Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts
Director: Josh Cooley
Running Time: 100 mins
Toy Story 4 is an American film and the fourth in the Toy Story franchise. After being given to Bonnie by Andy, Woody and the gang are as comfortable as ever at home, but the arrival of a new toy throws their lives into a frenzy.
It sounds like a cliché, but the Toy Story trilogy is right up there as one of the best in film history, with each and every film providing delightful, moving and immensely entertaining action in their own way. So, to have a fourth film come out of nowhere seemed the greatest threat to the franchise’s status as one of the greats.
However, I am delighted to report that Toy Story 4 isn’t just a good film, it’s arguably one of the best of the whole series, bringing a combination of fresh ideas and old-time nostalgia together in truly wonderful fashion. Whether you’ve been close to Toy Story since 1995 or haven’t seen any of the films before, Toy Story 4 is the most accessible and possibly most entertaining watch of them all.
Now, there is a lot for Pixar to juggle in this film, trying to craft a satisfying re-opening of a series we all thought came to a perfect end with Toy Story 3, impressing older fans of the franchise with nostalgia and engrossing drama, and still making young kids fall in love with the series with fun humour, bright visuals and an imaginative story.
And do they pull it all off? Well, this is Pixar we’re talking about, and not only do they bless Toy Story 4 with their world-renowned, gorgeous animation throughout, the film is filled to the brim with emotion, laughs and delightful blockbuster entertainment, and I found myself laughing and weeping on a regular basis right the way through.
So if you want your classic moving emotion from Pixar, Toy Story 4 has it all, combining the series’ incredible capacity for heart-rending drama about forgotten toys as shown in Toy Story 2 and 3 with genuinely uplifting, warm-hearted emotion that will make you tear up with joy.
And on top of that, the film is absolutely hilarious from beginning to end. As much as I’ve loved all of the Toy Story movies, I have to say that this one is by far and away the funniest, with quick-paced, inventive and witty comedy mixed in with delightfully simple, silly humour, having me in stitches on a number of occasions, and only adding more to the film’s truly wonderful atmosphere as a whole.
It’s clear, then, that this film has pretty much everything you could want from Pixar, but the one thing that really had me worried going in was how the story was going to pan out. From the synopsis and trailers, the arrival of Forky into the lives of the toys and the aftermath seems a whole lot like Buzz Lightyear’s arrival back in the original Toy Story, which made me fear that the film would find itself in a kind of The Force Awakens/A New Hope situation.
However, this film couldn’t be further from being a rehash of the original movie. As similar as it all may seem, Toy Story 4 opens up the world you already know to so many new ideas, taking the best bits from the past three movies and adding imaginative, inventive and funny characters and scenarios, making the film feel wonderfully familiar and somehow entirely fresh at the same time, an incredible achievement for the fourth film in the franchise.
Now, this movie may not have the non-stop thrills or devastating emotion of Pixar’s finest works, and there are a few moments in the middle portion where the story can drag just a little, but there’s no denying just how immensely entertaining, moving and delightful a film Toy Story 4 really is, with gorgeous animation, brilliant voice performances across the board, and a combination of fresh and familiar ideas throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.2 overall.