By: Lori Mauer
Toy Story 4 is the movie you did not know you needed in your life. Many will consider it the most visually stunning film Pixar has ever made, and for a good reason. The intricate details, especially in the antique shop, will make you forget that you are watching an animated film at times.
Woody and the gang are back, once again bringing new adventures into Bonnie’s life. When we last left them, Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and friends were gifted from Andy (as he headed off to college) to Bonnie. She eagerly clutched her “cowboy” with childish delight.
After a series of tear-inducing flashbacks, we find Bonnie about to head off to kindergarten. It is there, in a scene that will tug at the heartstrings of many parents, that Bonnie creates Forky out of some art supplies and trash (with a little help from a particular “friend”). Many parents will also find an aspect of this scene unbelievable. I know I did but get past it for the sake of the storyline.
If you have seen any of the previews for Toy Story 4, you know that Forky does not believe he should be a toy. The scenes between him and Woody trying to convince him of that are hilarious. The bits never get old. The audience in my showing could not stop laughing. Looking beyond the bits, adults will realize that sometimes our purpose in life is not always what it seems. It becomes an excellent teaching opportunity for children to learn about imagination and setting their sights higher.
But, back to the fun of the movie.
Woody takes it upon himself to protect Forky for Bonnie. He realizes how much she needs Forky in her life right now, and he does so, at all costs. Along the way, Woody and Forky meet up with some heartwarming new characters, including Gabby Gabby and Duke Caboom. Warning – some of them may be scary for the little ones. They were for many of the adults in the audience. I know I jumped quite a few times.
One of the best storylines of the movie is the return of Bo Peep. Absent in Toy Story 3, we get to find out what happened to this thrill-seeking free spirit. Bo is now a dynamic heroine, holding her own in a world full of exciting challenges. What does Woody think about the new Bo?
Of course, Buzz also sets out on his own to rescue his pal, Woody. In the process, he makes friends with two hysterical new characters, Ducky and Bunny, whose antics lead to some of the funniest scenes of the film. Even Jessie helps save the day when all seems lost by creating a surprising diversion that “stops” the action in its tracks. If you tend to get emotional in movies, make sure to bring some tissues with you. Everything Tom Hanks and Tim Allen said about the ending is true. Both actors have discussed choking up while recording the final lines, with Hanks even turning his back away from the creative team while recording the last scene and stating, “I didn’t want to see them and I wanted to pretend they couldn’t see me.” Allen said, “a couple of scenes toward the end were really hard to get through.”
Toy Story 4 was an emotional rollercoaster of delight that still has me pondering many aspects of it days later.
From new characters to old friends, Toy Story 4 gives us all we expect from the franchise and Pixar – and then some. Toy Story 4 opens June 21, 2019, and will likely be the blockbuster animated film of the summer.
One final word of advice: do yourself a favor and stay in the theater until the end of the credits. Pixar will reward your patience.
- Lori Mauer is a freelance writer and editor who has lived in South Florida for over 40 years. A resident of Coral Springs for over 15 years, Lori loves everything Disney-related, and can often be found in Orlando, reviewing healthy dining options at Disney for her Paleo Disney website, Instagram, and Facebook page. Lori is also a regular contributor to Parenting Special Needs Children, an online magazine resource for parents. Her day job entails creating compelling SEO content for her clients’ websites.