Movie Mark gives Toy Story 4 a 7 out of 10.
Toy Story changed the movie industry upon its release in 1995. It was the beginning of the computer-generated animation era and marked the slow death of hand drawn cartoons. Two excellent sequels followed, and it seemed at the climax of Toy Story 3 nine years ago that the series had reached a brilliant and emotional conclusion. It is therefore a surprise that part four has now arrived. Do Disney and Pixar genuinely have another amazing story to tell or could it be seen as somewhat of a cash grab?
Toy Story 4 begins 9 years ago when Woody and Co. say goodbye to love interest Bo Peep (explaining her absence from Part 3) as she is donated by Andy’s little sister. Cut to present day and our gang of toys are living happily in young Bonnie’s bedroom, although Woody is a little perturbed by his lack of play time by his new owner. When a painfully shy Bonnie starts Kindergarten, she gets through her first day with the help of her new “toy” she makes called Forky – a plastic fork with glued on eyes, feet and wire hands. Upon arriving home, Woody does his best to prevent Forky from fulfilling his personal quest to be trash as he realises Bonnie’s need for her new-found toy.
Soon after Bonnie’s parents are off on a road trip which causes Forky and Woody to become separated from their now distraught owner and it’s up to Woody to save the day. On route he is reunited with Bo Beep who has been living joyfully as a lost toy in an antique store and the creepy Gabby Gabby, herself desperate to steal Woody’s voice box so she can fulfil her purpose to become a kid’s toy.
A lot of the side characters – Jessie, Rex, Ham etc have very little to do and even Buzz feels neglected in favour of Woody and Bo’s love story. New characters Bunny and Duckie are welcome and hilarious additions to the cast which kids and adults alike will applaud.
Unfortunately, Toy Story 4 is missing the magic that that the previous movies had. Pixar set such a high bar it would take something extraordinary to make it worth revisiting these beloved characters and not spoil what came before. Whilst Toy Story 4 is a fun and enjoyable ride and finishes on a fairly high note for Woody it feels more like an interesting epilogue rather than an essential outing.