8 Questions About Toy Story 4 | Spoiler Free Review and Activity Sheets

Friday, June 21, 2019

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I have a confession to make: I was one of the people who wasn’t really sure Disney needed to make another Toy Story movie. Since the trilogy seemed to wrap up so well, I wasn’t sure where else Pixar could go with the story.

But, having attended several Disney Social Media Mom (DSMM) conferences and hearing directly from the creators themselves, I know that one thing Pixar values above all else is storytelling. I had to trust they would not create a movie unless they felt they had something to say. I am glad to report that my skepticism was unfounded. I really enjoyed this movie and feel it is a good addition to the Toy Story line up.

In typical Pixar fashion, the movie is really pretty. The colors are just gorgeous. I noticed little things like Gabby Gabby's hair. During one of the DSMM sessions, one of the animators spoke on just how difficult hair is to do. They had a whole team devoted to Merida's wonderfully wild red hair.

Some of the questions I've seen floating around about the movie are easy to answer without spoilers and others aren't. I’ll do my best keep this review as spoiler free as possible.

Here are eight things you might want to know before seeing Toy Story 4 this weekend

What is Toy Story 4 about?

It's about an hour and a half. Just kidding. Like the others before it, it's about the relationship kids develop with their toys. It's about friendship and belonging. I also think it's about growing up and moving on. There's a romantic element to Toy Story, a bit of female empowerment and pushing limits. As in, how far will you go to help a friend?

Who stars in Toy Story 4?

The original cast has remained, and we have the return of some favorites: Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Annie Potts as Bo Peep, Tony Hale as Forky, Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny, Madeleine McGraw as Bonnie, Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples and Joan Cusack as Jessie. 

The voice cast also includes Jay Hernandez as Bonnie's dad, Lori Alan as Bonnie's mom, Bonnie Hunt as Dolly, Kristen Schaal as Trixie, Emily Davis as the Billy Goats. 

Wallace Shawn returns as Rex, John Ratzenberger as Hamm, Blake Clark as Slinky Dog, and Estelle Harris and the late Don Rickles as Mrs. and Mr. Potato Head. Rickles passed away in 2017. The LA Times did an interesting story about including him posthumously.


Is Andy in Toy Story 4?

Yes and no. I feel like if I get into it, I'll go more into the plot than I want to.

Well I cry during the movie?

Maybe. I think that will depend on what stage of life you’re in. Parents with young kids will identify with starting kindergarten and the changes that brings to a family.

Parents with older kids will relate to what it’s like to move from one phase of childhood to another. Are you a hopeless romantic? Have you ever had to say goodbye your best friend? If so, bring tissues.

Are there Easter Eggs in Toy Story 4?

Yes. I only found two but I know there are many, many more. Supposedly, Toy Story 4 has the most Easter Eggs of any other Pixar film. During the antique store scenes, keep your eyes out for a character from every Pixar movie to date. If you can't wait, Meghan from JaMonkey has compiled a partial Easter Egg list.

Is Toy Story 4 scary for little children?

Possibly. If you know your kids don’t like clowns, there are parts of the movie they may not enjoy.

Will my tweens and teens like it?

Mine did. The whole ride home he talked about Bo Peep and her character and how it was nice that she had so much screen time. We had a really thoughtful discussion about it and re-laughed at some of the jokes.

Should we stay after the credits?

Yes, there is an end credit scene. Several, actually.

#ToyStory4 opens in US theaters on July 21st

Are you planning a visit to the parks? I've created a shoppable packing list on Amazon with products we've taken to Disney, or ones we wish we'd had. Click here to visit my Disney Vacation Packing List.

Connect with Toy Story on social media: 
Facebook: Pixar Toy Story
Twitter: @ToyStory 
Instagram: @ToyStory 
YouTube: Disney Pixar  

Click here to download Toy Story 4 recipes, crafts, activities, and coloring sheet PDF's.


Disclosure: I was gifted with tickets to see the movie prior to its public release. All opinions are my own. Photo credit to Disney. This post contains affiliate links.

Avengers: Endgame Reaction and Review

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

How do you end something that is more than 10 years in the making? Avengers: Endgame is how. This world, the MCU, is the epitome of storytelling. We've been so invested in these people it's hard not to have high expectations for this, the final installment.

I tip my hat to Directors the Russo's for creating such an eloquent farewell. They, along with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley and Producer Kevin Feige have done what Disney does best: put the customer experience first. This movie is for the the fans.

Even though we've been exposed to the idea that good guys always win (Game of Thrones, anyone?), it's still disconcerting when things go as horribly wrong as they did in Infinity War. When we last saw earth's defenders, some had been, literally, beaten. Some were presumed lost in space and many others floated away as a result of Thanos' creation of the Infinity Gauntlet and making good on his promise to wipe out half of Earth's population. They hadn't yet met Captain Marvel. 

Endgame picks up in the past, but doesn't stay there for long, at least initially. The movies' use of time and time jumps is masterful. This is where having a refresher on the history of the Infinity Stones* and where (and when) we last saw them prior to The Snap will be helpful. 

Despite being three hours long, there were no silly gimmicks. The movie didn't feel stuffed. Every scene felt like it belonged. Avengers: Endgame feels very familiar, but still manages to be something I've never seen before. I was expecting to be surprised, I was not expecting to be shocked.

Even though every major cast member makes an appearance, there's nothing gratuitous about their scenes (there are actually characters I would have liked to see more of). Each time someone new appears on screen, there's a distinct shift. For instance, we get the snappy dialogue and one-liners from Iron Man and the playfulness and fun music of Guardians of the Galaxy.

We know there are other movies in the works, so some of the moments in the film feel like nods towards things to come. Others feel like acknowledgements of the journey and just how much these people have been through. This movie a three-hour emotional roller coaster. I got goosebumps about 30 seconds in. The audience gasped more than once, lost its collective sh*t more than once and cheered more times than I can count. 

It hit so many notes: redemption, reconciliation, forgiveness, love, what it means to be a family and #GirlPower. It's a cliche, but Avengers: Endgame will make you laugh and cry. Doctor Strange saw 14 million variations on how the Endgame would play out, and he told Iron Man only one would work. He was right. For me, this movie played out the only way it could and still satisfy the franchise, fans and the arc of storytelling. 

Things to know before seeing Avengers: Endgame

Should I re-watch any of the movies beforehand?

I certainly don't think you need to watch all of them, but if you're fuzzy on some of the chronology, this guide breaks down which MCU movies to see in their entirety and which you can fast forward through before Endgame. If you only need a refresher on who survived The Snap and who didn't, re-watch Infinity War (or just go to Entertainment Weekly). 

Is there a good time to go to the restroom?

No. Snack with caution. 
(But CNET has some ideas. When we see the film again this weekend I might rescind my 'no'.)

Will I want to bring my kids?

Definitely. If your kids are the same age as mine, they've grown up with the Avengers. They need to see how it all wraps up. Younger kids may not like how long the movie is and you may not want to take any bathroom/snack breaks. See above.

Will I want to see Avengers: Endgame more than once?

I think so. I'm glad we're going again because I missed a little bit of dialogue. There are also times where there is so much happening it's overwhelming (in a good way).

*This is a super detailed chronology. There are so many awesome links there including an interactive map of MCU locations!

Connect with Marvel on social media:
Website and Mobile site: https://www.marvel.com/movies/avengers-endgame
Facebook: @MarvelStudios
Twitter: @MarvelStudios
Instagram: @MarvelStudios

Disclosure: See Avengers: Endgame in theaters starting April 29th. Photos and videos courtesy of Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios. I was gifted tickets to see the media preview. This post may contain affiliate links.
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