TOY STORY 4

Cert U 99mins Stars 5

Join the worlds favourite toys as they go forth on another funny and exciting charm-bomb of animated adventure, which is a delightful and irresistible addition to the most family friendly of franchises.

Although the basic story is the same as all the other films and sees Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the gang trying to rescue a captive member of their toy family, that’s just a strong foundation for the writers to build a marvellously rewarding character-driven story bursting with life, colour and personality.

Feeling more intimate than the last film, the toys still have to weather a daring storm-blown rescue, a late night road trip, a very creepy antique shop and swooping fairground rides.

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen return to voice our heroes, and are joined by Madmen’s Christina Hendricks and a wonderfully comic turn by Keanu Reeves.

Jessie the cowgirl, Rex and Slinky Dog are also back and there’s an adorable new addition to the family called Forky, who’s very much the baby of the group.

While the new baddie is a 1950’s doll called Gabby Gabby, who has very personal designs on Woody and has four sinister henchdolls.

Woody has grown as a character through the series and now carries the air of an avuncular grandfather who’s a bit tired and struggling to find a purpose in semi-retirement.

There’s an even bigger change in Woody’s former beau, Bo Peep who after years of babysitting she’s now revelling in her kid-free status, with a wide social circle, a designer car, and has plans to travel the world. It’s all a bit much for dependable, loyal and stay-at-home Woody.

With cinema dominated by universe-smashing superheroes, Toy Story’s sweet brand of wholesome and slightly scary fun seems almost quaint, but as a parent it’s great to have a film which offers more gentle and almost innocent pleasures.

Of course the animation is astonishingly accomplished, and there isn’t a moment or a pixel on screen which doesn’t glow with love, care and attention.

This fantastic film is rich with cross-generational appeal, and maintains the series’ sense of childlike wonder at the world while also offering a deeply satisfying and emotionally mature experience.

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