The law of diminishing returns means that as a franchise goes on they almost inevitably get worse and a fourth installment is usually the nail in the coffin of irretrievably rubbish. After all who can forget Free Willy 4? Fortunately just about everyone. Perhaps the only franchise that gets more popular is the Fast and Furious films with Part 272 about to start filming. When it comes to trilogy’s few maintain a consistently high standard and even The Godfather faltered slightly with Part 3. Toy Story is the exception attaining a peerless and brilliantly high standard with the franchise seemingly drawing to a close with Andy’s having grown out of his toys and Woody, Buzz et al boxed up and left with a little girl called Bonnie. The End……… except with Toy Story 4 it starts up again with a new adventure with the gang in the care of Bonnie who stores them in a cupboard selecting who to play with and Woody finding himself frequently left in the cupboard.
Toy Story 4, like its predecessors, brings in new characters and here it is Forky created by Bonnie in her fist day at nursery school cobbled together from bits of downmarket tat and junk a bit like Amanda Holden’s CV. Forky is Bonnie’s new favourite toy she takes it everywhere including the road trip that she goes on with her family. Yet Forky, much like Amanda Holden, knows that his place is in the trash bin and determines to find his home there only to be constantly dragged out by Woody. So it’s only when they Woody, Buzz, Forky et al go on the road trip that Forky hurls himself out of the window only for Woody to follow after him knowing how much the new toy means to Bonnie.
As every parent knows young kids are usually more enamoured by the wrapping of a present than the present itself and it might be hard for audiences to identify with a self made toy that is borderline suicidal wanting the bin rather than a bed. But Forky here voiced by Tony Hale is great fun and Toy Story 4 sidelines Buzz for Forky and what follows introduces a number of new characters including Duke Kaboom (Keanu Reeves), Ducky & Bunny and a villainous 1950’s doll Gabby Gabby and a host of eerie ventriloquist dolls out to get Woody’s voicebox for Gabby which makes up the films secondary plot.
The Toy Story franchise is very much the jewel in the crown of the Pixar universe and the bar has been set incredibly high by the previous 3 films and Toy Story 4 to a certain degree follows the template of the previous films. Like all films with burgeoning cast lists it’s a difficult balancing act to let everyone have a fair share of the action and it’s perhaps only Avengers Endgame which has managed best to get the balance right. So fans of the original toys will find many of them sidelined most notably Buzz Lightyear or even reduced to just a couple of lines in order to make way for the new characters and the return of Bo Peep. But this is no bad thing as all are entertaining and very funny in their own way with killer one liners which has always been the signature of the best of Pixars’ films and as ever the animation is excuisite with Toy Story 4 having moments that might prompt tears (Bonnie’s first day at school) to nightmarish visions (Benson the ventriloquist doll lumbering after Woody & co).
Like its predecessors Toy Story 4 does touch on truism’s (kids do get bored with their toys as they get older) yet here, after twenty years, the toys don’t seem to show any signs of damage or wear and tear. …..and though there are moments that strive to get the tears rolling down the face it doesn’t quite manage it despite an ending that would see a Toy Story 5 heading in a slightly different direction. Nonetheless the greatest ever trilogy could arguably now be the greatest ever quadrilogy and frankly we want Toy Story 5
Here’s the Toy Story 4 trailer……
And here’s our star reporter at the Toy Story 4 premiere…….
Here’s our film about the story behind Toy Story……..