When it was first announced, my initial thought was ‘Why?’ because Toy Story 3 ended so perfectly. Soon after, I knew I would see it when it came out though. Toy Story is probably one of the first films I ever saw that wasn’t specifically just a film for kids and I’m happy to go along for every step of the ride. With the gap between Toy Story 2 and 3, it felt like a great time for closure for kids who had grown up with Toy Story and were now teens or young adults so the announcement of another one felt a bit strange.
In truth, Toy Story 4 isn’t a movie that needs to exist but I’m happy it does. Toy Story 3 left no loose ends so there is nothing that Toy Story 4 had to wrap up, only that we didn’t know the fate of Bo Peep but we didn’t know the fate of the army soldiers or RC either. It has all the charm, humour and good storytelling found in all Pixar films, which may as well be a stamp of approval to tell you that the film will be good.
We have had the story that Woody was unwanted or less popular than other toys before but this is different where his new owner Bonnie is more interested in Jessie as the cow-person of choice while Woody is cast to the sides. At that early point you wonder where the story might be going, if Jessie was going to play a big role but she doesn’t really. Woody doesn’t even try to do too much to try and make himself Bonnie’s favourite.
Instead Forky, a spork decorated and cherished by Bonnie, comes alive and Woody makes it his goal to ensure Forky and Bonnie stay together to help her out in that way rather than him being the one who is always there for Bonnie.
The new characters Duke Caboom, along with Ducky & Bunny are memorable additions to the cast of toys and it is nice to see that it is actually a bit of a grey area to call the villain of the film a villain. We had a little bit of that from Lotso in Toy Story 3 with his back story but he was ultimately an evil character.
The only flaw I could pick out of the movie is that there isn’t much room for anyone other than Woody, Buzz or Bo Peep plus the new characters to do or say anything memorable. Rex and Mr Potato Head in particular usually have a few highlights per movie but are almost anonymous here. The ending is moving and it is hard to discuss without it spoiling it. The only thing I would say is that the end result seems to happen very quickly given the years of history leading up to that moment.
The film is another welcome addition to the Toy *ahem* Story and it is already regarded as being up there with all the other Toy Story films so it will live long in the memory just like the rest of them. The ending of Toy Story 3 may have felt like the story had come full circle but the ending of Toy Story 4 is open ended enough that we could yet see more. I might tut briefly at first when I hear the news but no doubt I’ll be counting down the months once it is confirmed.