Review: Toy Story 4
If you thought the hand holding scene of Toy Story 3 was emotional, you ain't seen nothing yet.
I was and still am a huge fan of the first Toy Story, the entire film from start to finish is wonderful with great characters, an excellent story arc, great imagination and it never fails to to warm my heart. Watching it today you can’t help but notice that it has aged but this doesn’t deter from how good a film it is. Toy Story 2 was enjoyable for me it never came close to the original and the third? I found it cold, lacking in love and ultimately, left me wondering about the future of any further films. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the third instalment, it had moments I either chuckled at or said ‘awww’, it just didn’t live up to what came before.
You’ll understand then why I went in to Toy Story 4 with the feeling of trepidation, were they going to expand the world I had grown up with or was it going to come crashing down in spectacular fashion.
With the obvious improvement in 3D animation and technology, Toy Story 4 is one of the most beautiful CGI films I have seen to date, I congratulate any film that makes me struggle to decide whether what I am seeing is real or animated. The opening rainfall, the antique shop and core characters themselves are so beautifully created, it’s hard to imagine we were ever happy with the first film (obviously we were because a) back in 1996 this was the pinnacle of 3D animation and b) the storyline drew you in completely). I felt that this improvement not only made it a pleasure to look at but also helped in the overall absorbtion into the film.
The film gives us plenty of story to enjoy and splits itself between three plots – The creation, protection and rescue of Forkie, thwarting Gabby Gabby and the loss and return of Bo Peep. Each of these plots are incredibly strong but wouldn’t stand up on their own; this isn’t a negative but highlights how well the story has been interwoven.
Starting with Forkie.. What an amazing idea! I have plenty of memories as a child, creating toys I would cherish and play with out of craft materials. The idea that being made out of trash means that he wants to go to the nearest bin providing us with continued laughs; the child like mindset and slow dawn of realisation to what he actually is, makes him a lovable character I won’t forget anytime soon.
Bo Peeps character makes a return to the series after being noticably missing from the third instalment. We get a moving moment when Woody faces saying goodbye to her when we see Molly, yup – we go back in time at the start, give Bo up to what we assume is charity of some variety We’re reintroduced to Bo later when by coincidence, Woody and co end up in the same local town where we find her living with various other abandoned / lost toys. She has been incredibly well written for and the strength given to her plays perfectly with the occasionally bumbling Woody. Again, I must highlight the quality of the animation here – absolutely amazing!
This leaves me with Gabby Gabby, our antagonist, a toy broken from day one with one goal – find a compatible voice box so that she can be loved by the antique owners grandaughter. You’d be forgiven for assuming she is going to be evil, especially with the inclusion of ventriloquist dummy side kicks which I can’t help but think will give kids nightmares BUT the plot goes deeper than that and rather than giving us a character to hate we get someone who ultimately redeems herself.
There are plenty of additional characters (won’t somebody please give Combat Carl a high five) all of which fit their given role. Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom was certainly unexpected but yet again, Pixar / Disney play on something every kid has suffered with at some point in their life – the lies of a TV advert.
Obviously the above is a very brief look at the film but without wanting to ruin it for those who haven’t watched it yet, I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to see. What I really want to talk about now is how it held up to the original.
This has been by far my favourite film of 2019 and even made me think hard about the previous films in the franchise, where would I put it when compared to the others? The original film created magic I’ll never forget, Toy Story 4 expands on that and gives us that well needed ending for the characters we’ve grown to love. As good as Toy Story 2 was, it played on a similiar ideas from the first and gave us little new except the introduction to new toys. Toy Story 3 has been crushed completely, a film I struggled to love has been shown how a sequel should be done.
Toy Story (best)
Toy Story 4
Toy Story 2
Toy Story 3 (worst)
As mentioned on Twitter, if The Sequelisers were to take on the challenge of Toy Story 3 then this would be the result.
I’ll leave you with this: If you thought the hand holding scene of Toy Story 3 was emotional, you ain’t seen nothing yet.