Film review: Toy Story 4

Can the latest in the franchise live up to the previous Toy Story films? Yes, says Linda Marric


They’re back! Pixar and Disney’s most cherished characters in one of Hollywood's most successful franchises finally return after 9 years of absence, and it’s like they’ve never really left. Despite the endless speculations on whether they could pull off yet another sequel, it’s safe to say that Pixar didn’t flinch, and the result is as satisfying as anyone would’ve hoped.

A few years after Andy gave his toys to Bonnie; Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the rest of the gang are faced with a problem when the little girl creates a new toy out of a discarded plastic spork whom she names Forky (Tony Hale). Confused by his new status, Forky has no desire to be the little girl’s new favourite toy and insists on returning back to the trash can he came from.

When Bonnie’s family decide to go on a road trip, Forky escapes and Woody goes after him, leading the two to be separated from the rest of the group. Mayhem ensues when Woody spots a very familiar object in an antique shop window, a lamp which once had his old friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts) attached to it. Desperate to be reunited with Bo, Woody drags Forky with him into the shop where an old defective Doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) and her ventriloquist dummy army have some decidedly sinister plans for the cowboy.

After we bid farewell to Andy and his toys almost a decade ago in the brilliant Toy Story 3, there seemed to be an unspoken consensus against the idea of messing around with what was considered to be a near-perfect trilogy. Although the last instalment appeared to tie-up Andy’s arc nicely, there was the small matter of doing the same for Woody. Fortunately for us, and for Woody, Toy Story 4 has done just that and more.

Introducing some great new characters, notably the hilarious Keanu Reaves voiced daredevil stuntman Duke Caboom, director Josh Cooley and screenwriters Andrew

Stanton and Stephany Folsom have done a great job in keeping the essence of a story we all know and love. And While there’s no denying that there is a huge Andy-Shaped hole in this latest instalment, there are still moments of utter joy, sadness and heartbreaking tenderness which more than make up for this absence.

Toy Story 4 might lack the instant familiarity of the original trilogy, but it still manages to present moments of pure and unadulterated fun for all the family. Another beautifully executed and genuinely thrilling offering from Pixar, not that there was ever any real doubt on them being able to deliver.

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