and the final version, which comes out on June 21, but I can definitely say that this will be another great Pixar release.

TOY STORY 4 (Pictured): (L-R) Bill Reeves (Global Technology Supervisor) & Bob Pauley (Production Designer) present the “EVOLUTION OF THE TOY STORY WORLD.” Photo by Marc Flores. ©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The start of the film does a great job of setting the tone for the story, especially with a great nostalgic moment. First, it answers the burning question of what happened to Bo Peep, and second, it shows how things have changed for Woody and the gang after Andy gives the toys to Bonnie. Things are different, while Woody was Andy’s favorite toy, it’s not the same, and there are new toys we’ve never seen before that are part of Bonnie’s collection. However, Woody is optimistic and wants to help and protect Bonnie as he did with Andy. In the first 10 minutes of the film, you go through many different emotions as the scenes are so well written and designed that honestly, I want to know what else happens immediately as two months is a long time to wait.

And then there’s Sporky. When I first saw this character in the trailers, I questioned it and wondered if he would actually work. Sporky does work quite well actually. It’s not a complex character, and Sporky was executed in a way where it’s silly but done in a way you can laugh and still enjoy the character. As we get older, we forget the things we’ve done with our imaginations. Sporky also made me remember that time back when I was young when I would try to create my own toys at times with anything I could find when I was bored, but as an adult, everything has changed with how I look at toys.

We were then shown a few short clips from the movie which, included a scene of Woody meeting Gabby Gabby, a carnival scene and the one that really put a smile on the face was the moment where Woody and Bo Peep finally reunite after being apart for so long. I won’t be talking about these scenes here as we went a little more in-depth on the return of Bo Beep and the locations in our later meetings, which I will cover there.

Josh Cooley and Mark Nielsen present Toy Story 4 footage to press, on April 3, 2019 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I’m glad to see that the original cast will be returning for this film. Yes, there is one notable character that unfortunately couldn’t return, but I’m glad to say that Pixar will be using archived voice clips from Don Rickles for Mr. Potato Head. It wouldn’t have been the same without him.

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