Oh, Toy Story! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
I love you for reminding me of every fun toy I had (or wanted as a kid), including a Speak-and-Spell.
I will love you for giving me Jessie and Bullseye and Woody as the Round Up Gang (complete with Woody on a yo-yo).
I love every time all the toys dropped to the ground when hearing footsteps in the hall or when a door opened.
I will always love your creativity and ingenuity for using toys and parts and even traffic cones to maneuver through backyards, daycares and airports to get back to the kid you love.
Along with this, I love how you want nothing more than to serve your kid, love your kid and are willing to give yourself to them.
I love you for the the wonderful bromance…no, the true, solid and forever friendship between Woody and Buzz.
So, does all of this make an appearance in Toy Story 4? Does my love continue for a 4th movie in this beloved series?
Let’s talk for a minute, shall we?
WHY YOU WILL WANT TO SEE TOY STORY 4
Because it’s Woody and Buzz! I mean, how could you not want to be with them whenever you can? The fun creativity of the secret life of toys is always a delight.
Bo Peep! We finally get to see where Bo has been since the 2nd movie! (There might even be a flashback!)
New characters! OK, so Forky is a weird toy, but still, he was funny and even kinda cute. Plus, Gabby Gabby, Ducky & Bunny and Duke Caboom were fun additions to the Toy Story family.
Forky was not the main character. OK, I know I said he was fun but I was nervous after the previews, thinking this movie was going to be Forky Equals Buzz or something. It wasn’t. He wasn’t. Forky was central, but not equal to our beloved toys.
The animation is superb. I mean, there were times I leaned over to the kids and said, “Is that real?” The way CGI has progressed since the original Toy Story is hard to believe. And I remember when Toy Story came out–I thought that animation was amazing!
WHY YOU MAY NOT WANT TO SEE TOY STORY 4
You don’t like ventriloquist dummies. I mean. For real.
You don’t want to add to the Toy Story catalog. Remember when The Cursed Child came out and half the Harry Potter population were in love and the other half said, “Does this have to be canon?” I think some people may feel this way. We will discuss this further later…
You hate toys. I mean, there really was nothing to raise an eyebrow at here. No language, no imitative phrases, no innuendo, there was a solid mom and dad…it was all good.
I love Toy Story! I want to be Jessie and hang out with Woody and have adventures with the aliens and Buzz and even Forky for the rest of my days!
My heart swells when Andy or Bonnie take the toys on their own adventure and play like only a child can.
This movie has all of that–fun toys, sweet characters and more. I think it’s appropriate for any age kid who has already seen the Toy Story movies. It’s rated G!
Now, if I had to rank the Toy Story movies, this one comes in a solid 4th place and I hope they don’t try to spring a 5 on us. Read more if you dare…
(Download my family discussion guide after you’ve seen the movie!)
NOW. For the Toy Story super-fans…
I want to talk about the movie a bit more in depth BUT it is a MAJOR SPOILER if I do so.
So, please, if you are even on the SLIGHTEST LEVEL a Toy Story fan, PLEASE CLOSE THIS WINDOW NOW and DO NOT CONTINUE READING until AFTER you have seen Toy Story 4.
I AM NOT KIDDING.
Don’t keep reading.
Have you seen the movie?
Are you certain?
This is not a joke.
If I spoil this movie for you, I will be upset. And you will be upset.
Come back later. After you’ve seen it. Then we can talk for days.
LAST CHANCE. ENORMOUS SPOILERS BELOW.
OK. Your funeral. Here we go, I’m about to talk about the last five minutes of the movie…
If the Toy Story movies are told from Woody’s perspective, here’s the bylines of each:
1: Woody meets Buzz.
2. Woody discovers the Round Up Gang.
3. Woody’s kid grows up.
4. Woody changes jobs.
WOODY CHANGES JOBS? I mean, isn’t Woody’s job to love his kid? To be there for him? TO STINKIN’ GO TO COLLEGE WITH HIM? Haven’t they been training us on this since 1995? I mean, my kids won’t get rid of a toy because it might hurt the toy’s feelings!
“You are a child’s plaything!” he tells Buzz.
“You’re right Prospector, I can’t stop Andy from growing up, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” from Woody to the Prospector
“Somewhere in that pad of stuffing is a toy that taught me that life is only worth living if you’re being loved by a kid. And I traveled all this way to rescue that toy, because I believed him.” from Buzz to Woody
“Now Woody, he’s been my pal for as long as I can remember. He’s brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special, is he’ll never give up on you… ever. He’ll be there for you, no matter what.” Andy to Bonnie
Y’all. I’m CRYING AT THESE QUOTES.
