That’s what Pixar gives us with every frame. Love and hope.
These are the words of Annie Potts, who provides the foreword for The Art of Toy Story 4. She voices Bo Peep, who is making her comeback in this film, and I can only assume that the fact Potts has been asked to provide this foreword means that Bo is going to have a big role to play in this upcoming movie. She certainly features heavily in the book. Some of the most beautiful artwork is of her – sumptuous drawings and paintings that I spent a long time staring at.
As well as the foreword, there’s an introduction by the film’s director Josh Cooley. Cooley asks a good question – do we need a Toy Story 4? His answer is clearly yes. I am a little bit less sure myself – I thought Toy Story 3 was a perfect end to a perfect trilogy – but I’m willing to give it a shot, especially based on how gorgeous this book is. There isn’t much of the actual story in here – no spoilers – but what there is looks interesting, and lavished in that Pixar love Annie Potts was talking about.
Almost every page of this book is a work of art in and of itself. I’d be hard pushed to choose a favourite, but I love the page about Bo Peep’s cloak, with lots of sketches and notes showing how the artists worked out the way it should behave when she is wearing it. And of all the artists who contributed, my favourite is definitely Celine You. Her drawings are captivating, and I lingered over them.
While rich in artwork and storyboards, the issue I’d take with The Art of Toy Story 4 is that there isn’t enough of anything else. I like the anecdote about the creation of Forky, a new character who came about through a hands on craft workshop for the crew, documented in some of the only photographs in the whole book. I wish there were more such anecdotes and behind the scenes looks.
The problem is that the book has been released ahead of the film, and so they are limited in what they can put in without giving anything away — those spoilers again. A lot of the scenes are described as ‘something we were going to do’, so anyone picking up this book after the release of the film and wanting to know more about the actual story will be disappointed. I wonder if it would have been better to wait until after the film and release a more comprehensive study of what actually did make it into the final cut.
That being said, The Art of Toy Story 4 is a lovely book, full of the heart that Pixar is so famous for, and any fan would be happy to have it on their shelf. And it has done its job too, by convincing me that I need to go and give the film a chance.
Review copy provided
Suffering a little from its early release date, this is nevertheless a charming and gorgeous look behind the scenes of what will surely be a big hitter at the summer box office.