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‘Toy Story 4’ Review: Hilarious and Thoughtful Fun For Kids and Parents!
Toy Story 4 is a delightful addition to the Toy Story series. Both my 6-year old daughter and I loved it, but for slightly different reasons. Read on for my review of this fun film!
*we were hosted for this advance screening of Toy Story 4 in exchange for my honest review of the movie. This review reflects my true opinion of Toy Story 4.
The Heart Of Toy Story 4
The heart of Toy Story 4 is the existential dilemma faced by all the toys as they seek to answer the question, ‘What is my purpose?’ Woody is resolute as always but he is also beginning to doubt his value. You see, his new kid ‘Bonnie’ doesn’t really want to play with Woody. She prefers Annie or some of the other toys and Woody often gets left behind.
Clearly this upsets him because he doesn’t feel valued… well, that’s not it. He doesn’t feel.. useful.
So, Woody does what any aging toy would do, he takes matter into his own hands in an attempt to help Bonnie.. in an attempt to be, ‘useful.’ The result is ‘Forky.’ Forky is a character Bonnie makes from craft materials… stuff from the garbage can. You know, trash.
Forky is so loved by Bonnie and so important to her that he literally comes to life. Only he doesn’t recognize his purpose. He knows he is trash and doesn’t accept his calling. Clearly, Woody doesn’t agree and he does a great job of convincing Forky that the life of a toy is a noble pursuit, more noble than being trash.
Plot Twist, a Bit of Romance, and a Little Shop of Horrors
The opening scenes of Toy Story 4 tell the backstory of Bo. Little Bo Peep, the lamp that belonged to Andy’s sister and had a small part in Toy Story 1 and 2. Apparently, she is also the love of Woody’s life, the one who got away.
While trying to reunite Forky with Bonnie, Woody discovers that Bo is not as lost as he would have thought.
Cue girl empowerment moment. Bo is actually kind of a awesome. She is off doing her own thing, charting her course, taking no prisoners… she doesn’t need a kid to be useful. There are tons of kids who need toys to play with. She has the freedom to play with any kid she wants.
And that revelation startles the stuffing out of Woody.
Bo and Woody reunite to wrest Forky from a super scary antique store, complete with a creepy ventriloquist trio called ‘The Bensons’ and a defective doll named Gabby Gabby, who wants to be loved by a kid more than anything.
The chemistry between Woody and Bo is electric (for a Pixar Film). The morally compromised wanting of Gabby Gabby is infuriating.. until its endearing. The creepiness of ‘The Bensons’ will give you nightmares for a month.. no kidding.
The Comic Relief
My daughter was years away from being born when the first 3 Toy Story movies came out. I have to say though that Toy Story 4 had us both rolling on the floor laughing– for different reasons.
Forky is so clueless its adorable.
Ducky and Bunny go ‘there’.. multiple times… and it is crazy funny. Plus their voices are funny. As in, parents will snort at what they say. Your kids will laugh loudly at how they say it.
But Keanu Reeves, as Duke Caboom, literally steals the show. He is earnest, but vain. He has unrealistic ideas about what he is capable of, but he also suffers from severe self-doubt. Ultimately though he is clueless and adorable and you can’t help but root for him as he daredevils his way to helping toys reunite with the kids that love them.
Stay for the credits.. all of them. There are obvious one liners you will want to see (the last one is hilarious). But even the very last frame of the credits.. the one where the Pixar symbol re-emerges before the screen goes dark. Even that part of the credits has a rejoinder that will make you smile. It is the perfect callback. Bravo Disney! And yes.. it’s worth 10 minutes of credits to get to it. Trust me.
We loved Toy Story 4. It was fun and delightful and stirred up big questions in my middle age brain (What happens when I am not useful anymore? Is it time to reinvent myself too? Can I be happy even if I am not valued?) while providing tons of laughable moments for me and my young daughter.
We both highly recommend it!