Toy Story 4 seemed like an unnecessary addition to a trilogy that most can agree ended very well, albeit bittersweet. Pixar has been tugging at our heartstrings since 1995 when we met Woody, Buzz and crew. Nearly 25 years later Pixar is still is doing it’s job. I grabbed the dragons and headed to the theatre including the 2.5 year old who has been obsessed with the first three for the last two months. I had read very little save a few headlines screaming “Sexism” and “Too Dark For Children”, but I can assure you the only damage done by Toy Story 4 was a happy toddler and a 14, 16, and 37 year old in tears. Beautiful, wonderful tears and all flowing freely without shame.
We drift back in time to where Bo Peep and her sheep were sold to a collector and removed from Molly’s room and Andy’s crew. We then jump back to present time with Bonnie, and discover Woody is not her favorite toy. In fact, she leaves him in the closet gathering dust bunnies most of the time. She is terrified to start kindergarten and in typical Woody fashion to “help” his child, but also continue to feel important himself he sneaks to school with her. Scared and isolated he “encourages” her to create her own piece of art with some trash and she’s delighted. The spork and googly eyes (thanks Mike Wazowski) come to life by the hysterical voicing of Tony Hale. Woody takes on the job of stopping “Forky” from throwing himself in the trash regularly so Bonnie doesn’t lose her toy. Then on a trip to an RV Camp Woody finds himself searching for Forky who has escaped out the window. As usual everything descends into chaos.
At this point the familiarity of the character’s and understanding how these adventures usually go allows the story to jump full force into action and chaos. We’re introduced to some new characters, some fun and some creepy and reunited with some old friends.
Watching them navigate the world of human’s never loses it’s magic. If you have any nostalgia for your favorite toys growing up you will be swept into the joy of watching them come to life once again. I know I used to imagine all of mine were alive .
The heart of the story is propelled by Woody, but the trajectory is led by a strong female character, and Buzz more or less is trying to find his own “voice” as a leader of the rest of the group while Woody is gone. There are some delightful surprises along the way. But you can kind of feel where the story is leading and why this is truly the final piece of the tale. It is a bittersweet end, but it is wonderful. I’m not one to get misty eyed with ease and I can still feel the lump in my throat at this very moment.
Complaints and Recommendations
I have zero complaints. The one character I haven’t liked in the series (Jessie) was minimized in this addition. In spite of reviews this was NOT even close to the darkest of the series. 3 and 1 were far darker, even with a few “scary” moments. The human character’s were inclusive and the hero of the story wore a skirt…..sort of…..Some of the new characters were just delightful and even the ones I didn’t like as much were still fun. The story brought us to an ultimate ending and inevitability for ALL toys at some point. Aside from the sentimental business is was also FUN and exciting. An adventure. One last time.
To infinity and beeeeeeeyond!