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‘Toy Story 4’ review: a simple story conceals deeper truths and profundities

‘Toy Story’ sees all the familiar, loved faces back in action   | Photo Credit: AP

When it comes to Disney Pixar, the detailing and nuances in animation is a given, as is the coming alive of the cartoon world through the star voices. The biggest high, however, is how the story itself and its emotional pitch don’t just entertain and create a sense of wonderment but also make the fantasy feel real, rendering the characters human. Each of them throbs with a life and individuality of her/his own, is in relationships and situations that are utterly relatable. And everything still feels as fresh in the fourth and possibly the last film in the franchise, as it did in the first.

Woody, Buzz and other toy friends move on from the Andy to Bonnie and go on a road trip with her family, in what is being touted as the final adventure of their lives. A simple story conceals deeper truths and profundities. How toys are meant to be taken away for helping the kids that they belong to. How they could be like foster parents, bringing up babies and making them get by; as Woody (voiced inimitably by Tom Hanks) does, slipping into Bonnie’s backpack to make her first day at the kindergarten smoother. They are like loyal, loving, empathetic, stress-busting pets. To love and be loved by. The ones who give you the warm and cosy feeling, and that assurance that everything will be alright. Or as the film puts it: “Being there for a child is the most noble thing a toy can do”.

Toy Story 4
  • Director: Josh Cooley
  • Starring: Computer animation with voices of Tom Hanks, Keanu Reeves, Jordon Peele, Annie Potts
  • Run time: 100.04 minutes
  • Storyline: Woody, Buzz and other toy friends move on from the kid Andy to Bonnie and go on a road trip with her family, in what is being touted as the final adventure of their lives

The creation of a toy can help a kid get out of an introverted life to find a sense of self, as does Bonnie on making a new toy ‘Forky’ from a plastic, disposable fork. The essential amusement comes from the dilemma of Forky — is he a toy or is he trash? But even there lies a larger message. Of discovering and valuing yourself, though it is communicated subtly and obliquely than setting it up in your face.

There is action in the form of Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), the Canadian stuntsman enlisted to help get back the lost Forky. And there are minor stabs of fear too, at the antique store with the Bensons. All in all a good mix of all the rasas, but the most compelling thread is of being a lost toy, it is about the urgency of having a second shot at ‘getting a kid’ , of being able to belong — to children, to other toys or just to one’s own self.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 7:01:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/toy-story-4-review/article28096306.ece

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