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ROGER THOMAS FILM REVIEW: The toys are back in town

This all began in 1995, after some very fun characters took over our screens and then became highly popular. It is hard to believe that a toy cowboy and an astronaut made of plastic would give so many of us pleasure, laugher and sentiment.

What is even more miraculous is that these toys have now charmed us with four astonishing films about toys. As stated above, the first “Toy Story” played in theaters in 1995.

Roger Thomas

The second came around in 1999. It was Thanksgiving day when I saw the second film. We were gathering as family for the evening meal so I slipped off and saw “Toy Story 2.” It is one of my favorite memories of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Then came the third film. It took 11 years before Woody and Buzz were seen again and I was very excited. I was also excited that my children were going to get the experience of a “Toy Story” film on the big screen. They had, of course, seen the first two films already at home, but seeing the film the way it was meant to be seen was very exciting.

There was one other thing about the third “Toy Story” film. It came as a big shock to me, but the third film turned out to be the best. I liked the first two, but “3” wowed me. Was it because there had been such a long time between the second and third film? I thought that would hinder it somewhat, but it did not.

I simply thought the first two films were so good that nothing would surpass it, but “3” did.

Nine years have passed and now we have a fourth “Toy Story” film.

When I heard the news, I wondered. How could the filmmakers come close to the other films? Perhaps, it is time to rest this story of “Toys” and Pixar Studios can mine another series of films from their vast characters.

Before I expose my opinion of the new “Toy Story 4,” allow me to offer a few thoughts about the film series, all four of them.

First, the “Toy Story” films are about family. The human family members are important and are sometimes catalysts to the plot.

But on the other hand, the toys are also family members. These toys are not family by blood. They do not have blood; they have stuffings, at least most of them. But that is one of the things that makes them who they are.

The toys, for the most part, are different. They are much more diverse than the human race. There are animals and aliens. There are soldiers and Bo Peep’s sheep. And too many others to acknowledge. But here is what I see when I watch the “Toy Story” films: diversity. Diversity should exist in the human race as well.

Do not worry. I know conflicts are more simply settled in the world of Andy’s bedroom.

But would it not be grand if our problems could be solved as easy as one of Andy’s stories from one of the first two “Toy Story” films.

My intention was to rate the four films before I ended this review. As for a rating for “Toy Story 4,” I think the film is very good. So here are the films rated in a system of “Less to Best.”

The fourth favorite is “Toy Story.” That means the first film is my fourth favorite film.

The third best is “Toy Story 2.” The third best is the most recent production, “Toy Story 4.” And my favorite film of this collection is “Toy Story 3.”

I will not be sad if there is a “Toy Story 5,” and I hope it will challenge the first four.

I think that the end of the fourth film has set up a story for more fun and adventure in the world of toys.

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.