Disney released the last installment in the beloved Toy Story saga, Toy Story 4, on June 20, 2019. I grabbed my tickets for a 7 PM showing at my local movie theater and dressed up for the occasion, DisneyBounding as Disney’s newest Feminist role model, Bo Peep.
I grew up in the height of the Toy Story craze, but have never been a huge fan of the movie. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was about the first three movies, but they just never seemed to be my “thing.” Either way, I knew I would be seeing the fourth and final installment on opening night because I can’t miss a chance for a little bit of Disney magic at home! I rewatched the three films before opening night and realized why I had never connected to the story – lack of strong females.
Don’t get me wrong, Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang are great, but I never felt a connection to them the way I do to other characters. However, when I saw the previews for Toy Story 4 and realized that Bo Peep would be coming back as a #GirlBoss I was very excited to see the movie.
The movie, directed by Josh Cooley, begins with a series of flashbacks that explain Bo Peep’s (Annie Potts) absence from Toy Story 3 and brings viewers to present day, Bonnie’s (Madeleine McGraw) kindergarten orientation. Bonnie dreads going to orientation, and is told she cannot bring a toy with her after she asks – cue Woody (Tom Hanks) going into hero-mode and stowing himself in Bonnie’s backpack. Woody’s heroic move is fueled by his desire to protect “his kid” despite no longer being the favorite toy or the “leader of the room.”
At kindergarten, Woody helps Bonnie make a new friend, and by make I literally mean construct. Forky (Tony Hale), a spork that Bonnie brought to life, is introduced and the real fun begins. The rest of the film follows Bonnie’s family on a road trip before the actual first day of kindergarten. Throughout the trip, Woody tries to protect Forky, understanding that Forky provides Bonnie the comfort that he once gave to Andy, but runs into some challenges.
Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), the villain of Toy Story 4, is introduced to Woody and Forky when they enter Second Chance Antiques during a pit stop. Woody spotted Bo Peep’s lamp in the window and pulls himself and Forky through the mailslot to seek out his long-lost-friend. Gabby Gabby and her ventriloquist henchmen quickly became one of my favorite villains, with the ventriloquists’ terrifying-yet-hysterical movements and Gabby Gabby’s quick wit.
In an unfortunate series of events, Forky is captured by Gabby Gabby. Woody luckily stumbles upon Bo Peep, in a brand new get up, including a jumpsuit and sensible shoes, and enlists her help to rescue Forky.
Several other new characters are introduced including Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), a Canadian motorcycle stuntman toy that has some unresolved issues with “his kid,” Rijean, and Ducky and Bunny (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), two carnival toys who are inseparable and have vivid imaginations.
Fans of Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles, voice recorded before passing away in 2017) and the rest of the gang from the first three movies play less of a role in Toy Story 4, but still come together to help save the day.
I won’t give away the ending, but like with most Toy Story films, be ready with a box of tissues and have your best friends on speed dial so you can remind them how much you love them. Once again the Toy Story gang reminds us that true friendship is an important part of life and relationships change over time.
The final installment also shows a stronger side to the women of Toy Story, with Bo Peep leading the charge in rescuing Forky and helping Woody move on from his past. Other female characters, like Jessie, Dolly, and even Gabby Gabby, also hold leadership roles amongst the toys, elevating the role of women in the toy world.
If you haven’t already gotten your tickets for Toy Story 4, be sure to soon! No matter how old you are, trust me, you will laugh, cry, and be a fan of this movie.
Have you seen Toy Story 4? What did you think? Comment below!