Review: Toy Story 4.
Good Afternoon and welcome to ReservoirBlogs!
Disney has been slacking with originality lately, mostly in the form of endless live action remakes that literally no one asked for. (I am very passionately against this trend.) With that being said, I was fairly apprehensive about whether Toy Story 4 would be up to scratch with the perfect trilogy that came before it. Yes, I said it, perfect. But alas, I had nothing to fear ; Toy Story 4 delivered in every spectacular way! It was a laugh-out-loud, heartbreaking and ultimately wholesome ending for these nostalgic characters. Not to mention, straight up terrifying at times, but I’ll get to that later.
The movie begins in the past, a place and time all too familiar with it’s millennial audience, as we witness a sad but humorous farewell between Woody and Bo-Peep. Outgrown by Molly, Bo is given away to another child, but this moment is later discovered to have been the beginning of a great adventure and important character development for this not-so delicate porcelain doll.
We then fast forward to the present, where the iconic feet signed ‘ANDY’ are now inscribed with the name ‘Bonnie’. In this new environment, the toys must adapt to a rearranged hierarchy of ‘favourite toys’, which of course is a hard pill to swallow for Woody, who was always Andy’s favourite. Struggling with his now lack of purpose in life, Woody dutifully keeps watch over Bonnie's new best friend, her make shift ‘spork’ toy named ‘Forky’. This new character is hilarious and the perfect addition for a now older audience who can see the comedy in his desperation to dive back into the trashcan from where he came. I could honestly see the ‘going back to your ex’ memes coming to life before my very eyes. And I loved it.
Although the Toy Story films have always been the perfect crossover between child like fantasy and adult humour, the 4th addition seems to be mostly aimed at the now adult audience who have grown to love these characters, which was a good move by Disney. With that in mind, I have to discuss the fact that this film creeped me the hell out. With jump scares, Jimmy Carr dolls and musical scores that could have been taken straight from a horror film, Toy Story 4 cleverly creates an eery undertone using horror movie tropes that fly right over the heads of little ones and straight into my twisted nightmares. Okay I’m exaggerating a tad, but this movie definitely felt more dark and bummed out than the first three. Don’t get me wrong though, this film is still absolutely suitable and fun for the whole family.
Although we get a small glimpse at all the original cast of toys, The majority of screen time here is given to Woody, Bo Peep and a small variety of new characters, including Ducky and Bunny, voiced by the hilarious Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele and Canada’s greatest stunt man, Duke Caboom, voiced by the lord and saviour himself, Keanu Reeves. I actually appreciated this because it gave Toy Story 4 a clear and fresh direction. Sometimes you gotta just choose where to put your screen time, ya’ know?
Also, we can’t not talk about the incredible the animation in Toy Story 4, especially when you compare to the first movie, released back in 1995. For the first time in a long time, I found myself really appreciating the visual cinematography of an animated film. One example being a shot from the beginning of this movie where I think the camera panned from Woody’s face down to his shoe as the focus shifted. The attention to detail, from individual hairs on Bonnie’s head to the impact of individual rain droplets in a storm, is superbly effective in absorbing the audience into this world.
Of course, I’ve heard people say that they didn’t want, nor need this movie after the emotional ending to Toy Story 3. However, in a recent interview producer Mark Nielsen explained that fellow producer and writer Andrew Stanton “was quick to say no […] That’s the end of Andy’s story, but these have always been about Woody and there’s more story to tell here.”
Personally, I am delighted that they put their heart and souls into creating a fourth instalment to this still original and ever-relevant franchise. For young adults who find themselves accepting change and leaving childhood friends behind for an adventure out in the world, Toy Story 4 is a comforting and familiar tale told by familiar voices.
Overall, I think Pixar have created a beautifully animated, highly entertaining and emotional film experience, that manages to make every individual in the audience feel like it was made specifically for them.
And that’s the power of movies.
Thanks for reading,