There's lots of scope for new characters in Toy Story 4
Lots of scope for new characters in Toy Story 4

TOY STORY 4. Directed by Josh Cooley, with voice cast Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Madeleine McGraw, Keanu Reeves, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele.


Toy Story 4 is finely crafted and gorgeously detailed – everything we have come to expect from this particular Pixar franchise.

The third Toy Story film of 2010 seemed to finish off the storyline of Andy’s toys, so film number four has a big hurdle to overcome. But opening up the toys world creates the opportunity for a poignant storyline. Yes, the whole “toy-who-doesn’t-believe-he-is-a-toy meets toy-gets-lost angle may seem familiar, but that is just the starting point.

The film picks up as little Bonnie (the new owner of Andy’s toys, voiced by Madeleine McGraw) gets ready for kindergarten. Woody (Hanks) does his best to integrate Bonnie’s new favourite toy into the group, but a road trip introduces all sorts of complications.

Journey of self-discovery

Taking the toys out of the bedroom creates scope for lots of new characters, including some super creepy ones, and new ways for the toys to view themselves.

The idea of “be who I am right now” is introduced alongside the possibility that the toys have more than one path to follow when it comes to how they see themselves.

We view this journey of self-discovery through the eyes of Woody who has always viewed himself in relation to “his child” but is now introduced to so many other ways of thinking about himself because of Forky’s (Hale) existential crises about his own purpose.

Toy Story 4 is aimed less at contemporary children than at the Gen X kids who watched the first Toy Story film back in the 90s and now have their own offspring to drag to the movies, as a reminder that you don’t have to get stuck in a rut.

A lot of the jokes in the dialogue are going to go right over the kids’ heads. The voice cast add nuance to their roles and the interactions between toys are lively and funny. The animation is at times close to photorealistic – the little touches like fuzzy dust bunnies in the closet, or cobwebs behind the shelves are just perfect.

The pace is brisk, it’s sweet, it’s fresh, it’s Pixar magic.

While this is the first Pixar film not to feature a short movie beforehand, it does feature several scenes during the end-credits, so stick around.

The Toy Story 4 South Africa release date is 21 June, 2019. For more about the build-up,  see here.

Read more Rotten Tomato Critic Theresa Smith reviews here.

What: Toy Story 4 review
South Africa release date: 21 June
Weekend Special review: A Theresa Smith review
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Toy Story 4 rating: PG V
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