TL;DR – A fitting end to a series that I have loved
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
I am not sure if I have ever walked into a cinema with as much trepidation as I did when seeing Toy Story 4. I have mentioned in the past how much I adored the conclusion to the trilogy in Toy Story 3, indeed it is one of my favourite animated films of all time. Given they had wrapped everything up so neatly in 3 I was wondering what was going to be the point? Was this just a cheap cash grab, was this going to be a victory lap or was this just an epilogue? Well, it ended up being a combination of the last two and thankfully not the first.
So to set the scene, it has been a little while since Toy Story 3 and Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang are getting settled in their new home with Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw). It has been a difficult transition for Woody because he is no longer the leader of the group of toys anymore. Well, Woody needs to be helping so he sneaks into Bonnie’s first day of school and to comfort her he sneaks her some crafting supplies. All good, Bonnie is happy and Woody was not caught, so no problems. Okay, so there is one small hitch because Bonnie created a new friend Forky (Tony Hale) and he just came alive and he is about to go AWOL during their family vacation.
Story 4 is able to avoid feeling like a cash grab by focusing its narrative on
mostly one character, in this case, Woody and have it be about giving him some
closure. Woody has always been about putting others before himself, protecting
the other toys from being lost/thrown out/forgotten, but also helping out his
kid, first Andy (John Morris) and now Bonnie. However, at no point had anyone
really asked him what his happy ending is, does he even have one. All of this
is put in context when one day he stumbles across Bo (Annie Potts) and her
sheep Billy, Goat, and Gruff (Emily Davis) his long lost love. This is a film
that is all about finding your priorities in life, even when you have multiple
possibilities. Once again showing that Pixar is able to take what is a more
mature subject and position it in a way that their younger audience can
While the focus of the film is Woody, it is still an ensemble film and just about everyone who has been in the films up to this point gets a moment even if that is through archival recordings in the case of Mr Potato Head. The standout in this film has to be Bo, who has gone rogue and created a network of lost toys. She is 100% badass, but also a deeply compelling character who has made the best out of her disappointing past. There is also what might be the most compelling villain in the series so far in Gaby Gaby (Christina Hendricks) who is trying to find her purpose in life and feels that it is only her failed voice box that is holding her back. The ventriloquist doll henchmen are also a darker turn that the series has gone to with this kind of thing. Then, of course, there is Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom and I am completely here for his Renaissance this year.
the film connected with me is in the emotional moments that get you right in
the heart and yes before you ask I was in tears by the end. The dynamic that
shows this the best is between Woody and Forky, where Woody teaches Forky what
it means to be a toy and that he is not rubbish. Also Forky and Bo teach Woody
that he does not have it as altogether as he thinks he does. Of course, this
whole sub-plot answers so many more questions than it answers about how the
toys are sentient, but it is best not to think too hard about that. There are
points in this film where once they cross that line there is no going back and
for a kids film that was a real risk and I am glad that they took it. It is
also doesn’t need to be said but all the technical side of the film was at
Pixar’s usual high standards. With clear animation, superb musical score, and
some gorgeous lighting.
In the end, do we recommend Toy Story 4? Absolutely. It had a strong story, wonderful characters both old and new, and showed that they still knew how to make a mature and emotional follow up to 3. Just maybe bring some tissues for the tears that will come.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
Have you watched Toy Story 4?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Toy Story 4
Directed by – Josh Cooley
Story by – John Lasseter, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Josh Cooley, Valerie LaPointe, Martin Hynes, Stephany Folsom & Andrew Stanton
Screenplay by – Stephany Folsom & Andrew Stanton
Music by – Randy Newman
Cinematography by – Jean-Claude Kalache & Patrick Lin
Edited by – Axel Geddes
Production/Distribution Companies – Walt Disney Pictures & Pixar Animation Studios
Starring – Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal, Emily Davis, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, June Squibb, Carl Weathers, Lila Sage Bromley, Don Rickles, Jeff Garlin, Maliah Bargas-Good, Jack McGraw, Juliana Hansen, Estelle Harris, Laurie Metcalf, Steve Purcell, Mel Brooks, Alan Oppenheimer, Carol Burnett, Betty White, Carl Reiner, Bill Hader, Patricia Arquette, Timothy Dalton, Flea, Melissa Villaseñor, Jeff Pidgeon & John Morris.
Rating – Australia: G; Canada: G; Germany: 0; New Zealand: G; United Kingdom: U; United States: G