By Sophie Able
Sheriff Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest gang return to the big screen for a new – and perhaps final – adventure following on from where left them in Toy Story 3; in the care of Bonnie. When Bonnie comes home from her first day of kindergarten the toys are introduced to Forky (voiced Tony Hale), a spork that has been made a toy, despite him insisting that he is just trash. Following her orientation, the family and her toys embark on a road trip, where Forky continues to be loved with Bonnie despite regular foiled attempts to escape into the bin. After a final successful attempt, Forky disappears and Woody follows in hot pursuit to retrieve Bonnie’s spork.
During his mission, he is reunited with an old friend, Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Potts) and the bond between them is reconciled after many years apart. With the help of Bo Peep and some new friends, including Duke Kaboom (voiced by Keanu Reeves) and the duo, Ducky and Bunny (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), Buzz and Woody team up to rescue Forky.
On his journey, Woody has the opportunity to reflect on the purpose of a toy and see a life beyond belonging to a single child. Throughout the previous three films in this saga, Woody’s devotion to Andy has been a prominent feature of his character. Now, without Andy, Woody begins to question what he wants in life without his original owner and best friend. Bo Peep serves as an example of life beyond Andy that maybe Woody hadn’t considered. The film also reflects on what is a lost toy, with Bo Peep perhaps not filling that mould as expected.
The animation, as always, was stellar. It has only improved. What sets these films apart has always been the story arcs and characters who have compelled us to keep watching, and this one is no exception. This film brings the focus back to Woody, which meant there was a lot of time for character development that felt very organic. It also gave screentime to Bo Peep and showed us a personality that has been neglected in the other three films. This film took a character whose arc you assumed was complete and showed how personal desires can conflict with duty. As always, it delivered a nuanced answer as to what is the purpose of a toy. I thought this film seemed unnecessary but actually found it to be one of the strongest of the saga due to it taking a new focus. I would recommend this film if you want to see your beloved toys reunite for – perhaps- the final time.