When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
On The Road Of Life, There Are Old Friends, New Friends, And Stories That Change You.
It could be argued that Toy Story 3 tied up the franchise perfectly, with a giant, emotional bow. Despite not really needing a fourth installment, how many of us wouldn’t jump at the change to spend just a little more time with Woody and pals again?
Toy Story 4 carries the toys from Andy – who’s all grown and gone off to college – into Bonnie’s world, where she’s just about to start kindergarten. Noting that Bonnie is traumatised by the thought of entering the world alone, Woody (Hanks) sneaks to orientation day with her. When she doesn’t make any friends, our cowboy secretly saves the day – and she literally makes a new friend of her own: Forky.
Forky becomes her ride or die, very much against his will – and Woody makes it his life’s mission to keep Forky and Bonnie together, at all costs. You see, Woody recognises how important toys are to children and how they help to form life long memories. Sadly, Woody senses that he might be on the out himself, having been left in the cupboard three times that week alone.
When Bonnie and family go on a road trip before kindergarten starts for real, the toys come along for the ride. You’re expecting an epic adventure, aren’t you? Well, buckle up, kids – because Forky and Woody get separated from the group, find themselves in hot water, meet up with some old friends (and an old flame) and make some new ones. This is a ride and a half and let me assure you, we might not have needed this movie – but it is utterly magical and heaps of fun.
Woody of course meets up with Bo Beep (Potts) again (we recap on their heartbreaking separation at the beginning of the movie) and she’s a hardcore survivalist now, identifying as a ‘lost toy’. Along with her rag tag crew of misfit friends, she does what she needs to get by and is planning to get the heck out of dodge, just to see the big bad world beyond the RV park she finds herself in. Along with her sheep, Billy, Goat and Gruff, Bo hangs with Giggles McDimples (Ally Maki), an excellent new character molded on Polly Pocket.
When Forky is taken by an evil doll named Gabby Gabby (voiced by the high priestess Christina Hendricks) and her ventriloquist dummy henchmen, Woody must enlist Bo and team to help him get him back, before Bonnie wakes up and loses her shit. Gabby has a sinister endgame in mind and it involves something only Woody can give her. Will the gang get Forky back and rejoin the toys in time?
With the help of new characters, Duke Caboom (King of the World Keanu Reeves), Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (blog favourite Jordan Peele), the friends head off to take on Gabby in the Second Chance Antiques Store where she rules with an iron fist.
Honestly, there’s just something about Pixar and its not just the unbelievable quality of animation. It has something so many animated films just don’t have, a secret ingredient. I think it’s actual magic. How we all came to love these characters so much is obvious but how it gets under your skin every single time, that’s a gift. Woody, Buzz (Allen) and all the favourites could never fail to tug at the heartstrings.
I love the addition of Gabby Gabby, who takes her inspiration from Talky Tina, the antagonist from the The Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll“. Her heavies are amazing and the whole antique store aesthetic is so dreamy. I love her cabinet and her scenes with Forky, her hostage. Ducky and Bunny also add a welcome humour to proceedings and work well with the established crew. Obviously Caboom is a highlight, his tragic backstory is a running joke and it’s wonderful.
The fourth TS film gives a major character the closure he truly deserves and that’s beautiful. It’s a tearjerker to be sure but these are happy tears, I swear. I can’t wait to see it again.