First Time Watching: Toy Story 4

The original Toy Story was a staple of my childhood. I never fulled embraced Toy Story 2 and can’t remember if I’ve even seen the whole movie from start to finish. I watched Toy Story 3 in my dorm room at school with about six other people – it was a snug fit – and our collective review of it boiled down to one word – morbid.

Additionally, I once had to convince a child that Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were, indeed, movies that existed because he vehemently insisted that Toy Story 3 was the only movie in the series.

That quickly sums up my Toy Story history.

Before I go any further, you should know that I liked this movie. I enjoyed watching it. Just keep that in mind.

Now, I’m not here to retell the plot. I’m just going to pick out certain aspects of the movie and comment on them. If you understand what I’m talking about, great! If not, just enjoy the ride.

The Beginning

The whole time jump thing confused me and I didn’t realize until I was well into the movie that the opening scenes, where Bo was donated, was years ago (the internet says nine years).

Frankly, I am still confused by it. That was nine years ago, but it happened after Toy Story 2 and before Toy Story 3, and now the “real time” of this movie is two years after the toys were given to Bonnie.

I’m good at math, but this is a head-spinner.

For a while, I even thought that Bonnie might be Andy’s daughter, but then I got a good look at her Dad and decided that Andy couldn’t possibly be middle-aged yet.

Forky

I didn’t like Forky.

Bonnie is starting Kindergarten and no one sits with her on Orientation Day. She makes a “toy” out of a spork, pipe-cleaners, googly eyes, and a popsicle stick. Basically, the necessities for every craft ever made at school.

Forky comforts her and makes her happy, which is great.

Then, Forky comes to life and is put through his own orientation by none other than Woody. Woody spends a lot of time and energy trying to convince this spork that he is a toy and not trash.

The character arc with Forky was all fine and well. To me, though, the character almost felt like a slap in the face to what Toy Story is. It felt like the movie knew it was in its last week of school before graduating, so they stopped caring about anything and created a ridiculous character to whom they gave a featured role.

I don’t know. It just felt like the movie was laughing at me.

Like, “HA! We know that no matter what story we tell, you’re going to sit there and watch it because we hooked you with nostalgia at a young age, so here’s a spork!”

If this was the last Toy Story movie (I’m never convinced any movie series is over), then it would’ve been nice to see the familiar cast of toys in a more prominent role than being stuck on an RV the whole time.

Sure, we got Woody, Buzz, and Bo Peep. Everyone else felt like a cameo, though. I didn’t like that. I wanted one last hurrah with the characters that made this movie series so iconic.

Gabby Gabby

Gabby Gabby is the main antagonist of the movie because all children’s movies need one! She is a pull-string doll that has been sitting in an Antique Shop for a very long time because she has a defective voice box.

Darn that manufacturer!

She longs to have a kid of her own, but is always left on the shelf because of her defect. It’s sad, really.

The entire store is her playground and the other toys are afraid of her. She employs creepy-looking ventriloquist dummies, who like a bunch of Jimmy Neutrons dressed up as Peewee Herman for Halloween, as her henchmen.

When she sees Woody and Forky stumble into her lair, she sees it as an opportunity to kidnap Forky and take Woody’s voice box from him.

By the end of the movie, she has extracted Woody’s voice box and swapped it with her own. What in the world!? And I thought the last movie was morbid.

When she is once again rejected by the store owner’s granddaughter, Harmony, Woody feels bad for her and decides to invite her along, so she can live with Bonnie.

I feel like Harmony should have been forced to give a post-movie press conference to explain what she didn’t like about Gabby Gabby. Play it during the credits. The people want answers. Or maybe just me.

Anyway, Gabby never makes it to Bonnie because she sees a lost kid at the carnival and decides to be there for them. And the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes.

All in all, Gabby was a good villain.

As an adult, I can watch this and see the lesson in it. Gabby was a bully who kidnapped cutlery and cut out a voice box because she had her own insecurities. It’s not because she was a bad toy. All she ever wanted was the love that Woody received.

That’s the classic lesson children’s shows teach about bullies, right?

Do children actually pick up on these lessons, though? Or do they just watch and see Gabby Gabby as a big meanie?

We need a focus group.

Woody

Woody is collecting dust bunnies in Bonnie’s closet because she doesn’t like playing with him. She’d rather play with her other toys and cutlery.

Woody misses Andy. As a result, he tries to fill his time with tasks that are unnecessary. It’s very unhealthy. He’s avoiding his emotions and just going at 100mph in order to keep his mind on something else.

He is a helicopter cowboy from the Bay Area who can’t help but poke his nose into everyone’s business because he thinks he can make everything better. Every problem has a solution and gosh darn it, Woody is going to be the one who finds that solution!

If you want to know why Woody is named Woody, it’s because when a situation arises and you ask yourself, “Would he or won’t he get involved?” The answer is always “would he” aka “Woody”.

That was a phonetic joke. Laugh!

This movie was The Woody Show. He was doing too much.

Even I thought to myself, “Woody is occupying his time with as much as he can because he’s missing Andy and doesn’t want to confront his feelings.”

AND THEN, the movie confirmed that for me. That was exactly what was going on.

You know how sometimes in high school they showed you a movie and the teacher pressed pause and asked the class what the character was trying to portray, or what subconscious message was trying to be conveyed to the viewer, and the students would say a bunch of things that the teacher deemed correct and worthy writing down?

And you’re left wondering, is that really what the movie wants us to take away from this scene, or are we just thinking too hard?

