Woody the cowboy, and to a lesser extent, Buzz the space ranger, return for a new entry in Pixar's flagship franchise that doesn't fail the high standards set by its predecessors.
Taking place a couple of years after Woody, Buzz and the other toys were gifted to a little girl named Bonnie, she's just started school and is now emotionally dependant on a toy she makes herself out of a plastic spork.
However, Forky, the name she gives her creation, refuses to accept he isn't rubbish, and keeps trying to get himself back into rubbish bins. Knowing how much Bonnie needs Forky, Woody keeps retrieving the utensil, leading the pair to eventually find themselves trapped in an antique store, where a doll named Gabby Gabby conspires to get Woody's electronic voice box to replace her broken one.
Most of the laughs here are generated by Forky, an amazing character voiced to anxious perfection by Tony Hale (Veep). Duke Caboom, a Canadian daredevil motorcycle rider voiced by Keanu Reeves, also has many hilarious moments.
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As the ostensible antagonist, Gabby Gabby (voiced by Mad Men's Christina Hendricks) and her creepy henchmen provide the ever-so-slightly disturbing qualities that flavour these films. The evolution of Bo Peep, who now leads a small troupe of lost toys, is also great to witness. Buzz also gets some choice moments, even if he feels a little wedged into the story.
The incredible emotional highs of the climax of Toy Story 3 suggested this series didn't really need another sequel, but Pixar's legendary exacting standards mean this film more than justifies its existence. Although it feels like something of a post-script, there's more heart and humour to be found here than in 90 per cent of other movies.
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts
Director: Josh Cooley
Running time: 100 mins
Verdict: An inessential, but nonetheless utterly charming addition to the Toy Story mythology.