Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Movie with Abe: Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4
Directed by Josh Cooley
Released June 21, 2019

The world can seem so much smaller for children, whose everything is contained in that which they experience and those with whom they interact, and, at the same time, an entire universe of possibilities exist that can pique their imaginations and make them realize how much they don’t know and have yet to encounter. Playing with toys is a perfect embodiment of that sense of wonder, giving children the ability to design and control their own universe that, to them, seems just as real as anything else and is just as exciting as watching or interacting with real people.

Andy has gone off to college, donating Woody (Tom Hanks) and his other toys to Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw). Undervalued and kept out of sight during playtime, Woody sees a chance for him to have a role when Bonnie nervously begins kindergarten and jumps into her backpack. When her arts and crafts are thrown out, Woody decides to save the contents from the trash, resulting in Bonnie creating a new toy that she names Forky (Tony Hale). Convinced that he is destined to return to his rightful place as garbage, Woody must convince Forky of his true purpose without Bonnie knowing, with the help of long-lost friends like Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and new threats like broken toy Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks).

This fourth venture into this wonderful universe comes nine years after the third, which itself was eleven years after the second. “Toy Story 3” can best be looked at as a triumphant reunion of familiar characters as they faced their latest challenges, while this film is more a new chapter in the same story, one that begins with less celebratory fanfare and focuses much more on the character of Forky than on any of the ensemble. Even Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), once half of the top-billed duo in this franchise, has a reduced role, but fortunately there’s plenty of introspection and life lessons to be gleaned from Woody’s search for relevance and Forky’s confusion about what his existence means.

As usual, the animation here is top-notch, presenting a visually stunning and entirely inviting world in which the inanimate objects typically moved around only by human beings can transport themselves freely from place to place and frame to frame. This might be the franchise’s least sentimental and rewarding chapter, but it’s still a fantastic place to spend time, populated by great characters and formidable voice talent. There’s no reason that this universe shouldn’t be visited again, over and over, and this entry is perfectly satisfying in that vein.


No comments: