By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
* Spoiler Alert
In Toy Story 4, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the gang find life with a new playmate generally good. It’s been a few years now, and these days, it’s Jessie (Joan Cusack) whom Bonnie plays with more. The sheriff knows his purpose is to keep the new owner safe. After witnessing her reluctance to go to preschool, he has a new mission.
Kids grow up. Bonnie is not keen on going to school. Also, she has not been playing with Woody as much, and her latest toy, Forky (voiced by Tony Hale), provides a better safety net. I swear, he must be PIXAR’s version of Gumby. She made him out of a spork, reed pipe cleaner, putty and popsicle sticks. Tony Hale is hilarious as a new sentient toy with an existential crisis. Instincts guide him and he’s not even aware he’s a toy. Had this film explained how he came to life, it’d ruin the magic.
All we need to know is that Forky makes Bonnie happy. One rule of this fairy tale world must involve why these toys exist. They exist to make children happy and are also guardians. Instead of those of Celtic design, they are universal. As Woody explains the days of being with Andy, my theory is plausible and Forky gets to understand his purpose.
To be loved is key. Also, to know when it’s time to move on is just as important. Woody’s journey with Andy ended in the third film and I wasn’t sure if a fourth film was needed. I was pleasantly entertained at how writers Andrew Stanton (who had co-written the first three films), Stephany Folsom, John Lasseter, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Valerie LaPointe, and Martin Hynes wraps up Woody’s journey too. Ever since the first film, the tale has always focussed on him, and to see the return of Bo-Peep (Annie Potts) sums it up.
Though a few questions are raised, namely in will Bonnie notice his disappearance, hopefully, that can be answered in an animated short come Christmas time than anything else. To see this series continue in with shorts is fine by me. Thankfully, PIXAR is only interested in continuing when there’s the right story to tell. They won’t do it for the money. It’s for the heart, and I’m content to see the toy box closed for now.
4 Stars out of 5