I absolutely loved the latest instalment of the Toy Story series. When the film was first announced I was sceptical about this whole thing, as I believe a lot of people were. After the perfect ending of Toy Story 3 I didn’t believe that we needed another story about what happened to the gang after Andy handed them over to Bonnie but how wrong was I?
My opinion started to change from cynicism to excitement when I realised just how much Bo Peep was going to feature as she was my favourite character growing up, she may have changed quite a bit but she’s still just as awesome as I always thought she was. I was a bit disappointed when I realised they had changed the voice actor from Jodie Benson to Annie Potts, I need to find out why that decision was made, but she did a great job of bringing Bo back to life.
Beside Bo Peep, my favourite character from the latest film was none other than the one, the only, Duke Caboom, voiced by the currently trending Keanu Reeves. He was a brilliant additional character to the story who didn’t bring a whole lot to the plot but provided the audience with some much needed comic relief.
The two things I picked up on initally after watching the film was 1. How sad it was at the end (I’ll do my best to stay relatively spoiler free) and 2. How scary it was! Anyone who has a fear of dolls and chose to go and see Toy Story 4 rather than Childs Play this weekend will not be best pleased. So Duke Caboom came into the picture at the exact right time to free us all of our tears and fright!
As always with any Disney or Disney/Pixar production it was jam packed with Hidden Mickeys* (also known as Easter Eggs outside the Disneyverse) and I seem to be able to pick them out even on the first watch so I thought I would brain dump some of the ones I noticed.
*Hidden Mickeys refer to the placement of items/characters/imagery from past (and occasionally future, for example Duke Caboom can be seen in The Incredibles 2) Disney or Disney/Pixar productions.
The Pizza Planet Truck
Featured in every Disney/Pixar films since the first Toy Story was released in 1995, the Pizza Planet truck has become a staple of Hidden Mickeys and everyone who knows about it will be looking out for it. See below for a few examples from recent Pixar films:
In Toy Story 4 the Pizza Planet truck can be found tattooed on the leg of the teenager running the carnival stall where multiple characters find themselves hung up for prizes throughout the film.
The film takes a turn when Woody and Forky find themselves trapped in an antique shop at the state fair where they meet the villainous Gabby Gabby, in an attempt to escape they are running through the shop jumping from shelf to shelf and in the background of one shot can be seen the famous painting of dogs playing poker. One of these dogs is indeed Dug the lovable labrador from the 2009 Disney/Pixar film Up amongst the other pups from the film. After doing a bit of research I found out it can also be seen in the poster for the film.
I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I sat down with my pic’a’mix and diet coke ready for the inevitable Pixar Short that we all look forward to before the feature starts only to be utterly devastated that there doesn’t seem to be one for this film! Come on Pixar, you’re basically throwing an Oscar away!
However, even though they didn’t give us a new Pixar short they did have a couple of homages to the old ones which I very much appreciated.
From the 1988 Pixar Short Tin Toy, Tinny can be seen greeting Woody and Bo as they enter the toys nightclub on their way to find the one, the only, Duke Caboom:
In another attempt to escape the awful Gabby Gabby the toys are climbing up a wall of shelves and in the process they climb over a stack of board games, all of which go by the names of some Pixar Shorts of days gone by, Partly Cloudy and Lifted were part of that pile.
And finally, the last one I spotted whilst watching the film, the Grape Soda bottle cap
Whilst Bo is packing up her skunk-mobile car with all the essentials, her nobel steeds Billy, Goat and Gruff hand her a familiar item, also from the film Up.
I’m sure there are many more Hidden Mickeys throughout the lovable Toy Story 4 and if you see any, please comment!
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and I’m so happy the gang are back, it is so brilliantly written and will appeal to all ages.