Toy Story 4 is the movie that nobody asked for.
It was a completely unnecessary addition to a series that had successfully and more than satisfactorily concluded. It told the story that needed to be told; there were barely any loose ends and all the characters had beautiful arcs and it came to a wonderful conclusion.
And yet…somehow, it was deemed necessary for another to be. What’s amazing is how little it managed to fuck up. And perhaps even more amazingly, it’s a pretty damn good movie that actually adds to the lore.
Do I think it holds a candle to the original trilogy? Honestly… I’m not sure.
Was it a fun, well-plotted and well-executed movie? Yeah.
Is there stuff that pisses me off? Absolutely.
So, by now you know that the movie features Forky, a spork that Bonnie somehow brings to life through reasons that are never made clear. And unfortunately, the very best part of his character is dropped maybe a third of the way into the film, and he gets ignored to focus on Woody’s journey.
It’s been a few months or so since Andy left Bonnie his old toys. And despite the love she showed for him, Bonnie is four and doesn’t show a lot of interest in Woody; and so our favorite cowboy has been relegated to the back of the closet.
He’s saddened by this but is still devoted to the girl, and after she accidentally brings Forky to life he’s doing his best to stop the suicidal piece of cutlery from throwing himself in the trash. He just wants to go in the dump.
That only becomes worse when the family takes a road trip before school starts.
Forky escapes through an open RV window and Woody goes to hunt him down, promising to meet the gang at the RV park. He finds the plastic ware, the two have a heart-to-heart and the plot begins as Woody passes an antique shop.
It’s around there we meet Bo Peep in her new life as a lost toy at a traveling carnival. She’s a bit broken, but pleased with her new life. Naturally though, she’s very happy to see Woody again and their connection rekindles their ‘romance’ as well as something inside of him. And the two join together on a quest to free Forky from the somewhat evil Gabby Gabby and get him back to Bonnie.
Like it’s a solid plot and it’s one much more focused on emotions. And a saving grace, it’s the first Disney movie in a while not feature a twist villain. Gabby Gabby is set up as the film’s antagonist early on, and it really allows for us to get to know her and sympathize with her plight.
And it all reaches a very emotional climax, that I’m not sure how I feel about. In many ways, it makes sense that Woody would leave once his purpose has been fulfilled but leaving all his friends behind for Bo Peep and a life without an owner? I just don’t know…. And my biggest issue was that Bonnie didn’t even notice he was gone.
How will Andy react when he finds out this girl lost his most beloved toy?
Now, I don’t expect a five-year old to be perfect but it still feels like the message of the final movie was ruined, even if it does make sense. I guess the fact that Woody and Buzz are likely to never see each other again is more than I can accept.
They’re not lovers but they’re more than just best friends. And it bothers me that once again, like in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: a main character just abandons their friend, the person who they’re closest to in the world, for a love interest. At least Woody knows Bo Peep, but it just doesn’t seem right.
And I might be alone in this, but I wasn’t crazy about Bunny and Ducky. Sure they had some great lines and added a bit of levity, but the time spent on their shenanigans, I feel like could have been better focused on developing Forky as a character and delving a little deeper into the mystery of his existence. They were also kind of annoying.
The other new characters though, particularly Gabby Gabby and Duke Caboom, were great and while I didn’t cry at the end of the movie…. I sobbed during Gabby’s scenes at the end. Like all the toys, she just wanted a child to love her and the way she goes about it is actually understandable. Woody makes a huge sacrifice to ensure she has a chance…which I think is an amazing change from where we saw him in the first movie.
While this movie was amazingly and largely unnecessary, it still manages to feel like a relatively logical follow-up to the series. That’s VERY difficult to do.
Personally, I don’t think the ending of this film held up to the ending of Toy Story 3, because of how it contradicts the characters’ development. But the resolution of Gabby Gabby’s arc had me sobbing.
But this is certainly a movie worth seeing in theaters.
And that’s the scoop!
Year of release: 2019
Length: 100 minutes
Producer: Jonas Rivera, Mark Neilsen
Director: Josh Cooley
Screenplay by: Stephany Folsom, Andrew Stanton
If you liked this read Ralph Breaks the Internet proves Disney shouldn’t try to so hard to prove they’re “woke.”