Third times a charm and the fourth time is errrrrr…actually just as good.

Toy Story 4

Directed by: Josh Cooley

Written by: Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom

Featuring: Tom Hanks, Annie Potts, Tim Allen, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Tony Hale, Madeline McGraw

Woody and the toys still are owned and played with by Bonnie after being given to her by Andy once he had grown too old for them. But Woody is side-lined in the cupboard and rarely played with and Bonnie is facing her first day at Kindergarten. When Woody stows away in her backpack, he returns to his friends with a new toy who was made by Bonnie, Forky. Along with the other toys Woody must explain to Forky he is not trash but is a valuable, much-loved, toy for Bonnie. When Bonnie’s family go on a road trip together, just before Bonnie goes to Kindergarten full-time, everything comes to a head as Woody realises that his past does not have to shape his future.

Like a lot of people when I heard about Toy Story 4 I immediately thought, they do not need this and will it be an awful instalment to fine film series that was not needed.

In my view there was no need to worry, Toy Story 4 is certainly good enough and strong enough on its own to sit next to the original three and hold it’s head high.

Needless to say, the attention to detail in the stunning animation and realised scenarios is exemplary and up to Pixar’s highest level. The only thing that could really ruin the legacy would be the story. Hats tipped to the writers Stanton and Folsom (this could be two prisons) who had to come up with something different from the previous stories and to my mind they managed this by concentrating entirely on the toys. This is about Woody and his friends, the need for the love of a child, letting go of the past and moving on, perhaps a simile for adults when our children move on? All of course wrapped in an exciting and fun adventure.

The story itself is fairly simple with a villain who cleverly starts off seemingly being a simple rehash of Lotso from Toy Story 3 but in the end proves to have more depth and true motivation than any number of real human characters in much more serious films. Gabby Gabby is superbly voiced by Christina Hendricks.

Also for an animated Toy Story film they probably have some of the scariest henchmen I’ve seen in while, in any film.

The voice acting, as per usual is spot on and fully believable but it has to be said that the entire story is nearly stolen by Duke Caboom played with relish by Keanu Reeves. A lovable daft Canadian Evil Knievel toy that was hilariously accurate in the portrayal of how the toy it apes was. Reeves had me in fits of loud and embarrassing laughter that caused my granddaughter to be redden and cringe in the dark.

All that can be said is that Toy Story 4 is a Toy Story film and anyone who is worried about how it measures up against the previous three need not worry.

Perhaps though this should be the final one – time to find new stories with new adventures and characters to explore.

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