Friday 5 July 2019

Film Review: Toy Story 4

The toys are back in town – Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the gang are back for one last adventure in Toy Story 4

At the end of Toy Story 3, college-bound teen Andy gifted his beloved toys – including Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and Jessie (Joan Cusack) – to affectionate, appreciative preschooler Bonnie. It was a sweet, sentimental passing of the torch that would have drawn a tear from even the stoniest of cynics. Few trilogies end on such a resounding high note, and after three films and 14 years, the Toy Story tale felt like it had come to an end.

Which is why news of a fourth Toy Story film was met with such apprehension – surely Pixar couldn't go one better than before? Yeah, well guess what – we were right. Toy Story 4 is easily the weakest of the four, even if that still makes it a pretty darn good family film.

The film is set not long before Bonnie is due to start kindergarten. A daunting experience for any child, a lonely Bonnie tries to circumvent her nerves by building a little buddy of her own on the first day of school from a plastic fork, some pipe-cleaners and some googly eyes.

The end product of Bonnie's wayward imagination is Forky, a jittery wreck who only thinks of himself as trash. Woody, recognising that Forky means a lot to Bonnie in spite of his weirdness, is doing his utmost to protect Forky from ending up in the bin – but a family road trip throws a spork in the works.

There's a lot to love about Toy Story 4; the animation is inconceivably detailed for starters, and when stacked side by side with the first film, it's amazing how far Pixar has come in just over 20 years. The story – which is more of a character study of Woody than it is an ensemble piece – has an important core message as well. Hanks does a wonderful job, once again, of bringing Woody's neurotic insecurities to life through his excellent voice performance. He just becomes that character – they're one and the same.

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele lend their voices to Ducky and Bunny respectively, two cuddly toys who tag along for the ride. This won't come as a surprise to anyone who has ever seen an episode of Key and Peele, but they're easily the funniest part.

Most of my quibbles aren't a failing on the film's part; purely a selfish disappointment at what the film focuses on. My favourite character has always been Buzz, so to see him sidelined as little more than comic relief was a shame.

Jessie, Bullseye, Hamm, Mr Potato Head – the OG crowd who've been here since the beginning are little more than background characters for most of the time, with a returning Bo Peep and newcomers like Forky and villain Gabby Gabby taking centre stage. Like I said – selfish complaints about my faves not getting the love they deserve (hashtag not enough Bullseye, hashtag bring back Zurg).

The Verdict: 7.5/10

Toy Story 4 provides a sweet, touching final act – but it doesn't hit as hard as the third film. It's more of an epilogue to the original films; a celebratory victory lap that feels like it's coasting along rather than reaching for that next gear.

Toy Story 4 is in cinemas across Australia now.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...