Bonnie’s new toy unveils Woody’s existential crisis
At the end of Toy Story 3 we saw a grown-up Andy giving Woody and his toy-crew to Bonnie and we all thought the trilogy was complete: it felt like a bittersweet and touching farewell to Andy’s childhood. However, there was still something to explore.
Toy Story 4 begins some years after that farewell, with Bonnie about to start kindergarten and doing her first action as a little adult, by leaving her toys at home. Moreover, as every child in the world, Bonnie changed her interests over the years and she’s been often leaving Woody in the cupboard, convincing him that he’s not her favorite toy anymore.
However, the cowboy can detect her fears about the kindergarten and he wants to make sure she overcomes her first day with no traumas. Woody follows Bonnie at school and, as he sees her in a difficult situation, he provides her the tools to create a new friend: from some trashy (but safe) objects, Bonnie creates Forky, a spork (half spoon, half fork).
When Bonnie takes Forky home, he feels like a stranger in a room filled with cute manifactured toys and here’s where Woody finds his new mission: if Bonnie has a new favorite toy, he has to make sure that nothing happens to him.
Obviously, it won’t be easy: the spork tries to escape several times and the cowboy will be forced to involve Buzz Lightyear and the other toys to save him from dangerous situations. Forky will soon reveal himself as a scared but sensitive object who’s looking for his place in the world exactly as Woody is.
Written by Stephanie Folsom and Andrew Stanton and directed by Josh Cooley, Toy Story 4 debuts on June 21, 2019, in U.S. theaters and on June 26 worldwide.
The film is all about social identity and sense of belonging: for the first time, since 1995, we see Woody dealing with alienation and doubts on his role in the toybox. He never calls his loyalty to Bonnie into question, even if she doesn’t realize that the only toy she’s ignoring is always there for her. Woody’s ventures are unselfish acts of love through which he finds out more about himself and what he really wants. During this new adventure, the cowboy meets old and new friends (Bo Peep, Ducky, Bunny, Duke Caboom and Gabby Gabby) with different backstories: some of them got lost, others are still looking for their first little owner, but all of them are busy making the best of the life they’ve been given.
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen return as the voices of Woody and Buzz and they’re joined by Tony Hale (Forky), Annie Potts (Bo Peep), Keegan-Michael Key (Ducky), Jordan Peele (Bunny), Christina Hendricks (Gabby Gabby) and Keanu Reeves (Duke Caboom).
As crazy as it sounds, in Toy Story 4 we realize our favorite toys are facing their personal growth exactly as their owners, but this is not necessarily a bad thing: if you know Toy Story, you’re also familiar with laughs and tears. Maybe the series reached its peak with the third chapter, but this one is nothing less than beautiful.
As it always happens at the end of each film, no matter your age, you’ll want to bring out of the basement your old toybox and hug your toys once again.