Woody and Buzz come back for one more adventure in Toy Story 4. With Andy having gone to college, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and all the other toys have been left in the care of pre-schooler Bonnie. However, Woody no longer finds himself as the favourite toy, spending much of playtime in the closet. However, Woody takes it upon himself to accompany Bonnie to her kindergarten orientation and helps with the construction of her new “toy” Forky (Tony Hale), made out of a spork. However, Forky has an existential crisis and jumps out of a window during a family road-trip. When Woody jumps out to retrieve Forky, he comes across an antique shop, where he recognizes the lamp of his old flame Bo Peep (Annie Potts). However, inside the shop, Woody attracts the attention of the doll Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), who wants Woody’s voicebox for herself.
Nine years after the seemingly perfect ending that was Toy Story 3, Pixar returns with one more entry in the nearly 25-year-old franchise. Woody is no longer the top story and he is struggling with his new status. This results in him becoming the guardian for Bonnie’s new crafted toy Forky, who has the constant desire to hop into the nearest trashcan. By pure happenstance, Woody is reunited with the long-lost Bo Peep and is introduced to new friends, including Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki), the stuffed animal duo of Ducky and Bunny (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), and Canadian daredevil Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves). Bo Peep has developed a new life for herself as a “lost toy” Woody begins to sense that there may be a life after Andy.
Even though I can say that I enjoyed the film, it is probably safe to say that Toy Story 4 is a completely unnecessary sequel. 2010’s Toy Story 3 wrapped up the story in such a perfect fashion, that it would be almost overkill to bring Woody, Buzz, and the gang back for a fourth film. However, Toy Story 4 does manage to justify its existence, as the film ties up some loose ends so to speak, particularly in how the film brings back Annie Potts as Bo Peep, which allows some closure to her relationship with Woody. On top of that, there are some welcome additions to the voice cast, such as Christina Hendricks as the antagonistic doll Gabby Gabby, comedic duo Key and Peele as stuffed animals Ducky and Bunny, and of course Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom. I should also add that Toy Story 4 respects Don Rickles, who passed away in 2017, by utilizing archive footage to bring back his character of Mr. Potato Head, though consequently he is now relegated to being little more than a background character, who gets the odd line in.
Even though I doubt that we truly needed Toy Story 4, I do admit that I did start to tear up a bit in the final moments of the film and the film turned out to be a fitting curtain call for the gang.