Review: Enjoyable Toy Story 4 proves franchise is still alive

New faces Ducky and Bunny with old hands Woody and Buzz in Toy Story 4 Picture: PIXAR

New faces Ducky and Bunny with old hands Woody and Buzz in Toy Story 4 Picture: PIXAR - Credit: Archant

Nine years after the third instalment of the Toy Story trilogy seemingly brought the series to an end, Woody, Buzz and their friends are back once again for another adventure. This time embarking on a road trip with their new owner Bonnie.

When Bonnie returns from kindergarten with a new toy called Forky, a spork with glued on eyes and pipe cleaner arms, Woody takes it upon himself to look after the new arrival.

But when Forky disappears during a family holiday, Woody and the gang must call on the help of old friend Bo-Peep in order to navigate the unfamiliar territory and rescue their new friend.

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen return to voice Woody and Buzz, while newcomers include Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby and Keanu Reeves as stunt rider Duke Kaboom.

Comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele also join the cast to voice fairground toys Ducky and Bunny and the duo provide many of the film's funniest moments.

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Josh Cooley, co-writer of 2015's Inside-Out, takes the helm for his directorial debut and as you would expect from Pixar, the film is meticulously animated which makes it a complete visual joy.

The script, which was co-written by Cooley along with John Lasseter and a raft of others, plays with some interesting themes.

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Woody finds himself searching for purpose as he drops down the pecking order and is regularly left upon the shelf at playtime.

While Forky's assertion that he belongs in the trash also poses some bold existential questions.

Voiced by Tony Hale, the disposable Spork is a welcome addition and brings a charming wide-eyed innocence to proceedings.

The film is less of an ensemble than previous instalments with Buzz and the gang mostly sidelined in favour of a story which focuses on Woody and the new additions.

While it never hits the emotional or comedic highs of it's predecessors, Toy Story 4 does a solid job of introducing a new generation of children to these much-loved characters.

An enjoyable, if rather unnecessary, addition to what was already a perfect trilogy of family films.

Toy Story 4 is showing at Stowmarket Regal from Friday, July 26. See for times.

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