Film Review: Toy Story 4

Mild spoilers ahead, but major plot points will not be discussed.  

It’s the film that many of us didn’t think was necessary. 2010’s Toy Story 3 had a perfect, heartbreaking ending that wrapped everything up nicely, surely a fourth film would just be milking it and could never live up to what had come before? Wrong. Toy Story 4 is an absolute delight, to the point that after some reflection, I truly believe it not only lives up to, but surpasses the film that came before.

Toy Story 4 picks up a couple of years after the events of Toy Story 3, and Bonnie is ready to start kindergarten, she’s dreading it but gets through her first day by making her own toy out of a spork, aptly named Forky (Tony Hale). Surprisingly, Forky becomes sentient, and Woody (Tom Hanks) takes on the responsibility of taking Forky under his wing, realising how much importance the spork has to Bonnie. A sequence of events that follow lead to Woody and Forky being seperated from the rest of the group, and then Woody is reunited with a much-changed Bo Peep, which makes him question his own place in a world that has changed drastically since his times with Andy.

Right, that’s as much as I’m going to discuss in terms of plot, and that is all stuff that was revealed in the trailer. Everything else, you’ll have to discover for yourself, because that’s how this should be experienced, without knowing anything. Toy Story 4 has a very self-contained story compared to it’s three predecessors, which was a refreshing change and gave it a unique feel. But it goes so much further than just being self-contained, because Toy Story 4 is a very bold film, which takes the story to places that I never expected and will shock and surprise you, it might technically be a film for children, but just like it’s predecessors, Toy Story 4 displays an extreme level of maturity and nuance that will touch and move adults as well, on a deeper level. The biggest testament I can give to this story as a whole is that it never feels forced and unnecessary after the ending of Toy Story 3, it isn’t trying to out-do that conclusion, because it simply wouldn’t be able to. Instead, it delicately continues and expands themes and messages from the third film and takes it in new, interesting directions that are completely believable and feel justified. The best way I can describe it, is that Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending, and Toy Story 4 is the perfect epilogue.

We’re introduced to a wealth of new characters in this film, and they are all brilliant. Forky is absolutely fantastic and I have no doubt he’s going to become a favourite for a lot of Toy Story fans, his contribution to the film is great fun, very clever, and it offers a new perspective that no other film has tackled and is interesting to see, watching him go through his existential criss and learn and grow is a joy to watch. Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele play carnival prizes Ducky and Bunny, respectively, and they produce some of the best comedy I have ever seen in a Pixar film, genuinely, some of their moments had me crying with laughter, and you’d have to be heartless to not love them and their contribution to this film. Ally Maki plays Giggle McDimples, a miniature police officer who is certainly a unique personality and a welcome addition to the crew. Christina Hendricks delivers a great performance as the villainous Gabby Gabby, who is followed by her legion of terrifying ventriloquist dolls. But, last but not least, is the great Keanu Reeves as Canadian stuntman toy called Duke Caboom, who is one of the best characters in the entire Toy Story franchise, that’s all I’m going to say on the matter, you’re going to love him.

Speaking of characters, this leads me to perhaps my only qualm with the film, but even then it’s one that is completely justified and I’ll explain why… The fan favourites such as Rex, Hamm, Slinky, Jessie, Bullseye and Potato Head very much take a back seat in this film and aren’t much more than glorified cameos, they are no where near as prominent as they have been in previous films and this is something that I envision could upset some fans. However, once the credits start rolling and you start to reflect on the film, you’ll realise that this was completely deliberate and necessary, because Toy Story 4 belongs to one character in particular and it heads in a certain direction that means that time needed to be focused elsewhere. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way when you’ve watched it as well!

Let’s conclude then: Words will not truly be able to express how much I adored this film, it touched me and moved me in ways that I didn’t possibly imagine, it made me just as emotional as the climax of Toy Story 3, which is an impressive feat alone. Everything about this film is near flawless, the animation is utterly gorgeous and is a wonder to behold, seriously, compare the animation of this film to the first Toy Story and you’ll be amazed by how far the technology has come. The story is absolutely fantastic, it’s entertaining, it’s hilarious, yet it still has no problem delivering mature, powerful messages that will no doubt resonate with our generation. It’s just a complete delight, and I had a massive smile on my face from start to finish. There are very few franchises that have managed to maintain such a ridiculously high standard over four films and amazingly, I think Toy Story 4 is one of the best and I think a lot of people will be of that same opinion.

Toy Story 3 was a perfect ending, and somehow Toy Story 4 now exists and doesn’t detract from that at all and gives us another perfect ending. If this truly is the end, then it’s been one hell of a ride and I’m glad that everything has wrapped up on such a high note, but if that reveal comes in a few years time that Toy Story 5 will be coming to our screens, I’ll be fine with it. Because Pixar have once again proven that they should be trusted when it comes to these films, they have hit this out of the park and I can’t wait to see it again and again. Toy Story 4 is undoubtedly a contender for my personal “Film of the Year”, and I for one, am so glad it exists.

Now, stop reading and get to your cinema, and watch this amazing film.

Until the next time!

I give Toy Story 4 a 9.5/10. 

 

 

 

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