Warning: This article contains spoilers for Toy Story 4.
Years ago, Pixar released the newest film to the Toy Story series. Many believed that Toy Story 3 would be the last movie to follow the story of the adorable group of toys. However this year, fans of all ages are able to relive their childhood memories in theaters, thanks to the release of the newest film Toy Story 4. All of the original actors (along with some new voices) returned for the final Toy Story movie, with the exception of the late Don Rickles, who plays Mr. Potato Head. Though Rickles was not able to voice new dialogue for the film, Pixar pieced together archived recordings, until they had enough to cover the entirety of the film.
The endearing cast of characters entertains the audience once again. Woody (Tom Hanks) is experienced with working with children because he was Andy’s favorite childhood toy. Before Andy moved to college, he donated his toys to a little girl named Bonnie, who played with the toys during day camp in the third movie. Now, Woody finds himself in a difficult spot in this film, as he is no longer the “favorite toy”. Bonnie frequently plays with Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the rest of the toys while Woody sits alone, gathering dust in the closet. One significant addition to the group of toys is Forky (Tony Hale). Because Forky is a googly-eyed spork that Bonnie found in the trash can, he initially tries to avoid being a toy. During a road trip with Bonnie’s family, Forky jumps out the window of a moving RV. Being as ambitious as he is, Woody finds himself searching for Forky and trying to explain to him that he is now Bonnie’s favorite toy and that he needs to be there for her to play with. Though it takes quite a while, Forky eventually agrees, and the two toys walk towards the RV park, where a carnival is taking place.
Later on in the film, Woody spots a familiar lamp through the windowsill of an antique store. The lamp originally belonged to Andy’s sister and reminded Woody of Bo-Peep, a toy who was moved to another home in the first movie. Woody and Forky venture into the antique store, only to encounter scary ventriloquist dolls and a vintage toy named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks). It is later revealed that Gabby Gabby was made with broken voice box, and she chases Woody around in pursuit of his. Though Woody escapes the antique store, Forky is held captive by Gabby Gabby. As Woody returns to the park by himself, he meets with Bo-Peep (Annie Potts), her sheep, and a new toy named Giggle and McDimples (Ally Maki). Bo-Peep escaped from the antique store years ago and lived the life of a “lost toy” or a toy without an owner. This group is later joined by Buzz, and they rescue Forky from the antique store with the help of Duke Kaboom (Keanu Reeves). At the end of the film, Woody gives up his voice box to Gabby Gabby so that she could be noticed by a child. He also gives up his life with Bonnie in order to live a life of adventure with Bo and her friends.
Though Toy Story 4 was a movie targeted towards children, there were some subtle themes that only adolescents and adults would have picked up. An example would be the topic of retirement and the fulfilling of a purpose. Woody was Andy’s favorite toy, so it was difficult for him to see the other toys receive more attention from Bonnie. This made Woody realize that he could no longer bring joy to Bonnie. When Forky was made, Woody saw that the spork was the most important thing to Bonnie at the time, so he did everything in his power to make sure that Forky stayed safe. Being stuck in the antique store, Woody saw that Gabby Gabby never had the opportunity to bond with a child, as nobody noticed her without her voicebox. By remembering all of the good memories that he made with Andy, Woody ultimately decides to give his voice box to Gabby Gabby. Seeing her with a child made Woody feel like he had fulfilled his purpose, and he realizes that he could help other toys find owners as well. He “retires” from being a toy himself in order to help others with Bo and her friends, even if it means that he had to part with his best friends, such as Bullseye, Buzz and Jessie. Though the ending was incredibly sad and touching, it successfully wrapped up the movie with all characters benefiting, even Bonnie. The final scene shows Buzz saying his most famous catchphrase, “To infinity,” only to be cut off by Woody saying “and beyond” as the two go their separate ways to live new lives.