9 years ago, I called ‘Toy Story 3’ the best ending to an animated trilogy of all time! And I honestly thought that the series was over at that point. What better ending could it have? Well, ‘Toy Story 4’ tries to answer that question with results that will blow you away! I truly believe that no film with a number 4 designating it has ever come close to being this good. If someone can name one than I am all eyes and ears, but that won’t sell short just how lovingly brought to life this film is. ‘Toy Story’ is a saga now, and it’s one of the best in that world also. There just aren’t many a series that can compare.
This time around, Buzz, Woody, and the gang are now toys of little Bonnie. I’m sure everyone remembers that cute little girl that Andy handed them off to and left millions around the world in tears. Well, Bonnie is a wonderful little kid who loves her toys, but Woody (Tom Hanks) is an old cowboy doll and he’s not often picked for play time. Plus, his roll as leader of the room is gone and that’s a huge adjustment. Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the rest try to keep his spirits up, but he needs purpose. So, he decides to sneak in Bonnie’s bag to kindergarten with her on her first day. When things start to go poorly and she begins to feel left out, Woody sneaks her a bunch of supplies out of the trash to boost her creativity.
Well, one of the items that Woody provides is a spork and Bonnie makes it into a little person. Which is sweet in its own right, but the truly amazing thing is that the little spork comes to life as an actual toy when Bonnie is gone. The silly toy, named “Forky”, is one of the most clever and hilarious parts of this film. Yet, he’s not only responsible for a series of clever gags, but also helps Woody discover purpose in a world that feels lost to him. Which, in turn, leads him on a magical adventure outside the toy box and into the world of lost toys. I won’t reveal what happens from this point on, but I will exclaim that it is darn near perfect!
New characters like Forky (Tony Hale), Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), Ducky & Bunny (Key & Peele), and Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) are all so good they could have their own movies. Yet, it’s really am old friend that steals the show. Bo Peep’s return in this film is not just some token cameo, but a fully fledged partner to Woody and the greatest challenge of his life. The dynamic between Woody and Bo is something that’s not really been explored in this franchise. And it’s truly wonderful to watch them compliment and challenge one another.
The whole film leads itself to another beautiful and emotional ending that will forever be etched in the consciousness of my psyche. These films are more than just entertaining and funny stories about toys (this one is the funniest BTW). They are beautiful meditations on life and the many phases that shape what makes life the experience it is. Pixar has done it again with this near masterpiece. Don’t miss it!