Toys are forever!
By PRIYANKA LOONKER
What works for Toy Story 4 is that you need not even have watched the previous films to enjoy this one. The last Toy Story film ended with a grown-up Andy giving his toys away to a little girl named Bonnie. Woody (actor Tom Hanks), however, is no longer the favorite toy. Bonnie makes a new toy in school using the sentient arts-and-crafts toy made from a spork, clay, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes and names him Forky (Tony Hale) before going on a family road trip and bringing all her toys along. As Woody tries to help Forky understand his new position as a toy, they lose him and he has to go on a rescue mission that has him crossing paths with his old friend, Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and her three-headed sheep, as well as meeting new toys like a suspiciously gracious Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), a Canadian stuntman Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), and snarky carnival plushies Bunny (Jordan Peele) and Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key).
The last scene was so heart jerking and sad to think that Woody would be separated from Buzz, Jessie, and Bullseye forever. Gabby Gabby is probably the best villain in all of the franchises films because you can relate to her, her intentions aren’t pure just not executed right, and in the end she is redeemed. Bo and Woody proceed to help lost toys find kids that will love them while the rest of the gang stay with Bonnie.
The saddest part was realizing that a lot of people will relate to Woody’s character. Things change for better or worse, and many times you can’t get the way things used to be back and even if you do it’s not the same. The way Woody lost Andy in Toy Story 3 and how he is grieving over Andy in Toy Story 4 are things that we see in real life. If you are going through a tough time this could be a real bonding point with your child and family; it might help you see things through a different lens. Throughout the movie there were some jump scares with Benson, Gabby Gabby, and the other dummies and as those toys are creepy in themselves (especially the dummies).
There are some foot chase scenes to capture and hold other characters hostage, and some manipulation tactics. There is 1 use of the word “idiot” in the film and Bo and Woody *almost* kiss a couple of times. You can sense the chemistry and it is implied that they want to but it doesn’t happen. Not even a simple hug or hand holding happens until the very end of the movie.
The most impressive thing about the animation is how the animators stay true to the character design of the toys while making clear advantages to the animation. Woody and Buzz look the same as they always have, but the designs are more polished and developed, allowing an intentionally more 3D look that’s used to great benefit — particularly as they go to new, exciting places and interact with visually stunning environments.
The animation is wonderful and the narrative leaves you with warm happy memories. Ever since 1995, this beautifully animated franchise has taught audiences about the power of play, and this installment is a powerful capstone on that legacy.
TALK TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
•Families can talk about whether Toy Story 4 brings the story to a satisfying conclusion. Do you think the story feels complete?
•How do the characters in Toy Story 4 demonstrate teamwork, kindness and bravery? Why are these important character strengths?
•Would you consider Bo Peep a role model? Do you think her character offers a positive gender representation?
•Which of the four installments do you like the most? Why?