Genre: CG Animation
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, Don Rickles, Jeff Garlin, Maliah Bargas-Good, Jack McGraw, Juliana Hansen, Estelle Harris
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: The Walt Disney Company
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/PixarToyStory/
Opening Day: 20 June 2019
Synopsis: Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.
Prepare a hankie if you are the emotional sort of viewer. The finale of this fourth instalment of the Toy Story franchise will hit you.
Just when you thought Toy Story 3 hit the perfect note by ending Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy, the folks from Pixar outdid themselves with this movie. There have been many rumours what this movie would be about, and while cynics (including this writer) had doubts whether this would be another Disney cash cow, the concerns are unfounded.
Picking up where Toy Story 3 left off, Woody, Buzz and their friends are now Bonnie’s toys. However, it is not rosy sight as Woody gets increasingly left in the young girl’s closet while she plays with other toys. But trust good ‘ol Woody to take on the noble task of defining himself as a toy who is important to a child. Who else would you expect to continually go out of his way to make a kid happy?
This dude’s positive mindset is out-of-this-world.
When Bonnie gets nervous about starting kindergarten, Woody sees a chance to be useful and goes to school with her. There, she makes a new toy out of a plastic spork, some clay and a broken popsicle stick. She names him Forky and he becomes the centre of her universe. Alas, he does realise that he is a toy (a nice parallel to Buzz in the first movie), and thinks that his end goal is to be thrown into the trash bin. Woody seizes this chance to make himself useful: if he can’t be important to a kid, he can teach this new toy how to be.
The story then shifts locations to a carnival and an antique shop, where the toys go on one adventure after another. Bo Peep makes a gutsy return and introduces Woody to a world he has never seen outside the comfort of his owners’ homes. We are also introduced to other new characters. Gabby Gabby is a talking girl doll with a faulty voice box. She is accompanied by a gang of creepy ventriloquist dummies (all of them are named Benson). Duke Caboom is a daredevil stunt bike rider toy who has a dark past of his own. Ducky and Bunny are fluffy soft toys hung up as prizes at a game stall. These colourful additions to the movie are well-characterised without taking the limelight away from the old favourites.
Besides the returning voice cast of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts and Joan Cusack, this movie has also attracted the talents of a star-studded ensemble which includes Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Christina Hendricks and Keanu Reeves.
Making his feature directorial debut, Josh Cooley has made a wonderful first film. With a story and screenplay penned by 10 people, you can feel the amount of heart that has gone into the movie. While viewers who grew up with the critically and commercially successful franchise will enjoy the nostalgia, this episode will successfully introduce the secret lives of toys to a younger generation. This is a movie that both adults and children will enjoy immensely.
After making its big screen appearance in 1995, the Toy Story series has made many of us laugh at its iconic humour, memorise its well-written lines and cry at its poignant themes. Randy Newman’s music has also hit the right chord among many of us.
Twenty-four years and three movies later, the franchise still offers life lessons for kids and remind adults how our lives mirror the toys’ adventures. In particular, this movie places emphasis on letting go, and how it is okay to place your own happiness over the greater good. Saying goodbye is not easy, but is sometimes the only way for us to move on.
(You know how they say nothing is perfect? Turns out that’s not the case, because the Toy Story franchise truly is flawless.)
Review by John Li