Woody and Buzz Lightyear have been the talk of my house for the past few months. Every couple of days, my kids would ask if we can go and see Toy Story 4 as soon as it is released. My eldest always loved Toy Story and had the big Buzz Lightyear toy, and my youngest son has just brought Woody home from Disneyland Pairs. The toys are a beloved classic of children everywhere along with the films, so how could I say no to my boys watching the new Toy Story 4 film?
Woody, Buzz and the new character Forky hit the road in their latest adventure. A lot of people were left feeling like Toy Story 3 was the end of an era for Woody and Buzz when their child, Andy was leaving for college and handed his toys over to a new child back in 2010. The trilogy of films raised many emotions for the viewers and left them with a satisfying goodbye from the character. Albeit, it was not the end for Woody and Buzz who suddenly find themselves caught up crossing paths with a scary and unloved vintage 1950’s dolly called Gabby Gabby. Even scarier than Gabby are her antique ventriloquist dummy henchmen, all eerily named Vincent.
Woody has always appeared more than confident among the other toys, a strong quality that saw him become the leader of the toy box. Tom Hanks’ popular character is the voice of reason for any of the toys who are lost, upset or in any kind of distress. Woody’s priority has never been himself, he is completely selfless, even until the very end of the fourth film. His desire has always been to look after his kids and provide them with as much happiness and joy as possible, whether it be his first kid Andy or his child second, Bonnie. Woody’s qualities are what makes his character so lovable and unforgettable.
When Bonnie starts leaving Woody in the cupboard to play with her other toys, he doesn’t become bitter or angry in any sort of way. Instead, he becomes protective and understanding of the little girl’s needs, following her to Kindergarten on her induction day to make sure that she is ok. Bonnie’s new craft toy, Forky (Tony Hale) is brought home and immediately becomes her favourite toy. The anxious new character feels uneasy being out of the trash, he can’t seem to comprehend what a toy is. Woody lovingly tries to help him to fit into his new home and life with the other toys. Forky declares himself as being “trash” which takes Woody back somewhat, he then takes it upon himself to prove to Forky that he is so much more than trash and that he needs to embrace the love that is being shown to him by Bonnie.
When the whole family goes on a road trip in their RV van, Woody ends up in unexpected danger when he jumps out of the window to bring back Forky. Woody understands how important the craft toy is to his kid, Bonnie and how devastated she is going to be if she loses him. Woody can’t bear the thought of his kid being in any kind of distress and will do anything to prevent this from happening. On his detour, we see Woody being reunited with his long lost friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and her sheep, Billy, Goat and Gruff.
After escaping the antique shop, Bo and her sheep become lost toys, living an adventurous life on the great outside. Bo is full of life, strength and optimism, far from letting the rejection of a kid brake her she has used it to inspire her new life of freedom. Woody is awe of Bo, but it is not long after their reunion when they both realise that they are worlds apart when it comes to their beliefs of living life as a toy.
Although much of the film is focused around the main protagonist, Woody, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) has some wonderfully amusing scenes throughout the film. With Woody gone, Buzz steps up to the challenge of leading the other toys, who use the RV Van as a base camp, whilst Buzz tries to bring his friend home. Buzz and Woody are no longer the duo act, that they were in the previous three films. Buzz is becoming more independent and we see this when he tells the other toys, “I’m thinking” whilst he is busy pressing his buttons and listening to his inner voice. He has stood beside Woody for over twenty years, and learnt great leadership from him. Buzz no longer needs Woody mentoring him, he is ready to take on any new tasks independently that the toys face.
In addition to Buzz Lightyear creating laughter for the audience, Keanu Reeves new character, Duke Caboom is hilariously wonderful. The characters 1970’s ensemble and moustache are enough to make you smile, without all of his crazy stunt man motorbike poses. Canada’s greatest motorcycle stuntman, Duke is imminently loveable and funny. The very defect that saw him thrown away by his kid, is the very strength that helps to save the other toys from the freaky ventriloquist dummies, the four Vincent’s.
“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is an indubitable golden oldie which was first released by Disney Pixar in 1995. The 24-year-old film, Toy Story is a well-cherished antique still loved by children today. Setting the film in an antique shop was a genius decision made by the filmmakers. It has so many connotations for the film and characters alike. Woody was made in the 1950s along with the antique shop resident Gabby, Gabby. It seems almost certain that a toy like Woody would soon end up being sat on a shelf in an antique shop. In the beginning of the film, we see Woody collecting dust, which is a hint to his age and his foreseeable future, leading the narrative to Woody’s next chapter.
Are forky’s the new ‘it’ toy? I believe so! Don’t be too eager to leave the cinemas once the credits come on. If you leave to early you might miss forky’s new craft friend being introduced to the rest of the toys by Buzz, in an amusing scene.
Whilst other viewers argue that Toy Story 4 isn’t as emotionally compelling or thought-provoking as the previous three films, I believe that this is intentional. This film is the end of a beginning, it is an end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter. It is exciting, intense and completely enticing. It leaves viewers wondering what happens next? Will there be a Toy Story 5? The ending has left huge doors open for further films to be made under the Toy Story Franchise. Toy Story 4 places a huge emphasis on optimism, the ending is perfect as it leaves its fans and audiences optimistic with the hope of a next chapter for the beloved characters.
Toy Story 4 is personally my favourite out of all of the Toy Story films. All three of my children loved the film and have repeatedly told me that they want to watch it again. The children also love the Toy Story 4 Interactive Augmented Reality Books that we were given on the release of the film. These books will make great memorabilia for the kids. I recommend this film for anybody who loves Toy Story, animation and family feel good films. I rate Toy Story 4 a classic five out of five stars. Well done Disney Pixar, you have created another epic Toy Story film that children and adults will love for generations to come.