Toy Story 4 Movie Review: Noblest Oblige
It's been 24 years since the launch of the Toy Story animation era and nearly a decade since No 3, meant to be the final showstopper, showed up on the big screen.
Toy Story 4
Director: Josh Cooley
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal, Emily Davis, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, June Squibb, Carl Weathers, Lila Sage Bromley, Don Rickles, Jeff Garlin, Maliah Bargas-Good, Jack McGraw, Juliana Hansen, Estelle Harris, Laurie Metcalf, Steve Purcell, Mel Brooks, Alan Oppenheimer, Carol Burnett, Betty White, Carl Reiner, Bill Hader, Patricia Arquette, Timothy Dalton, Flea, Melissa Villaseñor, Jeff Pidgeon, John Morris
Toy Story 4 may seem like a needless sequel to a few but it's certainly a hugely enjoyable, classically dramatic one. This Disney/Pixar continuum that takes the animated children's film to rare heights puts together a value system that most parents will want their child to inculcate. We already know that a 'Toy's noblest purpose' is to entertain, educate and belong to a child and all the editions in this super successful franchise have been aiming for that goal even through storylines that mimic miniaturist adventure and thrills. And the resultant is musically shored, sympathetic voice driven animated characters that are so emphatic in their sensitivity that it's really hard not to get affected.
The story itself isn't much of a draw but the manner in which it is presented speaks volumes about the Next Gen virtuosity of the animation technique employed here. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and most of the other inhabitants of Andy's toy box have been handed down to a little girl named Bonnie. Bonnie isn't clued in to Andy's rapturous experiences with his toys and favors just a few from the lot. Her first day at kindergarten becomes traumatic because her parents don't allow her to carry her favourite toy to school. But the ingenious Woody helps her overcome that hurdle by helping her create her own special one - Forky. Thereafter it's all about keeping Bonnie (Madeliene McGraw) and Forky (Tony Hale) together through thick and thin.
It's a recycled narrative no doubt, but told with a freshness and appeal that is likely to overcome that déjà vu feeling (if at all). The deliberate pacing allows for fulsome impact. The fluent narrative details Sheriff Woody's fear of abandonment and how he tries to overcome that anxiety by going out of his way to keep his new kid, Bonnie, happy. His byplay with Bo Peep (Annie Potts) is even more telling on how even the most loved and treasured possessions (read relationships) are waylaid in the transition from childhood to adulthood.
The 'revisit' narrative also introduces some new toys - an antique Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) who needs Woody's voice box, carnival toys like Key and Peele, four extremely creepy Howdy Doody look-alikes, Canadian motorcycle Stunt biker Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), among others. The lively banter between Woody and Bo, the romantic angle, the innumerable mad dashes, helter-skelter attempts to keep Forky within bounds stir up amusement and thrills in generous measure.
Check out the trailer here:
It's been 24 years since the launch of the Toy Story animation era and nearly a decade since No 3, meant to be the final showstopper, showed up on the big screen. No one was expecting another Toy story sequel, leave alone a Josh Cooley to rework that magic - but here he is -with a heart-touching entertainer that is vividly beguiling, magical and witty to boot!
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Bollywood film reviews: Hate Story 4 and 3 Storeys