December 3, 2021

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[Review] Toy Story 4: toys take their independence

We did not really expect to see Woody and his gang again after the masterful conclusion to the saga with the third installment. However, Pixar has decided to launch a fourth film, worn by Josh Cooley, who has already distinguished himself with the incredible Vice Versa. The pressure to take over the franchise must have been particularly intense, especially after the departure from the studio of John Lasseter, father of the saga, and Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3. Nine years after the release of the third part, only to more to tell us about Toy Story 4?

Toy Story 4 starts off strong and takes us back nine years with a visually stunning scene explaining the disappearance of Bo Peep (the shepherdess), mysteriously absent from the third installment. From the intro, we realize how far the animation studio has come in terms of synthetic images, with very realistic textures while respecting the iconic design of the characters.

The film then brings us into the present, at Bonnie, the little girl who collected Andy’s toys at the end of Toy Story 3. It’s time for Bonnie to make her first day in kindergarten, and Woody takes this opportunity to try to exist with the little girl, he who is not really considered his “best friend” (to read while singing) and always stays in the closet when Bonnie plays with her toys.

In kindergarten, the little girl takes a liking to a toy made from rubbish, which she calls Fourchette. Woody will then try by all means to make Fourchette understand that he is indeed a toy, and takes advantage of a family stay in a motorhome to exist with Bonnie.

So begins Toy Story 4, a sequel that might seem like too much after the end of the third installment, but which very quickly unearths the reasons for its existence, in particular by offering a decent conclusion to Woody, who is also looking for reasons. to exist after Andy.

A quest for independence
Toy Story 4 digs the paths of independence, of the life of toys after having lived fully with a child. This theme is also perfectly illustrated by the character of Bo Beep. The once soft and calm porcelain shepherdess has swapped her pink dress for pants and fully asserts herself as an independent and adventurous toy. Never has she had such an important and meaningful role in the franchise.

Full of new toys
If the film focuses above all on Woody, we note the appearance of new original toys, between Fourchette, Bonnie’s new favorite “toy”, the duo of plush toys Ducky and Bunny (dubbed in original version by the inimitable duo Key & Peele and in VF by Jamel Debbouze and Franck Gastambide), which bring nice touches of humor, the Canadian stuntman Duke Caboom, and of course Gabby Gabby (voiced by the singer Angèle in VF), a doll from the 1950s forgotten in a antique store and whose voicemail is no longer functioning properly. The latter is always accompanied by her minions, disturbing ventriloquist puppets who would have been entitled to a place of choice in a horror film.

The funniest episode in the franchise
If Toy Story 4 does not offer a constant quality, with in particular a second half lengthened artificially by action scenes which sometimes fall into the water, the new Pixar does not deserve, and even pays itself the luxury of being certainly one of the funniest parts of the franchise, on a par with Toy Story 2. Except that in the fourth part, the humor is understandable by young and old, where the second film multiplied the references that did not speak sometimes only adults and older children.

Although the sensitivity of the third part is no longer so present, Toy Story 4 is still an excellent film, and Pixar once again signs an animated feature film that combines a whole range of emotions capable of taking us from the laughter to tears in a snap of the fingers. In the end, Toy Story 4’s biggest flaw lies in its existence, while its older brother offered the franchise the best possible conclusion. But after all, we will not complain, so the hour and forty minutes spent in the company of Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, Fourchette, Gabby Gabby and the others is a real treat. After all, that’s what matters, right?