‘Toy Story 4’: Pixar Has Done It Again [UPDATED]

‘Toy Story 4’/Pixar

I was five years old when the first Toy Story movie came out. It wasn’t the absolute favorite movie of my five-year-old self by any means, but I definitely liked it. My favorite part of it was always the mini-love story of Woody and his girlfriend, Bo Peep. Five-year-old me really wanted to hear more about them.

A few years later, when Toy Story 2 came out, I liked it even better than the first one but was still wanting to know more about Woody and Bo Peep. I was an adult when Toy Story 3 came out. And even still, I was disappointed at the throwaway line from Woody used to inadequately explain Bo Peep’s absence: “We’ve lost some friends over the years … Bo Peep …”

And then, at long last, the five-year-old in me was thrilled to learn that Toy Story 4 would tell me more about Woody and Bo Peep’s love story.

Move over, kids. I’ve been waiting TWENTY-FOUR YEARS to see this movie! (In reality, I took my five-year-old to go see it with me – there, now I look a little more normal).

Toy Story 4’s premise

If you’ve seen the other ones, including the tear-jerking display of Pixar’s genius that is Toy Story 3, you know that Woody and the gang now belong to a little girl named Bonnie.

So after first flashing back nine years to show us just what happened to Bo Peep back in the day,Toy Story 4 shows us the gang in Bonnie’s house, just before she starts kindergarten. And in this house, Woody is no longer a favorite.

But, showing true growth of character over the course of the franchise, Woody isn’t beside himself over this. Instead, he’s just looking to do all he can for this little girl, even if that means she doesn’t always pick him for playtime.

Bonnie is about to go to kindergarten orientation (who knew that was a thing? Not this former homeschooler …) and she’s a little scared about it. So Woody helps make sure things go smoothly for her. Which results in her making a “new friend” named Forkie out of a spork and some googly eyes.

When Bonnie’s family decides to take a road-trip in the last couple weeks before school officially starts, hijinks ensue among the toys. And in a pretty forgivable story-quality lapse into coincidence territory, Woody ends up stumbling upon his old friend Bo Peep.

Bo Peep has been doing just fine

It seems Bo Peep has been living as a “lost toy” for some years. And she’s OK with it. More than OK with it, she prefers this life after already being outgrown by two different kids.

I suspected (and feared) from the trailer that this current stage of Bo Peep’s life might show her in a bit of a woke, feministic slant. After watching it, I’d say my suspicions were right, but the movie steers just clear of being annoying about it. They walk right up to the line of where I would start thinking, “Okay, let’s not get agenda-y here …” and stop just in time, in my opinion.

This is a good story

Apart from my concerns in the Bo Peep wokeness arena, there was literally nothing I didn’t like about it.

It was hilarious, for both adults and kids — my five-year-old was dying when the plush toys fantasize about attacking people, and I kind of was too!

There’s also a bit about conscience in a conversation between Woody and Buzz, and it’s a recurring joke because Buzz misunderstands. But it can be a nice conversation starter for parents and kids afterwards.

And then the character of Woody has grown into a true hero in this film. He makes a very big sacrifice of self in order to make sure that Bonnie’s favorite new toy Forkie gets back to her. And then, oh man I don’t want to spoil it because I didn’t foresee this ending of the Woody/Bo Peep love story, but let’s just say I cried over it (stop it Pixar, stop it! But not really …).

Go see it if you can

I don’t see movies in the theater very often, between the expense and the inconvenience.

But this really is a good one, and I felt it well worth the time and money. Especially if you have a kid you can introduce to this fantastic story that’s been wowing us for over two decades now.

UPDATE: Since seeing Toy Story 4, it’s come to my attention that the film actually contains a brief scene showing a kid being dropped off by two moms. It’s so quick and in the background that I completely missed it, so it would definitely go over most younger kids’ heads. But still, ugh. I would have thought twice about taking my kid to see it if I’d known. 

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Image: Pixar

Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic mom, blogger and screenwriter. Reposted with permission (and some minor edits) from A Thorne in the Flesh.

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