When Toy Story 3 was announced, I thought “Oh no. They’re going to ruin the series! Why are they making another one?!” But I walked out of that film happily proven wrong. When they announced Toy Story 4, I thought “Okay, I know I was wrong last time… but this time they actually can’t! Toy Story 3 wrapped things up so nicely! What can they possibly do now?!”
Something different and something good, apparently.
Toy Story 3 wrapped up with the gang being passed on from college-kid Andy to pre-school Bonnie. But here’s the thing: Bonnie is not Andy. While Woody lapped up many, many years of being the “favourite toy,” he now finds it hard to even be picked for playtime. Oof! Now imagine not only being left in the cupboard, but being outranked by a used plastic spork with googly eyes. Big oof!
But Forky’s real purpose is to eventually be the catalyst for Woody and Bo’s reunion. Bo’s absence from Toy Story 3 is explained at the beginning of the film. And what happened to her and how she changed over the last nine years is really cool to see!
I love what they did with her. It didn’t feel like a rushed “I’m a badass now” transformation; she still has her Little Bo-Peep vibe. But she’s learned to laugh off seven years of being a Lost Toy and keep moving with the wisdom and cheekiness she showed in the original Toy Story. Except now she has a personality to go with it too.
There were plenty of great moments! Sad ones, heartwarming ones, a couple of great jump scares (the first one I did not expect at all. I’m pretty sure my surprised yelp scared my cousin more than the actual jump scare did). But never once did I tear up.
I feel bad about judging a Pixar film on its ability to make me cry. There were touching and bittersweet moments, for sure. But I left the cinema very dry eyed. Maybe that’s a good thing. I never felt like the film was trying too hard to manipulate my feelings. But maybe I wasn’t as emotionally invested as I have been in a Pixar film.
Having said that, Toy Story 4 is definitely worth seeing. It’s well-written, has great voice-acting and the animation is well-polished. Nothing felt unnecessary. For a movie that’s exactly 100 minutes long, it doesn’t feel too short or too long. The whole film is just right.
Now, I totally said this after Toy Story 3, but everything – the story, the characters – it all feels nicely wrapped up. They can’t do anything else. I’m ready to let these toys go. The ending, to me, felt good. I may plead for no more Toy Stories, but Pixar have once more proven that they can make a great sequel decades after the first.