Toy Story 4

 

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Woody the pullstring cowboy finds his loyalty truly tested in yet another completely engaging, awe-inspiring and unpredictable episode of the Toy Story franchise.

   
Toy Story 4

Bo Peep to the rescue.

 

Nobody pulls your strings like Woody. Having faced off the competition from all kinds of new high-tech toys, he remains an old favourite, both in the affections of his young owners and of audiences still flocking to the Toy Story cartoons. Furthermore, he has stayed steadfastly loyal to Bonnie, the pre-school toddler whose imagination is still more important to her than any more prescriptive form of entertainment. Then, when she’s carted off to ‘Orientation Day’ at kindergarten, Woody sneaks into her backpack and retrieves some parts from a trash can to help her create a toy of her own. And so with the use of a spork, a couple of pipe cleaners, a pair of googly eyes and some blue tack, she fashions a plaything that she calls ‘Forky’. And because she dotes on Forky, he is brought to life, although he would rather remain in the trash. But with some gentle tuition from Woody, Forky learns to accept his raison d'être, but not before he escapes, leading to an epic, multi-tiered adventure involving Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the return of Bo Beep, now a feisty renegade living off the land.

 

The original Toy Story (1995), the very first computer-animated feature, was directed by John Lasseter, scripted by none other than Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, and executive-produced by Steve Jobs. It was a hard act to follow. Nonetheless, Pixar has managed to maintain the original’s high standard and has not let the side down with this adventurous, moving, funny, surprising, daring and emotionally complex addition to the canon. Oh, and the animation is awesome. Yet while the film has been awarded a U certificate for “very mild violence” and “scary scenes”, its emotional impact is pretty potent, not least with the introduction of a quartet of unnerving ventriloquist dummies, foreshadowing the menace of this week’s Child’s Play and the forthcoming Annabelle Comes Home (July 10). One must also commend the transformation of Bo Peep into a take-charge, kick-ass heroine, leading where Woody is afeared to go. Moreover, her one-piece flock of sheep – Billy, Goat and Gruff – certainly give Shaun a run for his money.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of  Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Emily Davis, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, June Squibb, Carl Weathers, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Timothy Dalton, Laurie Metcalf, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Betty White, Carl Reiner, Alan Oppenheimer, Patricia Arquette, Bill Hader, Flea, Melissa Villaseñor.

 

Dir Josh Cooley, Pro Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen, Screenplay Stephany Folsom and Andrew Stanton, from a story by John Lasseter, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Josh Cooley, Valerie LaPointe, Martin Hynes, Stephany Folsom and Andrew Stanton, Ph Patrick Lin and Jean-Claude Kalache, Pro Des Bob Pauley, Ed Axel Geddes, Music Randy Newman.

 

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios-Walt Disney.

99 mins. USA. 2019. Rel: 21 June 2019. Cert. U.