In some ways the toy characters in Toy Story 4 are suffering from the empty nest syndrome. The end of the story revolving around Andy ended at the finish of part 3. Now little sister Molly is willing to send almost all of the toys off to new homes. A new owner is Bonnie a young girl who is about to start Kindergarten.
Some of us will remember out first day at kindergarten or at least the first day of school for our kids. In many cases it is difficult for the child and the parents. Bonnie is a hard case she does not want to go to school and if she does go she wants to take Woody (Tom Hanks) with her. Woody sneaks into her back pack and observes her fears which come to light for the shy Bonnie with her new classmates.
Woody saves the day by placing pieces of trash on her table for her to play with and with some skill Bonnie creates a new character Forky (Tony Hale) made up of a fork, some ribbon, clay and button eyes. The character becomes dominant in little Bonnie’s life. The problem is that Forky believes he is trash and constantly heads for a trash container whenever he can. It’s a problem for Woody but brings laughs to everyone else.
Later on Bonnie’s family heads out for a road trip and stops near a carnival where Woody re-discovers Bo Peep (Annie Potts) who has become part of a collection in a second hand store near the carnival. The action in the film moves from the second hand store to the carnival with chase scenes up and down the big top and over and around the merry-go-around.
The characters work in and out of cliff hangers which are presented in the usual quality from Pixar. Woody and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) are join with Bo Peep and a new character voiced by Keanu Reeves, Duke Caboom a motor cycle death defying stunt driver with a French Canadian background who adds a great deal of comedy to the action revolving around the original cast of toy character.
When Snow White first screened and members of the audience were shedding tears the Disney staff knew that had a winner. This cast of characters who are not even representations of humans will draw some tears as they work their way out of various situations. It’s that well done by screenplay writers: Andrew Staton, Stephany Folsom, John Lasseter, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Martin McGraw and VALERIE LaPOINTE.
Usually sequels diminish the more times the theme is used. Toy Story 4 doesn’t fall into that trap, this version is as good as the first and in some ways even better.