Goodbye once again but hey, who’s complaining?
Toy Story 4 is that rare franchise edition that continues to mine our affection with the utmost ease. But not for the series who would have even imagined that toys have a soul or motivation? This revisit takes us through yet another adventure involving Woody and his team of abandoned toys – and they are basically trying to keep their new kid, Bonnie, happy. Can’t be a more noble pursuit, can there?
Most of the characters we’ve been enamoured of in the past few decades have been relegated to the background while new characters voiced by Timothy Dalton, Kristen Schaal and Jeff Garland take the centre-stage.
The film opens with a flashback – Woody (Tom Hanks) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts) trying to save a radio-controlled car toy from immediate drowning in the drain next to their home. And it’s touch-and-go. Woody, of course, saves the day. Now, cut back to the present and we see Andy giving away most of his toys to new, soon-to-be kindergarten going kid Bonnie. It’s Bonnie’s very first day at school and she wants to take one of her toys along. But mom rejects the idea. Woody though, has other ideas. He takes it upon himself to make Bonnie comfortable and secretly aids her in creating a new toy, a made-from-trash, Forky.
The story isn’t great but the sharply delineated treatment and awe-inspiring New Gen animation technique that reflects emotions with a rare vivacity, keeps you engrossed. A well-sprung of new characters with poignant back stories and fresher child-friendly thrills help continue that enchantment. Even the voicing by Hanks, Potts and many other well-known marquee names lend the film a whimsical, though resounding power.
Screenwriters Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom re-imagine old themes, revisit ‘done before’ plot elements and generally make this is nostalgia trip worthy of praise. Toy Story 4 is by far the most cinematic of the series with superb rendering, widescreen compositions and brilliant use of lighting. Director Josh Cooley (who has assisted in various capacities at Pixar) makes a sensational debut feature that keeps the fun elements coming at a steady clip!