Toy Story … You’ve Got a Friend in Me!
People are torn between wanting the Toy Story franchise to keep going and thinking it should’ve ended at Toy Story 3. Before seeing Toy Story 4, I was part of the latter, but I’m curious to see what happens from here. Check out the trailer and continue to see what we thought. Remember … potential spoilers ahead!
Toy Story 4 picks up after Toy Story 3 — the toys are no longer Andy’s and they’re settling in with Bonnie. Woody,spending years as the leader of his tribe is trying to find his place among Bonnie’s established toy group.
For the first time, his owner is a little girl and she has a different way of playing with toys. She favors Jesse over Woody and he’s constantly being left in the closet with the other forgotten toys. Despite being tossed aside, to the shock of his friends, he keeps on a brave face and act.
Bonnie, who’s starting school soon, is having a hard time leaving her toys behind, so Woody, desperate to have a purpose, takes it upon himself to cheer her up — sneaking into her backpack to keep her company in class. After seeing Bonnie struggle to make friends, Woody gathers up a bunch of school supplies for Bonnie to ‘create’ something to occupy her mind. Thus, Forky is born!
Forky’s introduction opens up a new world for Toy Story. He’s essentially just a pile of junk, an old spork, pipe cleaner, googly eyes and broken sticks for feet. However, once Bonnie stamps her name on the bottom of those feet, she has now become God — creator of life.
It’s a strange concept to include in Toy Story but It was on my mind once Forky came to life. What else can be brought to life in this world? We saw Mr. Potato Head possessed a tortilla in Toy Story 3, which was weird, but Bonnie created sentience out of nothing. Anyway…
Forky, although being brought to life and welcomed by the rest of the toys, is confused in his purpose. He is trash and doesn’t know how to be anything other than… trash. A good chunk of the movie is spent with Woody trying to keep him from throwing himself in the garbage.
Buzz Lightyear was dealt with in a strange way in this movie. He plays a large role in the previous movies, but it seems like he was shoehorned into Toy Story 4. After one of Forky’s attempts at throwing himself in the trash, he and Woody are left stranded in a small town. Buzz’s job in the film is to perform a search and rescue to bring the two back to the RV Bonnie’s family is traveling in, before they leave. However, Woody seems to have a grip on the situation and knows he can easily return on his own. That is until someone from the past returns… Bo Peep.
New and Improved Bo Peep
Remember when Luke Skywalker encounters a hermit Yoda on Dagobah, or how Carol from The Walking Dead turns into a surprise badass? This is what happened with Bo Peep since the events of Toy Story 2 up until this point. During the opening of Toy Story 4, we finally see what happened to her. Other than a sad mention of her name in the previous film, she was just gone. Well, it turns out that since Bo really belonged to Andy’s little sister Molly, she was outgrown and donated away.
In a shocking coincidence, this small town that Woody and Forky end up stranded in is the exact town where Bo Peep and her three sheep ended up at a second hand antique store. Bo has since escaped the shop and is living around town with her sheep and other renegade toys. She explains that ever since she was given up, she has found new purpose in being a “lost toy” — something that had always been Woody’s worst nightmare since the first film. She’s stronger, braver and doesn’t need an owner to feel like she’s making a difference.
However, Woody is having a hard time coming to terms with the new Bo, who is inadvertently making him question his place at Bonnie’s house. The only thing is … Bonnie LOVES Forky and he needs to get back to the RV before she leaves. He can’t just abandon his crew like that with no word.
The original Toy Story didn’t exactly have a villain, unless you count a jealous Woody, or even Sid. Toy Story 2 had Prospector Pete — who prided himself in being a collectible and thought Woody and Jesse should too — and Toy Story 3 had Lotso trying to imprison the gang inside a preschool. Toy Story 4, however, is more complicated.
The villain, Gabby Gabby, is more of a sympathetic character who just wants to be loved, but never got the chance because she’s ‘faulty‘. Her voice box was broken right out of the box and Woody, having one in perfect condition, caught her attention.
She and her henchman, a terrifying group of dummies, attempt to use Woody’s voice box to repair her own so a child will want to take her home from the antique store she lives in. Also — when I say her henchman are terrifying, I mean SHOCKINGLY creepy for a kids movie. Remember Slappy from the old Goosebumps books? Yeah…
I was hesitant going in because I thought another Toy Story 4 would be one too many. Nostalgia had its fun with Toy Story 3, and I thought another sequel may have been beating a dead horse (yes, Bullseye is in the film), but I was wrong. Toy Story 4 was hilarious, endearing and surprisingly emotional. If you really look at the life of a toy, they are only good up until their owners grow up.
I couldn’t help but hate on Bonnie for what she did to Woody, but I understood it. It was just hard to see everyone’s favorite toy cowboy tossed aside in favor of others. Seeing Woody question the importance of sticking around for someone else compared to the importance of his own happiness was rough.
There are laughs all around. Tony Hale as Forky was hilarious, & Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were great as always as Woody and Buzz. Sadly, the voices of some other important characters have since passed away in recent years, such as Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head. This meant we saw a lot less of these classic characters as we would have wished, but their presence was felt. Besides, the movie might not have worked if the entire gang was shoehorned into the plot.
Toy Story 4 is a great time to be had for people of all ages. This one really felt like it was meant for the adults with its humor and story. It will definitely tug at your heartstrings and make you long for the toys you cherished as a kid. Well done, Pixar, well done.