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Toy Story 4 - Film Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published June 18th 2019
Woody is about to learn how big the world can be for a toy
Disney Australia

Toy Story 4 is a 2019 computer animated Walt Disney film and the fourth film in Pixar Animation Studio's Toy Story film franchise. The film is a sequel to the 2010 film Toy Story 3 and continues the story of Sherriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of Andy's toys from where it ended at the end of Toy Story 3.

The film stars Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Annie Potts as Bo Peep, Keanu Reeves as Duke Kaboom, Jordan Peele as Bunny, Keegan-Michael Key as Ducky, Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Mel Brooks as Melephant Brooks, Joan Cusask as Jessie, Madeline McGraw as Bonnie and Tony Hale as Forky, a spork who has been made into a toy and is very, very confused about it.

Toy Story 3 ended with Woody, Buzz and the other toys being given by Andy to a little girl named Bonnie. Toy Story 4 opens with Woody and the toys living in Bonnie's closet and waiting to be played with. Bonnie opens the closet and grabs a number of toys, including Buzz, but leaves Woody behind. This is the third time that week that she didn't pick him and it makes him feel unwanted. The toys overhear from Bonnie's dad that she will be starting kindergarten soon. Bonnie asks if she can take a toy, but her dad says no. After hearing this, Woody decides to sneak into Bonnie's backpack and go with her to school. He's always been very devoted to his kid and he hopes if he goes along to school with her she will play with him.

Photo: Walt Disney Studios / Pixar

Bonnie is sad at school and nervous around the teacher and other children. Sensing this, Woody climbs out of her bag and dumps some craft supplies in front of her on a desk when she is not looking. Bonnie takes a spork and turns him into a toy with a glue on face, twist-on arms and stick on legs. She names her new toy Forky. Bonnie falls in love with Forky and immediately starts playing with him. Forky makes her think that maybe, just maybe, kindergarten won't be so bad. Bonnie puts Forky into her backpack to take home from school.

Halfway home, Forky comes alive, and immediately begins freaking out. He doesn't understand how he is alive or what it means to be a toy. He thinks he is trash and is very reluctant to learn how to be a toy. Woody introduces him to the other toys and explains to them how Forky is helping Bonnie get through kindergarten. Woody decides he will teach Forky how to be a toy and how to look after Bonnie.

Bonnie's family decide to go on a road trip for a week before Bonnie will have to start attending kindergarten full time. All of the toys, including Forky, are packed up and put in an RV with Bonnie and her parents and hit the road. While on the trip, Forky decides to run away, so Woody goes after him to convince him to come back to Bonnie. While stranded on the road, Forky and Woody have a grand adventure, reunite with long lost friends and Woody learns how big the world can be for a toy.

Photo: Walt Disney Studios / Pixar

Toy Story 4 was a great film and a lot of fun. I had some concerns about where the story was going to go after the end of Toy Story 3, but this film surprised me. It was really well written and went in an interesting new direction.

Toy Story 4 was directed by Josh Cooley (in his feature film directional debut), produced by Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen and the story was written by a team of people which included Andrew Stanton (a co-writer of the first three Toy Story films), Stephany Folsom, John Lasseter (the director of the first two Toy Story films), Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, and Martin Hynes.

There's a lot to like about Toy Story 4. The new character of Forky was hilarious and a really interesting new addition to the franchise. When he first gains sentience, he freaks out completely, because he doesn't understand how he is suddenly alive. He keeps muttering the word "Trash?" in a confused, trembling voice, because that's what he thinks he is. It's a lot of fun watching him explore the world, bond with Woody, and experience life as a toy.

My favourite characters in Toy Story 4 were Woody and Bo Peep. Bo Peep appeared in the first two Toy Story films but was absent in the third one. Toy Story 4 marked her return to the franchise and had an interesting backstory to explain her absence in Toy Story 3.

We are shown in a flashback that sometime between the events of Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, Bo Peep was boxed up with a bunch of other toys and donated to good will. Woody almost climbed into the box and went with her, but decided at the last minute to stay behind to be with his kid Andy, because he felt he still needed him.

Bo Peep has gotten a complete make over in this film. When Woody reunites with her in Toy Story 4 he finds out that after they were separated she spent years sitting discarded in an antique shop before she decided to set off on her own. Bo has ditched her pink dress and bonnet for a pair of pants and her delicate porcelain exterior has become cracked and chipped, but her spirit has never been stronger, and she has grown into an adventurous and confident free spirit.

Bo Peep's transformation from a damsel-in-distress into an independent and strong willed character makes Woody re-think what is important to him and he starts to question if there is more he could be doing with his life than just being there for a kid.

Photo: Walt Disney Studios / Pixar

Toy Story 4 features some truly amazing computer animation. There is so much fine detail in the film. Bo Peep stood out the most. Her body looks like real porcelain and has a proper, glossy shine to it. She looks like a real toy who has come to life.

I really liked the characters of Ducky and Bunny in this film. They were so funny. Ducky and Bunny are carnival prizes that Buzz meets when he falls into a game booth at a carnival and gets mistaken for a prize. Ducky and Bunny have a whacky, close relationship with each other. One of my favourite moments is when they see the remains of a toy that has been eaten by a cat. Ducky remarks, in a terrified voice, "Is that what we look like…inside?" and Bunny stammers "There's so much…fluff!"

One criticism I have for this film is the characterisation of Buzz Lightyear. I've seen all of the Toy Story films and Buzz's character felt a little bit off in this one. Buzz seemed to be less intelligent. It's like the writers didn't know what to do with him. His storyline is him "learning to listen to his inner voice", which Buzz thinks means pressing the buttons on his chest that make his voice box activate.

Buzz didn't feel like the same character who appeared in the original Toy Story to me. He felt dumbed down. He was one of the best things about the original Toy Story film and had some great lines like "To infinity…and beyond!" and "This isn't flying! This is falling…with style!" but in this film, he is just a confused toy who spends a lot of time pressing the buttons on his chest and furrowing his brow a lot.

Toy Story 4 was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. The development of Woody and Bo's characters was very well done and Forky was surprisingly fun to watch.

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*Marisa Quinn-Haisu was invited as a guest
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Why? Toy Story 4 is the fourth instalment in the Toy Story franchise. In this new story, Sherriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the other toys are introduced to Forky, a spork who has been made into a toy, and the gang go on a road trip.
When: Toy Story 4 will be released in Australian Cinemas on Thursday, 20 June 2019
Your Comment
Thanks for the review. The first 3 were really well done. This one will be good to see.
by Amanda I (score: 2|819) 849 days ago
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