Toy Story 4 | Kilburnlad | Film | Reviews

Toy Story 4


Toy Story 4

When a film spawns multiple sequels there is always the fear that the magic of the original will be lost. The classic example is probably The Matrix, but the Star Wars prequels also came in for a lot of criticism. But there are no such worries here, since Toy Story 4 not only continues the story, but does so with the style and panache we've all become accustomed to. It starts by revisiting the past, which worried some commentators, but this was necessary to enable anybody who hadn't seen the earlier films (are there such people) to become acquainted with certain characters, most importantly the little girl Bonnie, who inherited the toys from Andy, and Bo Peep, who was sold and so separated from Woody.

Well, Bo is back, and this time as a principal character. We also pick up some new characters. Ducky and Bunny, soft toy fairground prizes, who add to the fun immensely. Duke Caboom, a toy motorcycle stunt man, ably voiced by Keanu Reeves. And Gabby Gabby, a doll, voiced by Christina Hendricks, who's been overlooked by children because she has a broken voice box, and is consequently not very nice. With her evil-looking group of ventriloquist dummies she has her eye on Woody's voice box. And last, but by no means least, we have Forky, a toy fashioned by Bonnie at her first day of kindergarten from the contents of a trash can. The problem is that Forky thinks he's trash, and a major part of the plot revolves around Woody trying to convince him that he isn't, all of course in his perceived role as Bonnie's protector. Woody is nothing if not immensely loyal. It's all very sweet.

The one big difference about this last Toy Story film is that it's all about the toys. Of course we have a central story involving Bonnie, but that's really just something on which to hang some quite emotional storylines involving the toys. Is Woody no longer Bonnie's favourite. In fact does he matter at all in the world of a little girl? Bonnie's doll, Dolly, appears to have taken charge of things.

When the family take a road trip the wayward Forky proves to be quite a problem for Woody, and at one point they become separated from the family, during which time there is some quite profound dialogue between the wooden toy and the fork. Don't you just love Pixar!

Everything eventually comes together in Grand Basin, a town with a fair ground and an antique shop. The former brings Ducky and Bunny into the story, while the latter holds quite a surprise for Woody, as well as some danger. Meanwhile, Forky carries on in his insouciant way, very much in the style of Baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. Bo is now a lost toy and living a very un-Bo Peepish existence, quite a rebel in fact. Duke Caboon is an acquaintance of hers, who will play a reluctant role in the events that unfold.

This is a film that involves a lot of fun while exploring some very human emotions. Like all good films in this genre it works on different levels for different age groups. Children will enjoy the living toys, as do we, but for us there are other emotions in play that many will relate to. It's sad that this is the last instalment, but the writers have done a superb job of bringing things to an end in a thoughtful and far from predictable way. Although we could, perhaps, have guessed that Knifey would appear on the scene. There's a partner for everybody in the Toy Story world.

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