Film Review | Toy Story 4

The first three Toy Story films became a complete, self-contained package that told the secret lives of toys who came alive when their human companions left them alone.

Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie the Cowgirl, Slinky Dog, Bo Peep and Mr Potato Head are toys that have hearts as big as a human.

They have convinced us that their lives are filled with love, sadness, joy and tears, just like our own.

At the end of Toy Story 3, we thought the connection between Andy and his beloved toys, especially Woody and Buzz, had come to its natural, emotional, and teary conclusion when Andy, a young adult, left for university.

He had outgrown his toys. It was time for Woody and company to find a new human to cherish them.

As you would expect, Toy Story 4 picks up where Toy Story 3 finished.

A young girl, Bonnie, has given Woody and Buzz a new home and a new purpose as toys.

Sadly, Woody's close friend Bo Beep and her sheep, Billy, Goat and Gruff, ended up going to a different home and eventually end up as lost toys.

Bonnie's first day at kindergarten launches a new toy character, Forky, a spork created by Bonnie from rubbish in the bin.

The adventure at the core of Toy Story 4 lies with Forky's attempt to return to his home, a garbage bin, and Woody's determination to return Forky to Bonnie, who has developed a deep attachment to Forky.

The pursuit reunites Woody with Bo Peep, and includes confrontations with a toy doll, Gabby Gabby, who wants to acquire Woody's voice recorder to replace her damaged one.

Her accomplices are creepy ventriloquist's dummies that have a sinister and malevolent intent in their expressions and an unstable way of walking.

We also meet the insecure toy daredevil stuntman, Duke Kaboom, who deserves a toy story of his own.

Woody's position as the main toy is diminished and he must make a choice of staying with Buzz and the others or heading off for adventures as a toy without a human child as a companion.

Woody and Buzz Lightyear aren't so much the stars of Toy Story 4 as the glue that holds it all together. It's time for Woody and Buzz to slip away gracefully before they become superfluous.

Toy Story 4 beams with the same emotions and sparkling animation that made the first three films winners.

Hopefully, whatever choices Disney makes next, they will continue to think beyond the profitability of the characters, and not allow Toy Story to disintegrate into the dreaded slop of film franchises.