on Toy Story 4
mildest of spoilers incoming but I just got out of Toy Story 4 and wanted to share a snippet of my review. It’ll be posted sometime this weekend on Cultofwhatever.com but in the meantime…
Toy Story 4 is all about Woody, but when you think about it, the whole franchise is:
Toy Story 1 dealt with Woody’s insecurity as Andy’s favorite; Buzz was just there to service Woody’s story.
Toy Story 2 forced Woody to contemplate the possibility of not being needed anymore and to make a decision to be proactive or reactive. He chooses to be reactive and stay with Andy till the bitter end. With that his character arc from movie one is complete but as you can read, that arc ends on kind of a downer note. I mean, the second movie literally closes with Woody and Buzz basically saying “we’re with him till he’s through with us.” That’s kind of sad, no?
Toy Story 3 took the presumption of Toy Story 2 and made it a reality. Andy grew up and no longer needed his toys, specifically Woody. The movie seemed to end on a happy note as the gang was given away to a new kid. Thus the movie was about being replaced and learning to let go of one owner to be embraced by a new. In hindsight, that’s also kind of a sad ending, since Bonnie will eventually grow up, and so will the next kid, and the next. Are these toys doomed to a cycle of “acceptance, love, dismissal, acceptance, love, dismissal, etc” forever?
Thus Toy Story 4.
This movie is also about letting go but from a deeper, more personal perspective. Throughout this series the one constant has been Woody’s determination to put his “kid” first. He’s been the workhorse, the go-getter, the selfless leader. But in finding Bo and realizing that he could be happy without a kid, coupled with Bonnie pulling an Andy and starting to grow out of her dependence on him, Woody makes the decision to let go…not just of his kid but of being a kid’s toy. He closes the loop and exits the circle. He takes the endings of all three movies and brings them to a fitting conclusion.
I won’t say it’s the best Toy Story movie, because it isn’t. Truth be told it’s probably the weakest of the four, but the three it’s compared to are some of the best movies ever made, especially parts two and three, so the bar it had to reach was humongously high.
It’s a 9/10 movie in a series of 10/10 movies.