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Toy Story IV

Jane and I had a trip to the local Vue cinema tonight, prompted in part by discovering that they have reduced their standard price down to a fiver. It seems a more reasonable price than the heights some cinemas have reached, although the place feels a bit run down and wasn’t packed. We weren’t there to critique the venue though but to watch the latest instalment of Toy Story.

I’d heard some lacklustre reviews, suggesting it was just another rehash of the same ideas, so I wasn’t expecting much. I’m glad that didn’t put us off; I came out thinking it was a brilliant addition to the series. I remember when the first one came out in 1995. It was groundbreaking animation and I still have that, and Toy Story 2 (1999 – less novel but enough to earn its place), on DVD. The third film (2010) was a let down for me, perhaps something that might appeal to those who weren’t born when the previous one came out. To my mind though, they’ve knocked it out of the park with this latest (and, allegedly, final) release.

It is still in the same general area, with themes of friendship, heroism, loss and love but it feels more grown up. The animation demonstrates the level that art has reached and it has plenty of action. However, I’m not sure I’d want to take very young children, and there are some deeply menacing moments along with humour on various levels, from slapstick up. It explores how we change, we break but we can go on, developing value rather than ending up always returning to the nursery.

I will be interested if I do get a chance to talk to some younger people who have seen the film but, right now, I think this a Toy Story for the second half of life.

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