TOY STORY 4 – Pixar Does it Again

I cannot believe I was away and missed this screening – so sad! Pixar is love and life and we all need more of it in our lives. Kernel Blake was our animating hero for this one, he made it along and balled his eyes out like a true Pixar fan haha.

TOY STORY 4 released today, 19th June in Australia. It is released from the Empire, aka Disney Pixar, and is rated G. It runs for exactly 100min and stay around for a post-credits scene.

Enjoy Blake’s review and get thee to a cinema……all the best…….Salty.

BY BLAKE CURRALL

Back in 1995, a small animation studio named Pixar released their first feature, the ground-breaking TOY STORY. The film received overwhelming critical acclaim, incredible commercial success and ushered in a new age of animated films. Nearly a quarter of a century later, with two more TOY STORY films and billions of dollars of box office money in the bank, Pixar are back with more adventures with your favourite toy box collection, in TOY STORY 4. Does this series still have that same Buzz…?

Toy Story 4 Buzz Lightyear image
Buzz Lightyear

THE TOY STORY:

It’s been 9 years since we last saw Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the TOY STORY gang passed on from their long-time owner, Andy to their adorable home with new kid, Bonnie. As is standard for a Pixar film, the opening ten minutes or so of TOY STORY 4 will have you reaching for the Kleenex with an emotional sucker punch, as we are reacquainted with the cast of toy characters in a tear-jerking prologue.

A few years after these events, Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) is reluctantly on her way to her first day of kindergarten. Scared of her new life ahead, the toys try to formulate a plan to help her through this tough time. Woody, overlooked constantly at play time in favour of other toys, takes it upon himself to support Bonnie on her first day at kindy.

With a little help from Woody, Bonnie gets through the day by creating her own toy and making a new best friend, Forkie, a spork with googly eyes and pipe cleaner arms that immediately brings the laughs with his askew view of his own existence. To celebrate Bonnie’s successful first day of school, her folks decide to take a quick road trip, with all your old favourites and Forkie along for the ride.

Toy Story 4 - The Gang image
The Gang We Love So Dearly

The main focus of the TOY STORY 4…err….story, is Woody coming to terms with the fact that he may no longer be needed as a toy and what that means for his purpose in life. While Forkie is the focus of Bonnie’s time, Woody takes it upon himself to make sure Forkie is always there for Bonnie and when Forkie goes missing, its up to Woody and the team to get him back, no matter what.

TOY STORY 4 does follow a familiar path to the previous entries in the series, with a toy being lost and needing rescue but like the other films, those story lines are only there to help with the characters and their interactions. But that’s no bad thing as Pixar have an incredible ability to make you laugh, cry and feel for these characters that most live action films fail to do.

The new characters introduced into TOY STORY 4 all have some incredible moments to shine, with plenty of humour, some times of genuine creepiness and borderline horror and always plenty of heart. This is probably a good thing, as the newer characters do get a fair share of the screen time, with a majority of the beloved characters from the previous three films left in the background for most of the running time.

Toy Story 4 Woodie, Bo Peep and Duke Caboom
Woodie, Bo Peep and Duke Caboom

THE NEW TOYS:

As mentioned, it’s the new characters in TOY STORY 4 that steal the limelight. Forkie (Tony Hale, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) plays the simpleton new toy with an unhealthy addiction to trash brilliantly, while Gabby (Christina Hendricks, MAD MEN) brings the creep as the film’s main antagonist.

With a majority of the film set at a local carnival, comedy duo Key & Peele, US director Jordan Peele & Keegan-Michael Key, play Ducky & Bunny, stuffed animals literally joined at the hip that bring some of the funniest moments to TOY STORY 4. One scene in particular, albeit brief, is better than the majority of GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS.

But the real star of TOY STORY 4 and proof that 2019 is the year of Keanu, is Canadian daredevil Duke Caboom, voice brilliantly by Reeves. Caboom always provides a hilarious highlight at the very end of the credits that got a unanimous cheer form the audience in our screening, well worth sticking around for.

The returning characters, outside of Woody and Buzz don’t get a huge amount to do, but Hanks as the disparate cowboy brings so much raw emotion to his role that you can’t help but feel for him in his quest for purpose. Woody is and has always been the leader and the heart and soul of the TOY STORY series and he never fails to deliver. A special mention, also, for the returning Bo Peep who has come back as a sort of Rey-like character from Star Wars who is there to kick ass and take names.

Director Josh Cooley, writer of Pixar’s INSIDE OUT, has delivered a worthy successor to the TOY STORY franchise, with Pixar’s animators, once again, lifting the bar for an animated film with truly jaw dropping visuals. The photo-real weather effects, textures of the toys and lighting in TOY STORY 4 are absolutely astonishing and have come a long way since those mid 90s original films.

Toy Story 4 Woodie, Buzz, Ducky and Bunny
Toy Story 4 Woodie, Buzz, Ducky and Bunny

CLOSING THE TOY BOX:

Even though TOY STORY 3 could’ve been the final instalment of the series with the way it wrapped up, it did leave the door open for further adventures with these toys. TOY STORY 4 however does seem to finish a little more conclusively, seemingly wrapping up this series for good. Testament to the continued quality of these films though, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see further adventures from at least some of these characters.

TOY STORY 4 is yet another brilliant achievement from the Pixar team, with the high-quality storytelling and cutting-edge animation that you’ve come to expect over the past 24 years. It seems apt that this film is mainly set around a carnival, as you will most definitely be on an emotional rollercoaster for its runtime. If you don’t get dust in your eye or sit near someone cutting onions while watching, you’re a husk of a human.

YOUR REVIEWER:

Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life. Like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. He can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.