Toy Story 4: New Toys, New Stories. . .Same Fun?

Photo Credits: Walt Disney Studios
Toy Story is one of my favorite movie franchises in entertainment - not just in the wonderful world of Disney / Pixar.  So when I first heard of Toy Story 4 in the making I ran through a number of emotions.  I was first excited at the idea of another adventure for Woody and Buzz, but then found myself questioning why they were making another movie when Toy Story 3 seemed to have the perfect ending.  As the time for release drew nearer, I followed some of my favorite bloggers who had the privilege to attend the press junket and see advanced screenings of the movie.  As they shared excitement around the film, I was literally ready to burst when June 21st came and it was time to load the family in the minivan and head to the movies.  But was it everything I wanted it to be?  Before I answer, let's take a look at what we knew from Walt Disney Studios ahead of the release.

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”), Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” ventures to U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.

I'm just going to say it, I wanted to love this one more than I did, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy parts of it.  It was awesome to see Bo back in action and more independent than you can imagine.  Proving that you don't need a kid in order to have a purpose, Bo Peep is a woman on a mission and knows how to get the job done.  I though Ducky and Bunny were hysterical and great additions.  Duke Caboom is another welcome face in the Toy Story family and the saying "Yes we Canada!" has already become a catch phrase in our house just hours after the film.  Forky was an acquired taste.  I wasn't keen on the character in the first part of the film, but he had grown on my by the end.  

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios
On the flip side, Gabby Gabby and her dummies terrified me.  After seeing Child's Play as a kid, I've always had a weird phobia about creepy dolls and these just fed into that.  Without spoiling the story, let's just say I wasn't keen on the Gabby Gabby storyline - particularly her interaction with Woody.  I also missed the connection between Woody and Buzz in this movie.  I didn't feel like they worked together as much in this one - and maybe that's part of the point of the film, but I loved that pair and wish they shared more of this adventure together.  And then there's the ending.  I've got mixed feelings on it.  There is part of me that is happy for Woody, but I also didn't see this coming and was a little surprised to see things wrap up this way.  While Toy Story 3 still has me crying at the end every single time, I felt extremely satisfied with how that ended, and I can't say the same here.

Overall, as a Toy Story fan, I'm glad I saw the movie, but I would honestly rank it as my least favorite of the Toy Story franchise - with Toy Story 3 being my favorite, followed by Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and now Toy Story 4.  My seven year old also asked a few times throughout the movie how much longer it was going to be - maybe it's just because he ran out of candy, but he didn't seem very engaged.  

So I'm anxious to hear your thoughts on the film! Share them in the comments below - I know my opinion is in the minority in the Disney universe right now and welcome the feedback on where you disagree with me.  In the meantime, don't forget that you can download FREE family activities here to enjoy and follow Toy Story 4 on social media.  To the movie theaters and beyond!

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