Toys are very important for child development. Having a variety of them helps them to go through a crucial life cycle that helps them to shape their day. This is why having animated films like the “Toy Story” franchise allows little ones to be more careful with their favorite toys, not lose or break them. Let’s not forget though, while toys are ageless, kids are not. And at some point they will give up what they used to love the most in exchange of eventful adulthood, while they toys end up in a garage or in a donation box looking for another child to make them happier than they were…
“Toy Story 4” follows the same beloved characters, introduced by a new one, when after Andy gave up his toys to Bonnie, Sheriff Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), embarks himself on a journey of a lifetime when he helps Bonnie’s newly made friend Forky (voiced by Tony Hale) to finds its purpose, the noblest thing a toy can do, to be a child’s best toy. During his journey, Woody makes new friends and meets an adorable toy, Gabby Gabby (voiced by Christina Hendricks) from the 1950’s and joined by the greatest Canadian stuntman named Duke Caboom (voiced by Keanu Reeves), to fulfill our hero’s purpose.
The film starts with a flashback from 9 years ago, taking a turn from Toy Story 3 when Andy is about to move to college. This is when Woody says his final goodbye to Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Pots), who no longer was needed as a toy. Nine years later, we meet a cute girl named Bonnie, who is already selective towards her toys, while Woody loses his position as the favorite one. When Bonnie realizes that she is about to enter kindergarten, she begins crying which immediately breaks Woody’s heart. Having no hesitation, Woody jumps into her backpack and secretly goes to kindergarten to assist the kid to go through day one. This is when we meet Forky, the funniest toy made from a fork, who strongly believes his place is in a garbage bin.
Realizing how important Forky is for Bonnie, Woody tries to reassure Forky how wrong he is and how without him Bonnie will be completely lost. And when the family goes on a vacation, that particular time, no matter how difficult it could be, he helps every toy we knew to realize their importance; how to give up what they had hoped from a newer generation and the true meaning of a loneliness that toys go through when they have no one to play with it. Without tears, it will be impossible to watch it overall.
Directed by Josh Cooley, “Toy Story 4” is the best send-off you would see in a decade. Whether there is a plan to make a new one or not, there is no doubt we will never get tired of Woody and his friends. There is a unique charisma in the new version that is truly adorable. From start to finish, it never slows down – it’s funny and sad; has lots of actions and laughter. Friends are meant to stick together and toys must belong in a family. And after all, indeed, it is a human story but it is a story of not one toy but many that do everything they can to fulfill their purpose to bringing happiness and endless joy to their kids, even though, in the end, they may become history. The last twenty minutes of it will be extremely emotional because you will feel for each character and understand even better – why having a family is everything we all need in this world.