The Dove Take:Toy Story 4 proves to not be a tired installment to a beloved series. It finds grace in a point to land on, to end a series of groundbreaking films with humor, understanding, and love for the technical aspects of the design as well as the narrative itself. With such rich themes balanced with appropriation, Dove awards the film with Approval for All-Ages.
When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
Time has paved many roads along the face of Toy Story as a franchise; a winding road, a face becoming startlingly older. But in those wrinkles runs a river of remaining freshness; an acknowledgment on what time has done since the first film stunned audiences in 1995. So much since has been said about the collection, so much that one may wonder or worry if one more addition to the series might just break its back.
Fortunately, and more so in regards to the most faithful to the series, Toy Story 4 finds its path no less weathered than the first time, 24 years ago, to be exact. Where in one corner there is rich humor, there is another with a heart for sympathetic conversation and understanding. Such topics as listening to what your “inner voice” says, what your purpose is and the many ways to fulfill it, and, as has been for most of the films, how to let go.
All the more enriching of Toy Story 4 is the return to the right tracks of what the stories have been about. After wobbly attempts at juggling other toys and tie-ins to the narrative, the fourth installment sticks its stake into the ground and re-realizes that it is Woody, the trusted toy sheriff in need of finding homes for other toys—none less than his own—that Toy Story has been about. In surprising ways, the film finds ways to settle this passion in Woody’s heart and understands that it has always been his leading path and sympathy towards toys and childhood that have hooked us for over two decades.