A Parent’s Review of Toy Story 4

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All the kids love a great adventure of toys and their favorite heroes, so it’s no wonder that the fourth sequel exists today! Not to mention how all the 90s kids are thrilled that they can once again see their childhood heroes on the big screen, but that’s not whos this is all about. All three prequels, Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 were a major success for Pixar, and Toy Story 4 is not an exception. And even though this sequel of great adventures of life-like toys is continued, is it really once again a great hit among all the generations? And how suitable is this film for little kids to enjoy without being exposed to something not as age-appropriate?

Toy Story 4 Summary

Toy Story 4 is a direct sequel to Toy Story 3 and it is directed by Josh Cooley. Once again, we can see our dear old friends and heroes Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang, embarking on a new adventure. During this adventure, Woody is reunited with his old friend Bo Peep, a porcelain figure that belonged to Andy’s sister Molly who she gave away. Woody did consider going with her, but he realized Andy still needed him and stayed with him until Andy outgrows his toys and gives them to Bonnie. However, Bonnie has little interest in Woody and has her own favorite toy, Forky, who joins Woody and the gang on their adventure. 

One day, when Bonnie’s family goes on a road trip, Forky tries to escape and jumps out of the RV and Woody pursues him. He then persuades him to go back because he means a lot to Bonnie, and Forky returns. As they near the RV park where Bonnie and her family are staying, Woody spots his old friend Bo Peep. However, since Bo is in the antique shop where an old ventriloquist doll Gabby Gabby captures Forky. But after reuniting, Bo decides to join Woody and help him rescue Forky. Meanwhile, Buzz is searching for Woody and he becomes a carnival game prize at a fairground. Luckily, he manages to escape and meet up with Woody and Bo. In the end, Woody and his friends manage to save Forky, and Woody agrees to give his voice box to Gabby Gabby in exchange for Forky, but the removal of the voice box left Woody a broken toy. 

The whole adventure reaches an end where Woody and Bo have to share a bittersweet goodbye. Woody is hesitant to leave, but Buzz ensures him that Bonnie will be alright without him, so Woody stays with Bo.

Image of Buzz Lightyear metal statue

Toy Story 4 Review

After that detailed Toy Story 4 summary, there are some questions raised. The first one of them is if we really needed to know about what happened after the heartbreaking ending of the prequel. Apparently, yes, all the parents and children needed to know what came next and what was the new adventure of their old friends. Not to mention how Pixar has excelled again in their animation and storyline, which any child can easily follow. What is more, they have added some great new characters that were really brought to life by the actors that gave their voices to them, including Duke Caboom (voiced by Keanu Reeves) and his never-ending but not so successful stunts. 

The storyline and quirky new and old characters are certainly suitable for an audience of all ages, but there are some things parents need to know before playing this to their child. There are some mildly scary scenes, because of the slightly creepy ventriloquist doll and there are numbers of close calls and rescue and escape missions. So, if you know your child is easily spooked or is too young for such surprises, wait until they are a bit older. However, even though Gabby Gabby, the ventriloquist doll, is a bit unsettling, her subplot carries a massively positive message. Her story lets us see that if you take time to fix what’s “wrong” with you, you will become more likely to be accepted and loved by others. Not only that, but her story involves plenty of empathy, and overall the movie still talks about emotions, friendships and loyalty, after all these years. 

On the other hand, more hardcore fans think that Toy Story 4 didn’t actually need to happen and the sequel feels not as coherent or emotionally compelling as the previous three. While Toy Stories 2 and 3 felt more like jigsaw pieces completing a bigger picture, the fourth one feels distinct and less essential. What bothers the fans the most is that Woody and Buzz are not together on the adventure, being buddies, like in previous films. Also, the Buzz’s storyline feels neglected and almost tacked on. 

However, despite Woody and Buzz not being in their buddy act together in this sequel, there is still plenty to enjoy in the Toy Story 4. There is plenty of new quirky characters introduced and there is a new buddy act with the confused Forky (voiced by Tony Hale). He is really messy but really loveable and quite playful and fun for kids to watch and follow on an adventure. What is more, he offers Woody a second chance and new purpose, since his new “owner” Bonnie doesn’t play with him as much as Andy did. 

What is more, Toy Story 4 is really funny and all the laughs are delivered the most by the new characters. This certainly gives your child a chance to see a diversity of toys and characters and sparks their imagination for creating their own toys or for playing with their old ones they have forgotten. 

It is more than safe to say that this sequel brings happiness and adventure to all of its fans. It may not be as emotionally developed as the previous films, but it brings new emotions, renewed friendships and plenty of surprises.

Author: Mary Lynn Holden
Author: Mary Lynn Holden

Proud mom and stepmom to an adorable bunch of kids aged 7 and up. Deeply appreciates three things in life: the help of older siblings in the house, texts on parenting, and strong coffee. Shares her stories and experiences in order to help others navigate the unpredictable waters of parenting.

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