Something about being an adult – possibly all the bills, heartbreak and responsibility, just a wild guess – makes all of us crave the simplicity of childhood. For that reason, it was exciting to see a resurgence of the Toy Story timeline. Toy Story remains to this day one of my favorite Pixar films. Not only visually interesting to watch, but the storyline has always been so full of heart. Whether it was discovering the joys of new friendship or the pain of rejection, Toy Story has been about fulfilment and what that looks like. Although Toy Story 4 loosely follows along these tropes, it feels like an unnecessary addition to the franchise.
Just as we question the necessity of this installment, Woody is questioning his place in Bonnie’s room. No longer the favorite toy, Woody has a hard time adjusting and finding a purpose. That is, until a lonely Bonnie creates Forky – created from a spork taken from the trash, googly eyes and pipe cleaner. Forky unexpectedly came to life but only has one priority in mind, returning to the trash. Woody being the noble toy he always has been takes on the personal responsibility of keeping Forky out of the trash and in the loving embrace of Bonnie.
The number one issue I had with Toy Story 4 remains that there was just entirely too much going on. Because of the introduction of so many new characters, the toys we know and love were pushed to the side. Buzz and the gang had minutes of screen time throughout the whole film. The moments they did receive felt more like a plot device as opposed to character development. However, it’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy moments throughout this film. Keanu Reeves as Duke Kaboom was absolutely hilarious. His presence didn’t add much to the film but I laughed every moment he was on screen – especially whenever he was speaking on his previous child before becoming a donated toy.
Lacking in the emotional tonality of its predecessors, Toy Story 4 was far from a necessary addition but contained many of the elements we have come to know and love from a decent Pixar film.