Toy Story 4

****1/2

Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

Toy Story 4
"The simple search and rescue plot is more than adequate an adventure in which to indulge the antics of our original toys, and allows space to throw in a few choice newcomers." | Photo: Courtesy of EIFF

It’s been nine years since Toy Story 3 left the screens, but as in Narnia, time moves differently in Toy Story World and only a year or so has passed.

We find our familiar toy collective looking after their current human charge, Bonnie, as she attends a kindergarten orientation - traumatic for all concerned. Bonnie makes it through the day by constructing a small figure from some classroom junk, a ‘spork’, a pipe-cleaner, a lolly-stick and some googly eyes.

Copy picture

Much to cowboy Woody’s surprise, the toy Frankensteins to life as 'Forky', replete with low self-esteem and suicidal tendencies.

Bonnie’s parents then complicate things by taking off on vacation with the toys in tow.

Along the way they lose Forky, Woody meets an old friend and an antique store doll has designs on Woody’s inner workings.

The simple search and rescue plot is more than adequate an adventure in which to indulge the antics of our original toys, and allows space to throw in a few choice newcomers. Among the latter is 'Duke Caboom', a stunt motorcyclist toy sounding like someone doing a bad impersonation of Keanu Reeves* and double act Ducky and Bunny, voiced amusingly by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.

It's preceded by trailers for Arctic Dogs, Trolls 2, an animated Addams Family and Frozen 2, presumably to remind you that Pixar still completely outclasses the competition. Then tragedy, no Pixar short film, swiz.

A rainstorm opening just serves to prove that Pixar, if they wanted to do photo real, could, but they had me at ‘light reflected off a wooden door frame’ and really didn’t need to show off. One is awed but quickly forgets the artistry involved once the characters start talking.

The female characters are to the fore as is now the Hollywood norm, although it is odd to me that you are kind of made to notice that they are trying rather than making that a normal everyday occurrence, which tells me we still have a way to go on cartoon equality at any rate.

For sharp eyed fans, the antique store setting is chock full o’ Pixar Easter eggs. The first part of the credit roll contains three short clips furthering the story and a final gag awaits those who sit through the complete roster.

The cluster of 3-9-year-olds that I dragged to the movie were all quiet, attentive and docile for 100 minutes and, I hope, soaked up the on-screen Dolby Atmos enhanced empathy and bonhomie. Instead of buying the World a coke, I’d rather give them a Toy Story any day of the week.

Addendum

While toiling round Walmart I espied a slickly manufactured Forky toy which tells me the soul-less Disney marketing department completely missed the point of the whole show.

*Whoa, it is Keanu Reeves!

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2019
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Toy Story 4 packshot
The gang go on a road trip with a new toy named Forky.

Director: Josh Cooley

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom, Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Martin Hynes, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, Josh Cooley, Stephany Folsom

Starring: Voiced By, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Tom Hanks, Patricia Arquette, Jordan Peele, Jay Hernandez, Annie Potts, Kristen Schaal, Timothy Dalton, Wallace Shawn, Laurie Metcalf, Joan Cusack, Tim Allen, Keegan-Michael Key, Tony Hale

Year: 2019

Runtime: 89 minutes

Country: US

Festivals:

EIFF 2019

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