Toy Story 4 (2019)
Directed by Josh Cooley
24 years ago, I surveyed my room. Excited and inquisitive as to whether my own toys had moved, even the slightest amount. Had my Stretch Armstrong been on an adventure with my T-Rex? Gallivanting around the room while I slept or standing atop my miniature Tracy Island. I had watched a VHS the night before, which not only impacted the world with its groundbreaking animation, but it also lit a fire in a little boy's imagination.
Jump to 2019. I have a 4 month old baby with the love of my life Zoe. A girl I met at work who used to pin badges to her office lanyard. Tiny shining cowboys, dinosaurs and aliens. A love we shared for the same film that made me question Mr. Armstrong’s every move. As for the baby. We had a boy. We called him Woody.
Saying I like Toy Story is a slight understatement.
Seeing the first trailer for Toy Story 4, I was skeptical. A sentient Spork was not something I considered clever or in keeping with the Toy Story I grew up with. Do we need another Toy Story? Toy Story 3 was a perfect ending and I could not quite think of how my beloved characters journeys could progress any further.
I sat in the cinema, my fiancée by my side. Nervous for what was about to play out in front of us. Hoping Pixar did not desecrate the good name we had literally given to our child. An introduction ensues that truly shows the leaps and bounds we have made with computer animation, but more than that, it is a set of scenes that evokes a wave of goosebumps, topped with a shot of blue clouds and ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’. I looked over at Zoe, her eyes had filled with tears.
It is nice to have you back Toy Story.
Pixar not only put together a great movie that is full of heart, they also crafted a worthy story that touched on subjects unexplored in this universe. Subjects that did not even cross my mind as an avid lover of the franchise, which has only helped to grow my adoration for it. The moral questions broached as always making our favourite inanimate heroes, even more human than before.
Woody is the star of this movie. I can see why people would have a problem with background characters getting minimal screen time, but this franchise has been a journey for them all, but Woody has always been the focus. This story is no different. Toy Story 3 was a fantastic end for all the toys, but this was truly the ending we deserved for Woody.
We are introduced to many new faces through this film including a set of terrifying ventriloquist dummies, that were completely disturbing and are traumatizing children across the world as we speak. Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, delivering some of the best voice acting and acting he has ever put to screen. But Forky, after all my misgiving, was fantastic. Not annoying in any sense, but funny, interesting and full of heart for sure. Though I am glad they did not overplay him as I could imagine his charm could easily wear thin.
Bo Peep also makes a welcome return. Not only bringing so much to the film and lure of the franchise, but also evolving from the damsel in distress of old, to the strong headed and driven woman of today. Leaving Bo Peep missing in Toy Story 3 was a perfect move and really helps us to feel the loss of her character, making her strong return impactful and integral for the journey Woody undertakes.
Overall, I really do wish this is an ending. It was perfect. I believe Woody’s journey is complete and makes sense in the grand scheme of things. A journey I can one day sit down and enjoy with my son, maybe light that fire in his own head. Because every little boy should dream of being Woody’s kid, but only I can say he is mine.
My two FilmBusters co-hosts disagreed with me completely in our latest Podcast. Listen to me defend Toy Story 4 with all my heart right here: LISTEN