Unboxing a Treasured Toy: A ‘Toy Story 4’ Review

Joshua Thomas
Jun 27 · 4 min read
Credit: Pixar Animation

The Toy Story series of movies are some of the most powerful and lovable films. Each film tackles some heavy topics through the lens of lovable toys. We see fear, growth, loneliness, friendship, and many more topics addressed; each film creating a wonderful story that sticks with us. Not only from a story aspect, but these films are what made Pixar, Pixar. One of the best books I have ever read was Creativity Inc. by Pixar co-founder, Ed Catmull. The first Toy Story pushed the boundaries of what computer animated films could do. It was a technical achievement that paved the way for computer animated films that would follow. Each Pixar movie strongly focusses on a good story to carry these incredible looking films.

Toy Story was a film that truly proved that films targeting children could tell some amazing stories that could be loved and enjoyed by people of all ages.

Each film in this franchise continually tells the story of our group of lovable toys. There are new faces and friends met in every film, but the iconic friendship of Woody, the sheriff cowboy, and Buzz Lightyear, the space ranger of the future, carries through the films. This friendship sets the stage, but through each film, we see Woody being the toy that grows the most. This is the important factor to remember when watching the latest installment, this is a story about a cowboy trying to cope with growing up.

I will say, I was skeptical of this movie at first. Toy Story 3 felt like it had wrapped up the tale of our toys we had grown to love over the course of three films. With Toy Story 4, I was worried this was going to be yet another film trying to push its’ franchise until it was burnt out.

I was proven very wrong.

This film was an endcap to an era of a beautiful series.

The story has all of your favorites return, this time with a new kid, Bonnie. A nervous kindergartener who makes a new toy to help in her class. Enter Forky, made of trash and believing he isn’t meant to be a toy. Woody now has a new mission for his life, he takes on the responsibility of making sure Forky, Bonnie’s now favorite toy, stays away from his need to be in the trash. Still with me? It’s really strange, yet this scenario is what is giving Woody new purpose, a purpose he lost with Andy growing up. Woody’s purpose was a favorite toy, but now he has accomplished this purpose. What happens to a toy when they have done what they were created for?

Toy Story 4 is very much Woody’s story. It’s a story of growth and what happens next. It’s a story about not feeling wanted, and finding new purpose for life.

There are great moments in this film. You will laugh and you will cry, but in the end, you will feel joyful.

Pixar has yet again created another film that centers in on a good story in a world of fantasy. Plus, the visuals in this movie are stunning. The VFX work is unreal, from the details to the lighting on the characters, this is pushing the limits of computer animated films yet again.

I believe everyone should see this movie. It’s great on so many levels, but the main point is that it demonstrates growth. Yes, it’s a story with toys who walk and talk, but beneath the surface is a story of purpose and growth.

It is very clear at the end of the film that this will be the final chapter of the Toy Story series, and it is such a beautiful ending to a wonderful journey of maturity. This is a beautiful wave goodbye to Andy’s toys.

I will hold this series dear to my heart, like unboxing a treasured toy that stays with you forever, it is an embrace that will make you smile no matter where you find yourself.


About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__

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