Director – Josh Cooley | Cast – Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale
Brought to our screens and lead by director Josh Cooley (Inside Out (2015), Up (2009) and, Ratatoullie (2007)), the Disney Pixar animation department and a gleaming cast of talented voice actors. This movie was set to break records from the moment it was announced. It has had the largest opening weekend intake out of the four Toy Story movies and is currently sitting with a worldwide gross of $650M. Despite this, there was always going to be one upset. This my friends will be the last Toy Story movie ever made.
Woody, Buzz and co. are back in the fourth and final instalment in the Pixar franchise. The toy crew’s new kid Bonnie, makes a new friend whilst at pre-school – Forky. Woody must ensure nothing happens to Forky on a family road trip. Meanwhile, Forky doesn’t believe he is a toy but, ‘trash’ so he attempts to escape in any way he can. We see an array of new characters including; Gabby Gabby, Ducky and Bunny, Duke Caboom and The Bensons as well as returning favourites.
The film starts where 3 left off. Woody, Buzz, Jessie, The Potato Heads, Rex, Hamm and Slinky Dog all live with Bonnie now (probably the most adorable little girl ever). The first thing I picked up on was just how much effort went into creating Forky, the newest addition to the TS family. It is truly an amazingly ingenious concept that sparks originality and will play subliminally on the minds of children all around the world. Forky’s simple personality and character were created without using technology or parlour tricks (in terms of the Toy) that brings everything back to basics.
There were references in the movie that related to horror films of old, The Shining in particular, which I thought was pretty spectacular for a kids animation. The use of Gabby Gabby as the abhorrent Annabelle-like doll and the creepy-looking ventriloquist dummies gave the movie an extra special chaotic twist. The use of modern themes and references such as; the law of attraction and trusting your “inner voice” – this was comedic but poignant as Buzz was used to portray these themes– was particularly clever and ended up playing a huge part in the whole film.
At the very heart of this movie, we have Woody attempting to find his place with Bonnie and his new toy compadres. However, Woody appears emotionally distressed from the loss of Andy and now feels responsible for Forky and Bonnie. Through this new adventure, he is reunited with an old friend and understands that toys have a choice in life. Here they are presented with a new idea: consciousness.
I feel this film works in terms of its end goal and it is also very funny which I wasn’t expecting. However, that is not to say that there weren’t some little issues along the way. I felt that this one was notably quicker than its predecessors and at times it felt like scenes were rushed and not as ‘meaty’ as the others. Compared with the last three, this chapter seems a little underrated (I don’t mean that in a negative way in the slightest) in terms of plot creativity. It’s predictable. That being said, it provides enough transitional information without overdoing it and entertains from the start.
Overall, there is a particularly strong message weaved through the entire story. One that I am sure most people can accept. That is, of the importance of toys and the massive impact they can have on us not only as children but as adults reminiscing about childhood and reflecting on our lives.
This movie marks a sentimental ending for the franchise as I am sure most of you will agree. If not anything other than nostalgic reasons, you need to see this film. It is well-rounded and suitable for everyone, it will make you laugh (maybe a little too much), excited, satisfied and ensure your eyes are filled with glee. A movie that completes a set of creative colourful flicks that you can re-watch time again, pass down the generations and cherish forever.