I just can’t let Woody run around carnivals and fairs pushing lost toys on little kids for the rest of my life. One day he’s going to be run over by a car or taken by some mean kid and ripped from limb to limb. Not to mention he will NEVER SEE BUZZ AND JESSIE AGAIN.
I want him to live with Bonnie forever until she passes down her toys to her sweet little neighbor or her own children. TO INFINITY AND BEYOND.
It’s been a few days since we saw the movie and my 13 year old daughter said today, “The more I think about the movie, the more I don’t like it.” She just can’t stand that there Woody chose Bo.
Now. The 2nd thing I want to talk about…
I’ve been reading about sexuality a lot lately.
Amanda, where are you going with this?!
Just hold on…
I read David Bennett’s The War of Loves and have The 7 Myths about Singleness on my TBR. Both of these authors talk about how our culture has elevated romantic love to be the most important thing in the world. That nothing– NOTHING else could be better than being in a sexual, romantic relationship.
Our culture doesn’t leave room for male-male friendships beyond frat boys and drinking buddies. Girl BFFs are a little better but usually revolve around wine and mani-pedis.
So, when Woody chose Bo over Buzz? I was sad. I admire a male-male relationship where Woody can say, “when it all ends, I’ll have ol’ Buzz Lightyear to keep me company…for infinity and beyond.”
I want my kids to see actual friendships (specifically male) that last forever. And that romantic love isn’t the pinnacle of everything.
And yes, I know. I know, there wasn’t really any romance between Woody and Bo. Not a grab-the-neck-with-a-crook scene. There was no kiss. However, the idea was there–that Woody wanted to be with Bo because he loved her.
And it’s fine. I’m not complaining about a sweet Woody & Bo story.
It’s just that Buzz-and-Woody go together. They are like PBJ. Mac-and-cheese!
(Don’t @ me. I know Woody also wanted to be with Bo for the mission of linking toys with kids. I get it.)
[There’s also something about Bonnie taking Woody’s badge and giving it to Woody that I want to talk about in light of Bo Peep’s strong-woman vibe. But I can’t put my finger on it yet…]
OK. And one more thing…
I missed Jessie. And Slinky. And Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. And the aliens! All the characters seemed like secondary characters.
Even Buzz didn’t get his fair share in my eyes. I’m a big fan of getting the band back together and this just felt like the opposite.
This movie could have been called Woody’s Story. Or The Woody & Bo Love Story. It wasn’t our Toy Story gang at it again.
In conclusion (Again)
I liked Toy Story 4. I didn’t love it.
I’m glad I saw it. I’m just not sure I wanted it to be made in the first place.
When How To Train Your Dragon 3 came out, I was super excited. I loved the 2nd movie. But, the 3rd movie felt more like a long Race to the Edge episode from Netflix. And I think that’s how Toy Story 4 felt. It was another adventure with the characters, but why did we need to see it? It didn’t advance the relationship I had with the characters.
There’s something emotional about Woody and Buzz. My cousin was 5 when the first movie came out and was newly graduated from High School when Toy Story 3 came out. Andy grew up with us.
When I see our own Woody or Buzz laying on the ground, I see my own kids growing up. I see them playing and then forgetting what 7 years old felt like. What 9 years old felt like. What living at my house felt like.
The creators of these movies and characters have such power. Here I am, a 40-something mom crying because a cowboy doll has a new job. But, I think, the lesson here is that what we put in front of our eyes can hold on tight.
People who can weave stories and create worlds are magicians. Their magic can hold onto us in beautiful ways. As a parent, are you watching what magic is holding on to your kids? Are you allowing their hearts to be attached to what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy? (See Philippians 4:8)
This isn’t about Toy Story 4 (seriously, go take your kids to see it! You will all love it!), it’s a reminder that we need to guard our hearts. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) Everything we do flows from what we allow in our hearts! Help your children, lead your children in guarding their hearts. Not just from obvious sins but from setting up connections and idols that can fill a heart with so much other.
Whew. OK. I did not mean to take it all the way to that!!
I have a few family discussion ideas but figured this was too long already, so you can download and print my family discussion guide!
Every time I write a review like this I’m afraid I’m going to be the only one who feels this way! Tell me what you think AFTER YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIE!!