WELL, Adult Paul is here to say I picked up exactly what this movie was putting down. Boom.

Woody has never been my favourite character in the Toy Story series. I don’t dislike him. He can just get a bit annoying very quickly. The sky is always falling with him.

I have more to say about Woody and will get to it shortly. But first, Big Bad Bo Peep.

Bo Peep

We haven’t really seen Bo Peep since the first movie. I’ll admit, I didn’t know that until now. Thank you, internet. I guess that explains the opening scenes that were a flashback to Bo Peep being donated.

They were explaining to us (the viewer) why she was MIA in the last film. That makes sense. I’m still partially confused, though.

Bo was totally content in leaving Woody and the gang behind. Woody thought he could stop her because he always saves the day, but he couldn’t. She left.

Now, Bo Peep is a lost toy. She was sent to the Antique Shop, but escaped, because Gabby Gabby was Bully Bully.

She is just out in the world, scavenging like Michonne in Season 2 of The Walking Dead. Michonne had two walkers tied together as bodyguards, Bo has three sheep. It’s the exact same thing.

However, I think Bo sees herself more as a world traveller, than someone who is just scraping by and trying to survive out in the world. Good for her. I don’t hate it. I don’t know Bo. If she wants to live the nomad lifestyle and be a quasi-influencer, go for it.

Woody & Bo sitting in not-an-RV

At the end of the movie, after reconnecting with Woody, Bo makes it clear to him that she’s not going with him to live with Bonnie. She likes being a lost toy. Her love for Woody isn’t enough to make her change her mind and get on the RV with everyone else.

So, Woody makes the split-second decision to abandon all of his friends, and his kid, to be the Rick Grimes to Bo Peep’s Michonne, and live her lifestyle.

Mr. “You got a friend in me” just turned heel.

He’s abandoning Buzz. To infinity and be–nope. No more of that. To infinity and be yawned.

He’s abandoning Slink – after all Slink has done for him!

He’s abandoning Rex. Good luck finding another Rex in your life, Woody!

He’s abandoning Ham. How could he? No Ham left behind, right? Wrong.

He’s abandoning The Mr. Potato Head. Woody may never laugh again.

I hope he’s sure this is what he wants because Woody strikes me as someone who likes to know where he’s sleeping every night and what he’s eating for breakfast the next morning. He lays his clothes out at night. He’s not the “make it up as I go” type.

Woody is fighting abandonment issues and now that he’s found someone who “abandoned” him, he doesn’t want to let them go and feel that way again. So, he’ll stay with Bo and this time, he’ll be the one abandoning others. It will hurt less.

I give Woody and Bo three months before they call it quits and Woody makes the long trek down a highway back to Bonnie’s house. Tell Slink to be on standby – he’ll have to pull Woody through the window, again.

The Humans Are Oblivious

The humans in these movies don’t pay attention. Toys are moving and talking and disappearing and reappearing, and these people don’t notice a thing.

Not once do they say, “Hey, we didn’t leave all these toys clustered together on the table in a nice formation, as if they are on display at a store.” Nope, none of that.

Bonnie wakes up in the morning and can’t find Forky. He’s not on her bed. She looks to her right, she looks to her left, Forky is thrown on the bed, Bonnie looks to her right again – “FORKY!!”

NO! He was not there one second ago. Your eyes looked there already! And your parents did, too!

And yet, ZERO SUSPICIONS.

That’s the charm of the entire series, though.

No one likes the person who doesn’t say, “Who’s There?” when you say “Knock Knock”. Don’t beat me to the punch line, just go with it.

That’s what Toy Story is. You go with it, even though the toys are literally moving on the ground(!!!) around a bunch of humans, who apparently have terrible peripheral vision.

Conclusion

As I said at the beginning, I liked the movie. I enjoyed watching it. Don’t read too much into me freaking out about things like the future of Woody and Bo, or the humans being oblivious.

That’s just me being me and having fun dissecting things that aren’t supposed to be dissected. It’s what I do with movies and TV shows. Otherwise, I’d probably fall asleep writing a traditional review.

If this was the final Toy Story movie, I’m fine with how it ended.

Do I think there will be a 5th instalment one day? Yes. Maybe not for another 10 years, but it’ll happen. The four movies came out in 1995, 1999, 2010, and 2019, respectively.

They locked up three generations with four movies. Don’t think they won’t come back with another Toy Story for the next generation, while simultaneously cashing in on the lingering nostalgia deep within the rest of us. All it takes is one person with an idea for the fifth film and they’ll be off and running.

There is a Buzz Lightyear spin-off coming next year called, Lightyear. I’m sure it’ll either get a sequel, or we’ll see another spin-off by 2026.

Sorry, I’m just here strategically planning the next 10 years of Pixar movies, ensuring that the interest in the Toy Story universe doesn’t wane, while also maintaining a level of anticipation for something new. Anticipation sells tickets and puts butts in movie theatre seats.

I’ll end it with that.

Have you seen Toy Story 4? What did you think of it? Did you like Forky?

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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5 Responses to First Time Watching: Toy Story 4

  1. I skipped over your insta video in anticipation of this post lol thank you for not making me regret that choice! Great breakdown of the movie!

    I’ve gotta say though, I liked the first one the best and have no desire to watch the others more than once just to say I watched them lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. peckapalooza says:

    For me, Toy Story 4 is just meh… I didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. But I think a lot of that goes with my mindset that Toy Story 3 put a bow on a trilogy. The 4th movie just feels like an unnecessary coda to a franchise that already gave me closure.

    Liked by 1 person

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