Toy Story 4 (U)

Our favourite toys are back for one last epic adventure. So, was it worth the wait?

Nine years ago, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the gang let Andy go when they went to live with Bonnie. Flash forward to present day and Woody is struggling to cope with being the toy left behind in Bonnie’s toybox. He’s no longer top dog and as much as he tries to ignore the fact, it bothers him.

So, when Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) creates a new toy “Forky” from some trash, he seizes the opportunity to teach the fork-come-to-life how to be a toy. Can he stop Forky (Tony Hale) from always diving into the nearest wastebasket and embrace his new-found role?

Soon enough Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang head off on a road trip with Bonnie and new toy Forky.

What starts off as a fun adventure soon turns into a recon mission when Forky makes a run for it. Determined not to leave a toy behind Woody sets off on a mission to retrieve Bonnie’s new favourite toy. Little does he know that everything is just about to change yet again.

A chance encounter with Bo Peep (Annie Potts) is a welcome reunion for Woody but somewhat distracts him from the job at hand. Bo is a “lost toy” living life to its fullest, playing with new children every day. Her and Woody are worlds apart with what it means to be a toy. But over time our beloved Sheriff comes to appreciate that this bohemian way of living works for Bo.

Temporarily side-tracked Woody soon returns to the rescue mission at hand with Bo and new friends like Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) by his side.

Our hero soon finds himself in an antique shop ruled by Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), an immaculate doll hellbent on swapping her broken voicebox for Woody’s working one. With her army of ventriloquist’s dummies Gabby will stop at nothing to get what she wants even it means pulling the stuffing out of Woody.

Woody refuses to let Bonnie down. He promises to get Forky back no matter what it takes. With Buzz and the others working hard to get Bonnie and her parents to the rendezvous point, can they get the gang back together before it’s too late?

I won’t spoil the ending, but know this. Things won’t ever be the same again.

Here’s my verdict. The animation is incredible, the jokes amusing and the story sweet. However, some of the characters like the ventriloquist dummys and Gabby Gabby are somewhat creepy making the odd the scene a tad scary for younger viewers.

If Forky was the first sign that this wasn’t going to be the same kind of Toy Story movie we’re used to, then Gabby is more definitely the second. This is a movie that’s happy to break the mould, with characters struggling to get to grips with their new place in the world.

The realisation that this was the end of the road, the last Toy Story movie, was too much for the audience, myself included. The closing scenes were met with sniffles and a standing ovation. Toy Story has been part of our lives since 1995. It became almost like a family friend, something to go to for comfort. Toy Story 4 is charming, beautifully written and a fitting tribute to everything that has come before it.

By Ruth Walker

★★★★☆

 

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