Toy Story 4 – Movie Review – The final goodbye.

Most people thought the Toy Story franchise was over after the perfect conclusion of the third film. Well Disney & Pixar had other plans, so here we have Toy Story 4, a film that has left many people questioning the reason for it’s existence.

This instalment follows Woody and the gang, as they try to find one of their owners new toys named Forky, after he goes missing during a family road trip.

So I’m going to get the obvious things you already know out of the way first. The animation is gorgeous, I mean when has a Pixar film never looked wonderful. The level of detail is really impressive. The environments look photo realistic and the lighting is top notch as well. One consistently great aspect of this franchise has been the musical score, and once again that shines here. It’s the type of score that blends nicely into the film without feeling overbearing. It simply works it’s magic in a manner that is not distracting.

The story is well constructed and after a bumpy first ten minutes, it starts to hit it’s stride. Once it does it becomes throughly enjoyable, but it did lose a little momentum during the third act which I felt was a little drawn out. The narrative mostly focuses on the new characters which is rather refreshing, although it does mean Jessie and company (Even Buzz to some degree) take a back seat, in order for the newer characters to be at the forefront. Luckily those characters are all likeable, and they contributed to making the film feel a little more unique to the previous three. The two returning characters that get the most attention are Woody and Bo Peep. Their relationship is serviced far more than it has in the past, and Bo Peep has changed so much she almost feels like an entirely new character. She’s far more independent and adventurous this time round.

The voice work is terrific all round, I don’t need to tell you how great Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were, because you already know. Two very welcome additions to the cast are Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who voice two plush toys up for grabs in a carnival booth. They bring some much needed humour to the film, including one standout scene of comedy that had me laughing out loud. Forky is a character who could quite easily have been very annoying, but he was actually quite loveable and funny. There isn’t really a villain in this story, but the character that comes closest to taking up that antagonistic role is called Gabby Gabby, and she is voiced by Christina Hendricks who did a great job. Her sidekicks are a bunch of ventriloquist dolls, and they were one of my favourite aspects of the film due to how creepy they were. Their inclusion will certainly frighten some children.

Unfortunately despite the ending being rather sweet, I found it to be predictable which prevented it from being the emotional gut punch that Toy Story 3’s climax was. The third film definitely has a more emotionally resonant ending when compared to this one, but the ending itself was still good nonetheless.

I must admit Toy Story 4 is much better than I expected. The cast of new characters help it avoid feeling like a complete retread of the previous films. Whilst the ending is predicable, it still works as a satisfying way to close out the franchise. I think this is our final goodbye to these characters.

★ ★ ★ ★

(4 Stars out of 5)

T. Graham.

Toy Story 4 – Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Christina Hendricks, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.

Directed by Josh Cooley.

Now showing in cinemas.

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