movie re­view

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Crossword Puzzle - BY JAY BOB­BIN

Even with the bounty of an­i­mated movies there has been since “Toy Story” be­gan, the tales in that fran­chise al­ways have stood apart ... even against other prod­uct that also has come from Dis­ney-Pixar.

There­fore, do not worry that “Toy Story 4” is a case of go­ing to the well once too of­ten. Not only is the fi­nal film in the se­ries as ef­fec­tive as its fore­run­ners, it just might leave you an emo­tional wreck. (I say that from ex­pe­ri­ence.)

The picture’s main theme explores what hap­pens when your time sup­pos­edly is up, which is the dilemma of cow­boy Woody (again voiced by Tom Hanks), whose new owner is less in­ter­ested in him than in a makeshift doll she has fash­ioned from a spork. It has the voice of “Veep’s” Tony Hale, and it’s seen by Woody as his av­enue to be­com­ing use­ful and wanted again.

Ex­pect­edly, it’s not quite that easy, and that gives “Toy Story 4” the means to yield the tra­di­tional mix of clever vi­su­als and heart-tug­ging char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment. Of course, Tim Allen also is back as the voice of Buzz Lightyear, and An­nie Potts gets spe­cial ku­dos as she reprises the part of Bo Peep very af­fect­ingly. Even the sound of the late Don Rick­les is worked in again as vir­tu­ally all of the reg­u­lars get to take cur­tain calls.

No­table among cast new­com­ers are Keanu Reeves as a mo­tor­cy­cle-dare­devil toy and Christina Hen­dricks (“Mad Men,” “Good Girls”) as a doll in search of a new voice box, and there’s also a wel­come re­union of Kee­gan-Michael Key and Jor­dan Peele, if in voice only. Lis­ten, too, for as­sorted show-busi­ness ti­tans (on the or­der of Mel Brooks, Carol Bur­nett, Betty White and Carl Reiner) along the way.

Since “Toy Story” also has sired some TV spe­cials and a mer­chan­dis­ing bo­nanza, it’s a rather bold move for Dis­ney to end it now ... but the fact is that it truly never will be over. The ex­ist­ing movies will be cher­ished for gen­er­a­tions, so ac­tual toys of Woody and Buzz will re­main quite mar­ketable. And with the over­all prof­its made by the fran­chise (in­clud­ing the con­sid­er­able ones be­ing added now by “4”), it’s not in­con­ceiv­able that we may yet see more “Toy” sto­ries some­where down the line.

How­ever, if this is in­deed the end, “Toy Story 4” takes the se­ries out ex­actly as it should – while very pos­si­bly be­ing the most mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence you’ll have at the movies this year.

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