To many, myself included, Toy Story 3 was a beautiful and fitting conclusion to the franchise so when a fourth film was announced there was apprehension. Did Pixar actually another story to tell, or was this just an attempt to cash in following the massive financial success of their other long awaited sequels?
Thankfully Pixar did what Pixar do best. Tell brilliant, and beautiful stories. I think more than any other Toy Story film Toy Story 4 feels fully like Woody’s story, about him coming to terms with the fact that he may not have all the same roles he used to when he was Andy’s favourite toy, and because of that he comes to question whether it is time to move on. Alongside him is all the returning toys from Toy Story 3, and whilst Buzz’s role isn’t as great as the original three films he still does get some brilliant comic moments, particularly around his ‘inner voice’. The other big returning character is Bo Peep, last properly seen in Toy Story 2, who returns to show Woody that there is an alternative to being a child’s toy.
We do also get some new additions to the cast, with Forky, Gabby Gabby, Duke Caboom, Ducky and Bunny all brilliant new characters. Forky has been a key part of the marketing, and is a toy that Bonnie makes from a plastic spork, he is a little annoying at first, but gets less so once the first act of the film finishes. Gabby Gabby is the antagonist for this film, but she’s a far more relatable character than Stinky Pete or Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear. Duke Caboom, played by Keanu Reeves, and the duo of Ducky and Bunny, voiced by Key and Peele, add a lot of great comedy in the film and with such strong comic actors behind these characters that is no surprise.
It is hard to talk about without spoilers, but I thought that the new story that Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom brought to the franchise was perfect. It is right up there with Toy Story 3 in terms of the strength of it’s themes and the execution of that from director Josh Cooley, remarkably in his feature film debut. They bring all the brilliant and powerful emotions that you would expect from a Toy Story or Pixar film, it had me getting emotional from the beginning, and really delivered with another powerful finale that definitely had a few of the audience members, myself included, in tears.
Any worries that people had about the legacy of Toy Story can be allayed because in Toy Story 4 Pixar have crafted a sequel that truly lives up to the original three films. Once again, as with Toy Story 3, this is a film that would be a perfect capper for the franchise if they choose to have it be one. Once again I hope they do end it here, because Toy Story 4 is everything fans of the franchise could have dreamed and more.