There are very few relationships in the world as special as the bond between a child and their toys. Some kids are more into sports, arts and crafts, learning how to play an instrument, and all kinds of other wonderful things that come with discovering your identity as you grow into your older self. For some of us who weren’t so quick to make friends because we weren’t the “cool” kids, our toys were our best friends and some of our fondest memories are of simply playing in our rooms while exploring the worlds within our imaginations.
The Toy Story franchise has managed to spin this simple concept into a world of magic for twenty-four years now since it debuted in 1995 by stunning audiences as the first entirely digitally animated feature film. It has essentially created the benchmark for all digitally animated films that have followed in its footsteps ever since. It has won the hearts and minds of audience members of all ages because everyone remembers what it’s like to be a kid. Although some people may think that another Toy Story movie is unnecessary because of how incredibly emotionally satisfying the end of the third instalment was, this is a movie that has a great plot featuring some incredible performances from the entire cast, plus some wildly entertaining new characters.
Now, in 2019, kids have more options than they could’ve ever imagined since 1995, including video games, cellphones, and even having million-dollar grossing YouTube channels reviewing, you guessed it, toys. The sequels to Toy Story have dealt with the idea of becoming collectibles with a hefty price tag as a product of a time gone by (Toy Story 2), and the existential crisis of their own mortality of being thrown away after their relationship with Andy is over (Toy Story 3). Toy Story 4 picks up with Woody and the gang facing a new challenge with the new kid they’re forging a new relationship with, named Bonnie, as she heads into kindergarten.
Check out the official Toy Story 4 trailer:
Woody sneaks into Bonnie’s backpack to help her get through her terrifying first day at school trying to make friends with someone other than her beloved toy collection. During arts and crafts time she builds Forky (Tony Hale - Arrested Development, VEEP) and brings him home. Forky quickly becomes Bonny’s new favourite toy, leaving the gang’s cherished leader Woody feeling lost and lonely as he pines over the glory days of his relationship with Andy and the golden years of watching him grow up fade away.
When Bonny’s family decides to go on a road trip in a rented RV to get away from it all, Forky runs away because he can’t handle the idea that he is not simply a toy, but Bonny’s FAVOURITE toy, even though he’s built from parts of what he thinks are garbage. The crazy part is that anyone who has been in a depressing place and has wondered how anyone can love them for who they are, defects and all, can relate. Woody goes on a daring solo adventure to rescue Forky alone and return him to Bonny as her family goes to a county fair while Buzz Lightyear and the other toys search for Woody.
Along the way, Woody runs into his long lost girlfriend Bo Peep (Annie Potts - Ghostbusters 1&2) that Andy’s sister Molly gave away so many years ago, who is living independently after escaping her fate of collecting dust on the shelves on an antique nostalgia shop. This same shop is where Woody lost Forky while looking for Bo Peep, so Bo takes Woody on a blazing adventure to save Forky from the clutches of an army of vintage toys looking for a child to love them, led by the 1950s doll Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks - Mad Men, Good Girls).
There are also some great comical moments from Keegan Michael Keye, Jordan Peele, Carl Weathers and Keanu Reeves, who is having the year of a lifetime in 2019 between this movie, John Wick 3, and his appearance in the video game Cyberpunk 2077. Reeves plays the Canadian action figure Duke Caboom who is trying to rebuild his confidence after being abandoned by the child who received him as a Christmas present. Reeves has never been so HILARIOUS since his role as Theodore Logan in the Bill & Ted movies, and truly steals every scene he’s in.
“Best Friends 4 Ever” with Tom Hanks & Tim Allen discussing Toy Story 4:
What is amazing about this movie is that it resonates emotionally with people of all ages because the central themes are about love, loss, and learning how to move on from treasured times in years past that are long gone. Learning to find a new purpose for yourself and letting go of your past is one of the hardest things anyone can learn to do, because one incredible thing that Toy Story 4 drives home is the dangers of nostalgia, and one thing everyone has to do in life is grow up.
By the end of the movie, everyone is right where they need to be because no one can be themselves if they’re too busy trying to relive the past. You can’t look to the future if you’re trapped in your memories, instead of focusing on figuring out how to make new ones. Toy Story 4 makes a lot of great points about where modern film culture is, considering everything under the sun is getting remade and this movie is about finding a new life for yourself and realizing when the party is over.
Woody says, “So long, partner,” in a fitting way that, like many of our own childhood toys, leaves audiences feeling thankful for all of the unforgettable times over the years and memories that will last a lifetime. This is truly a summer movie for anyone with a heart that’s trying to look forward, to the idea that some of their best days are still in front of them, not behind them.
Director: Josh Cooley Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Release Date: June 21, 2019 (United States) Run Time: 100 minutes