Pixar has officially released the Toy Story 4 Super Bowl spot online. Way back in 1995, the animation studio revolutionized Hollywood with the release of the original Toy Story, which was the first full-length computer animated film. As impressive as that technical accomplishment was, the main reasons the film resonated as much as it did were the heartfelt story and memorable characters. Toy Story went on to become Pixar's flagship franchise, spawning similarly acclaimed sequels released in 1999 and 2010, respectively.
When Andy bid farewell to Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the gang at the end of Toy Story 3, many people assumed they too had seen the last of the toys. That included the people at Pixar, who were convinced the series was over until a fourth installment was announced in 2014. Over the past handful of years, the project experienced numerous ups and downs, including losing original writers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. Despite the setbacks, Toy Story 4 remained on track for its summer 2019 premiere. Following the release of the first teaser trailer last fall, Pixar continues the marketing campaign with a Super Bowl spot.
The commercial originally aired during the Super Bowl LIII broadcast on CBS and is now available online. You can watch it for yourself in the space below, as well as read a synopsis for the film:
Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.
As for the spot, it further emphasizes the film's carnival setting, which has been a key component of Toy Story 4 marketing so far. In the footage, Woody and Bo Peep are waiting for Buzz, who finds himself trapped on a gift wall. There, everyone's favorite space ranger crosses paths with Bunny and Ducky (voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael-Key, respectively), forming a friendly (?) rivalry in regards to who will be the top prize. There's a distinct possibility this ad (much like the previous teasers) does not contain actual scenes from the finished film and was created strictly for promotional purposes. Rather than shedding light on the story, it serves to introduce viewers to some important characters (remember, Bo's last appearance was 1999's Toy Story 2) and let them know Toy Story 4 hits theaters this summer.
For people of a certain age, there's an inherent risk in returning to this property. Given how perfect Toy Story 3's conclusion was, some viewers find it difficult to see where the story can go from here in a manner that reaches the incredibly high bar set by its predecessors. However, Pixar wouldn't have moved ahead with Toy Story 4 if they weren't convinced they had something special on their hands, and all indication right now is that viewers are in for another poignant Pixar film. Both Tom Hanks and Tim Allen had trouble recording their lines due to how emotional some scenes were, which brings to mind Toy Story 3's infamous incinerator sequence or Andy's goodbye. And with a narrative that explores the existential question of what it means to be a toy, there's a good chance Toy Story 4 will be as rewarding a watch as other Pixar titles before it.
- Toy Story 4 (2019) release date: Jun 21, 2019