Moving on from Toy Story 3, Woody (Tom Hanks) and the characters have now become the toys of Andy’s daughter Bonnie (Madeline McGraw).
Returning home from her first day at school, Bonnie brings back a new addition in the shape of “Forky” (Tony Hale), a plastic piece of cutlery made with pipe cleaners. However, as the other toys try to help Forky adjust to his new life as a toy, Forky is determined to reclaim his old life as a fork, no matter what the cost…
… won’t need all the king’s soldiers and all the king’s men to piece your affections back together again.
Having previously covered the issues of abandonment and favouritism, the prospect of another Toy Story seemed an unnecessary addition to a perfect trilogy. Closing on the discernibly darker yet affecting ‘Toy Story 3’, the book seemed to be closed. However, that was then and this is now and from the very first of notes of Randy Newman’s score for ‘Toy Story 4’, it’s clear the gang’s all back, albeit with a different perspective / question – what exactly makes a toy a ‘toy’? Is it aspirational stimuli or simply a status that can be conferred to any object? …and it’s at this point, you can breathe out.
Despite all the concerns about selling out, ‘Toy Story 4’ won’t need all the king’s soldiers and all the king’s men to piece your affections back together again. The franchise is not broken and all that care and logical underpinning that went into the first three movies, is still very much in evidence.
By adhering to the series’s immutable law that toys should cushion a child’s emotional growth, ‘Toy Story 4’ again stands by the series’s “Asimovian” principle. However like any good fairytale, each chapter deserves a suitable threat to impart its lesson, and it’s in respect that chapter 4 comes dangerously close to nibbling on its own gingerbread foundations.
Instead of a single threat, Toy Story 4 goes for two – one graphic in the shape of Gabby Gabby (played by Christina Hendricks) and one more internalised as the change within Woody (played by Tom Hanks). However in attempting two stories within one movie, the inevitable blip in pace is mercifully a short one. with the introduction of a pitch-perfect piece of casting in the second act, ‘Toy Story 4’ puts quickly puts itself back on track with some high entertainment.
Neither surpassing, nor eclipsing ‘Toy Story 3’, ‘Toy Story 4’ is still a quality piece of filmmaking whose improved visuals will have you marvelling at the screen. Made with the same love and care you have come to expect you definitely be entertained. However that larger question of whether there was legitimate life beyond ’Toy Story 3’ is one that will have to be answered in later sequels.
-To infinity and beyond? Let’s see.