Making a sequel is a risky business, especially if the first film was a major hit. But making three sequels, with the latest instalment being 25 years after the first, can be doomed to fail. Toy Story 4 is out now, and whether making it was a good idea is up for debate.
Toy Story 4 follows Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the gang, with their new owner Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) in her new unsettling phase of going to kindergarten. To help herself cope, Bonnie makes a toy she calls Forky (Tony Hale) out of junk. But Forky is not convinced he is a toy and constantly wants to get away. So, when the whole gang go on a road trip with Bonnie and the family, it’s Woody’s job to make sure Forky stays put. Running after Forky, Woody meets his old friend Boo Peep (Annie Pots) but, they both realise that a lot has changed in both their lives.
The plot still has the “toys on a mission” concept, but it also tackles themes like life purpose, tough choices, and more, all presented in simply for both children and adults. Also, the feature does not deal with evil toys as just inherently evil, but provides them with plausible motives for their actions.
Another cool aspect of this film, and the ones before it in the Toy Story franchise, is that no matter how the plots change, how many new characters are introduced, and the animation updated, the filmmakers stay true to the characters and the essence of the films.
The animation is impressive as it balances between modernising the old characters with new animation techniques while staying true to the aesthetics of the characters we know and love.
The animation shines when it comes to the action sequences, with a whole lot of jumping, sliding, gliding, and flying throughout carefully and colourfully designed settings.
The voice acting did not disappoint; whether it is the old cast that dazzled us before, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, and Annie Pots, or the new cast including Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks, and even Keanu Reeves.
Despite the large number of characters, there is a clear spotlight on Woody’s struggle, and a hierarchy of focus on the rest of characters which ensures that audiences won’t feel lost or distracted.
Even though many questioned whether this film was necessary, it was able to offer comedy, action, heartfelt emotion, and closure for one of the most loved animated characters. So while the feature is flawed, most Toy Story fans won’t be disappointed.