I think it’s OK to talk about this movie because we should be all cried out now. I want to start this review by saying that I really want this to be the OFFICIAL LAST TOY STORY. Don’t fake us out and say this is the last one and later make a prequel or a spin off. This is it and I don’t need anymore, thank you.
I did not anticipate that we would be starting in the past. I sat down in the theater and was ready to start with Bonnie and was thoroughly confused when I saw that we were starting in the past. As the scene progressed, it made sense and was much better than doing a flashback later when Woody meets up with Bo. The opening scene is the epitome of who Woody is as a toy. Woody is a “no-toy-left-behind” type of toy (I’m trying my best not to say person here) and they go to extreme lengths to get that car toy back. I almost forgot how perfect Woody and Bo were for each other.
We move to the present with Bonnie and Andy’s toys getting acquainted to the routine of Bonnie’s toys. There’s a major shift of power here and it’s made apparent by, my new favorite toy, Dolly, and how she runs the room when Bonnie is away. My favorite line in the film, because I’m a weird person, is when Woody wants to talk to Dolly and she says, “Can’t you see I’m threatening people?” Laughed WAY too hard at that. This was also the first time that we see Woody not in charge of the room. It is made abundantly clear that Dolly knows Bonnie better than all the other toys. Also, the fact that she mentions that Bonnie always forgets something was something that could have easily been a throw away line but it was crucial in the film because there were many times that the toys could do what they needed to do because Bonnie forgot something.
I think this film is more so a full circle film. When we started Toy Story, we were introduced to the idea that toys have a life outside of their owner. They have friendships, personalities and a loyalty to their owner. We also get to see what happens when the favorite toy has competition. First time we see that. We’ll talk about how that manifests itself in this film in a few. In Toy Story 2, we explored what could happen to a classic toy like Woody if lost. This is where we start to see the idea of lost toys manifest. Toy Story 3, probably the most heart wrenching of the four, deals with what happens when you give your toys away and what happens to a toy who may have been thrown away or neglected. See what I’m getting at here? All of these lessons that we’ve learned throughout the first three films were reintroduced to us in a way that lead us to Woody’s retirement, if you will.
When we start the film. Woody is grappling with the idea that he isn’t the favorite toy anymore and the fact that Bonnie is not Andy. Although it was his idea to go to Bonnie’s, he’ still reminiscing on his days with Andy. Later, he runs into his long lost love. Bo Peep. and finds out the dangers and excitement of being a lost toy. Even further in the movie, we see how Gabby Gabby, Duke Caboom, Duck and Bunny all deal with the loss or neglect from a child. They all long for what Woody once had and have all been “put out to pasture” or forgotten about. Gabby Gabby is so desperate that she has been in that antique shop for years torturing toys and plotting on pull string toys just so she can be loved by a child. Toy Story 4 really explores the idea of what happens when you go on that road trip and accidentally leave your doll behind. What becomes of the doll? How do those random action figures get buried in the sandbox at the park? What we find is that toys like Bo Peep and Giggle McDimples have created a life outside of having an owner. For them, it’s about the open road, adventure and opportunity to not be confined by a child’s room. To use a cliche, the world is their playground, literally.
I have to detour to talk about my favorite joke. Buttercup is the unicorn that, like Mr. Potato Head, has a crass sense of humor for the kind of toy he is. The joke where his plan was for Dad to go to jail was hilarious until it actually happened and Dad got pulled over. Again, laughed WAY too hard in the theater. Mind you, I went by myself because one, I don’t have kids and two, if you haven’t lived through all the movies, why am I taking you?
The realization that you don’t have to have an owner in order to be useful was news to Woody and I’m glad that the love of his life could show him that lesson. In the end, it was better for Woody to do what he does best but for all kids and not just Andy. Kids grown up and move on, as we saw in the opening scene and in later films with Andy, but that doesn’t mean the end of a toy’s livelihood. The toys, like humans, have to evolve and adapt to changes and this was a good way to teach that to the youngins.
So here’s the reason why we need this to be the last Toy Story. We’ve been through the four phases of toys, with Woody as our leader. Personally, there isn’t an adventure I want to go on without Woody and Buzz, but more so Woody. I think we’ve exhausted all the adventure of toys.
For months, I had been wondering what the last line of the film would be because Tom Hanks said he could not get through that last line. I definitely thought it would be “So long partner” because this is a Woody centric movie but I appreciated that the last time was “To infinity and beyond.” It gave us this longing that tugged on our heartstrings and for many of us who grew up with these movies, this line meant the world to us.
Below is a video I found explaining the role and personality of each toy in Toy Story. Toy Story 4 is on Disney+ so go on, watch it again and cry.