REVIEW: Pixar’s Toy Story 4

When the first Toy Story movie came out in 1995, it changed the game for animation forever. The last time we saw the toys in Toy Story 3, Andy handed the gang off to Bonnie. This time, we get to see what happens to them when she starts going to kindergarten. Most of our story takes place during the family’s summer road trip after Bonnie’s orientation. This is a super fun movie and I’m really glad I saw it. Be prepared to say goodbye.

MPAA Rating: G

Kathryn’s Rating: Enjoyed it. At least for this Pixar fan.

Can I be completely honest with you? I initially scoffed at the idea when Pixar announced that they were working on Toy Story 4 and was bitter about it for a very long time. I looked at it as another cash grab. Little did I know that after watching this movie, it would be the proper closure I truly needed. There was something off about Toy Story 3 that I couldn’t pin down in 2010. Despite the fact that it remained my favorite Toy Story film for the past 9 years. All of the questions I had were answered in this movie.

This movie primarily focuses on Woody, Bo, and the new toys. The other toys are there but they don’t take center stage as they used to since they haven’t necessarily been demoted. This movie is also really for the older fans who have grown up with the franchise. Similar to Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, it has taken us 24 years of story to get to this point. The younger kids at my theater enjoyed themselves but I’m sure they didn’t catch on to some of the underlying themes that the team wove in.

Toy Story 4 tackles a lot. We get to see how toys react when they’re demoted and/or left behind. Some handle it better than others. At one of end of the spectrum, you have characters like Bo who have taken the challenge head-on and make the most of every situation. Then you have characters like Gabby Gabby who are extremely vulnerable. Woody has a mid-life crisis and represents all of us who struggle with finding a sense of purpose. Forky doesn’t know why he’s a toy but ultimately figures out what role he has. You get to see them deal with their insecurities and worst fears and some of it hits home really fast.

Word of advice? Don’t see it in the morning unless you’re prepared to deal with your emotions that early. I saw it at 9 o’clock and didn’t realize the mess I’d be in after. Please stay for the entire length of the film. They chuck in so many gems in the end credits that I highly advise you to stay put until the lights come back on. The touching tributes for Don Rickles (voice of Mr. Potato Head) and Adam Burke (animator) don’t come until the end of the scroll. Keep an eye out for them.

When I started writing this review, I stared at the screen because I hadn’t processed everything yet. As someone who grew up with this franchise, I wasn’t necessarily prepared to say goodbye. Heck, I thought my final goodbye was 9 years ago. These toys mean a lot to me and I’m glad we got to see them in a full feature one last time. I had some issues with it but I’m not going to bring those up here. That’ll be another article. We don’t know if this is going to be the last Toy Story movie because the creative team has left that open for us to decide.

But if that happens to be the case, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for creating something really special and for always being there. The Toy Story franchise has certainly come a long way since it started production in 1993. The animation for this movie is unlike any other Toy Story movie before, since technology has finally caught up with them.

To those of you who are about to go off and see it, enjoy it. Enjoy it for what it is. Even if you ultimately decide you’re not a fan of it at least take home one thing: YES YOU CANADA!

P.S. Don’t forget to look out for the easter eggs.