Pixar movies truly know how to tug your heartstrings.
This post for Toy Story 4 contains spoilers.
Set nine years after the previous Toy Story movie, Toy Story 4 (2019, directed by Josh Cooley) passes the baton on to its new toy owner Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) and takes audiences on a nostalgic adventure.
“I think all the Toy Story films bring up a sense of nostalgia in us as adults, and for children the sense of wonderment of always wondering what your toys are thinking…” – Christina Hendricks
Poignantly told in a runtime of 100 minutes—Toy Story 4 features beautiful animation that the 1995 Toy Story could never compete with. The plot of this fourth instalment shows Woody’s (Tom Hanks) transition from being someone else’s toy to finding a bigger purpose for himself. Additionally, Bo Peep (Annie Potts), whose existence was nowhere to be seen in the previous 2010 movie, has also taken on a significant role in this newest sequel—she is no longer a damsel in distress and is literally tougher than her porcelain looks. I can imagine Bo being a role model of sorts for young women out there; her characterisation in Toy Story 4 IMHO feels like an organic representation of what it means to be a woman in the 21st-century.
New toy characters are also effortlessly introduced into this movie. Forky (Tony Hale), along with Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), are some of the latest characters to join the franchise. Their addition gives Toy Story 4 a breath of fresh air, which might have otherwise felt too repetitive if the movie only featured the same cast. Old characters such as Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Rex (Wallace Shawn) and others also make a return, but this movie is very much focused on Woody’s evolution as a character.
Forky and Gabby Gabby also played significant roles in Toy Story 4’s plot. Gabby Gabby, who played the “villain”, was really entertaining and creepy. Along with her ventriloquist henchmen, they resemble a group of Chucky dolls who would have given me nightmares if younger-me was watching this. Despite being the “villain”, I couldn’t help but feel empathetic towards Gabby Gabby, as she only meant well and had an ultimate goal in mind—which is to satisfy and fulfil her duty as a toy for a child.
“There is an implied future to all these films and we sort of ‘never say never’ at Pixar, but as storytellers, we are satisfied with this [referring to Toy Story 4] as closing the chapter.” – Jonas Rivera, Producer of Toy Story 4
As a standalone movie, Toy Story 4 works really well—but for fans of the franchise, you might be disappointed at the rapid change in terms of character arc, especially for Woody. It would be best to avoid any talk of the movie before watching it, as you will want to be pleasantly surprised for yourself at how good this fourth instalment is.