After the nearly perfect closure Toy Story 3 (which scored a Best Picture nomination) back in 2010, John Lasseter (first two Toy Story movies, A Bug’s Life, Cars series), right before his departure from the studio, writes with Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E, Finding Dory), incorporating inputs from Pete Docter (Monster Inc., Up, Inside Out) and Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3, Coco) along with Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, to craft a story—a pure passion for the love of the characters. After some rewrites and the departure of Lasseter, leaving Josh Cooley (Head of Story in Inside Out) with sole directorial duty, Pixar has literally gone “to infinity and beyond” with Toy Story 4—a story that feels more than some expansion, but rather a completion.
Toy Story 4 is undoubtedly a product of love—not business or formality. There is no room for redundancy nor repetition. It even begins with a lost chapter, a story that was only implied in Toy Story 3, about how the shepherd girl, Bo Peep (Annie Potts) parted way with Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and other Andy’s toys, Bo Peep’s story makes a juxtaposition with Woody & Buzz et al which were eventually passed on to another kid named Bonnie. From there, Toy Story 4 delivers us to the new adventure about moving on, about fulfilling new duty for new kids and, most importantly, about finding a place where the toys really belong.
The whole story of Toy Story 4 makes a perfect epilogue to the trilogy. Where each movie of the trilogy bears pieces of puzzle to complete each other in highlighting how the toys connect with Andy, the fourth movie takes a step further forward and see the events in Andy’s house as a collective memory . It’s more of a story that gives homage to the toy that has been there from the beginning: Woody. Without a direct connection to Andy, Woody becomes the quintessential soul to cherish the memory and, suddenly, the whole point of view in Toy Story saga is reversed with this epilogue.
The whole story of Toy Story 4 makes a perfect epilogue to the trilogy. Where each movie of the trilogy bears pieces of puzzle to complete each other in highlighting how the toys connect with Andy, the fourth movie takes a step further forward and sees the events in Andy’s house as a collective memory. It’s more of a story that gives homage to the toy that has been there from the beginning: Woody. Without a direct connection to Andy, Woody becomes the quintessential soul to cherish the memory and, suddenly, the whole point of view in Toy Story saga is reversed with this epilogue.
Delivered in a three-act structure, the fourth installment follows Woody as he gets played less and less Bonnie. Situation changes when Forky (voiced by Tony Hale) arrives. Crafted and brought to life by Bonnie during her first day of kindergarten, the spork with acute identity crisis suddenly becomes Bonnie’s most important toys; and among other toys, only Woody is aware of that. Without enough playtime, his only goal suddenly turns to baby-sit Forky because that’s the only thing he can do to overcome his own identity crisis and, at the same time, dedicate himself for the kid. That brings Woody to the second act: the plastic rom-com, which undoubtedly is a total fun-ride. The reunion with Bo Peep brings another discourse about “the lost toy” bringing about arguments and certain conflicts. Yet, even in the movie’s most mature narrative, Toy Story never ceases to amaze the audiences with jests and witticism.
While the reunion is the main course, the new characters introduced in this chapter are as precious as other characters we’ve been familiar with—from Jessie, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, Rex, Hamm, and Slinky Dog to Dolly, Trixie, Buttercup and other toys from Bonnie’s closet. Bo Peep will introduce Keanu Reeves’ Duke Caboom is a traumatized stunt biker toy; meanwhile, Buzz will meet the dynamic duo, Bunny and Ducky (voiced by Key & Peele). Then comes Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), a 1950s doll, which leads a band of ventriloquist dummies. When it comes to Gabby Gabby’s territory, imagine the horror of Sid’s room in the first Toy Story or Lotso’s prison in Toy Story 3 but with some Goosebumps ambiance. Even, with storage of new toys with new conflicts, everything leads to the movie’s most quintessential third act which will linger long after the credit rolls.
When it comes to Toy Story, it’s always a heartfelt, heartbreaking yet heartwarming ride. And, Toy Story 4 is able to deliver all those feelings to you as you recall the good ol’ memories with Woody, Buzz and friends. We have no idea if it will actually be the final goodbye; but for now, it’s a perfect closure for the sheriff’s tale.