Flash Review: Toy Story 4
If Coco (Adrian Molina and Lee Unkrich, 2017) perfectly exemplified a formulaic Pixar movie, Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, 2019), in which Cooley takes the directorial reins of the Toy Story franchise from Unkrich, goes one better. Of course, it has broadly the same recipe, but it adds a couple of secret ingredients: passion and nostalgia.
I was dubious, to put it mildly, about the necessity of a fourth Toy Story given the success and finality of the third instalment – surely this was money grabbing at its most cynical, and from a studio and franchise we’d grown up adoring, no less. And yet, Pixar pull it out of the bag yet again, Toy Story 4 more than justifying its existence with its respect for both the characters and the audience who have been raised with Woody and Buzz in our hearts. You see, this is as much an adult’s film as it is a child’s one, Toy Story’s young audience in 1995 now being in their 20s and 30s, and the film knowing it must cater to these spectators as much as drawing in new youngsters. Thus, the film is really a tale of long lost love, allowing it to play on the tropes of the genre, and giving us a delightful clash between a family animated comedy and a heart-breaking forbidden romance.
The quirky side-characters really hit the right notes here too, Keanu Reeves’s Duke Caboom and Key and Peele’s Bunny and Ducky so much more memorable than any of their counterparts in Coco. So yes, Toy Story 4 has won me over, but let’s hope this truly is the finale the series deserves, and that in the future we can see new great original stories from Pixar, rather than endless walks down memory lane.
At time of writing, Toy Story 4 is available to watch on Disney+.