Film Review: ‘Toy Story 4’ (2019)

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Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Annie Potts.
Director: Josh Cooley
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The toys are back…AGAIN.

Nine years on from Best Picture-nominated Toy Story 3, Woody (Tom Hanks) and the gang are back on the big screen for another routine mishap and rescue, hoping to return to an equilibrium with their owner Bonnie come the film’s conclusion.

Toy Story 3 depicts Andy going to college, whilst at the opposite end of the education spectrum, Toy Story 4 depicts Bonnie debuting at kindergarten – unrelated, but Nicolas Cage in Con Air said, “School is very important.” Sadly for Bonnie, she struggles to make friends, thus creates her own friend: Forky (Tony Hale). The next best thing after an invisible friend is a spork with misplaced googly eyes. 

Trash hits the fan for Woody and the gang when trashy Forky ends up on the country roads during a family trip after…jumping out of an RV. In desperately trying to appease his owner for countless years, Woody is on a one-toy-mission to reunite Forky with Bonnie, but only to bump into old friends and make new enemies along the way. 

Other than existing as a slight antithesis of the original films, the major changes in Toy Story 4 come in the form of Bo Peep (Annie Potts), returning as a Sarah Connor knock-off, and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) rarely featuring at all, though when appearing, he exists only as a poorly dumbed down comic relief.  As per, Woody leads the way, though slightly tiresome in this one. New to the gang, however, amid much anticipation through the actor’s career revitalisation, is the Keanu Reeves-voiced Duke Caboom – a Canadian Evel Knievel knock-off. To much appreciation, there may be a nod to Speed depending on how one reads the film… Though sounding slightly rough within the world of voice-based work, Reeves’ Caboom is great fun.    

Toy Story 4 is probably the funniest instalment, like, seriously (and surprisingly) funny. From the villainous dummies to plush-based-heroes Ducky and Bunny (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele respectively), comedy is perfected in this film, and quite possibly the greatest aspect of Toy Story 4 after the visuals… Visually, like the original Toy Story, this fourth instalment is visually groundbreaking – for 25 years, Pixar have been the pinnacle of computer animation, and again, they have raised an almost unreachable standard. The irony, however, is that Toy Story 4 is probably the worst one.  

Surely, this has to be the end of Toy Story on the big screen. But will it? There will always be children to entertain, new merchandise to be sold, and disgusting amounts of money to be made. If another feature film isn’t on the cards, then another of those TV-movie shorts, following the previous Toy Story of Terror! and Toy Story That Time Forgot, certainly is a possibility.

Though an unnecessary sequel, but fun nonetheless, Toy Story 4 is a wonderfully charming and exciting kids comedy film. For any fan raised on the first two Toy Story films, it is great to an extent to see one’s heroes back on the big screen, but the latest results are not the most satisfying, but should have we expected that? The truth is that it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, the film is there to be enjoyed, and most importantly, to excite a new generation of children. 

3 Stars

Dom.

For John.


This article’s featured image: By Source, (https://twitter.com/Pixar/status/1107997657644089351), Fair Use, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Toy_Story_4_poster.jpg

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