The second I heard that masterminds behind Toy Story were coming out with Toy Story 4, I was over the moon. I’ll never forget falling in love with the very first Toy Story 24 years ago. I was 16 years old and I went to the movies with a bunch of girlfriends to see it. Like everyone – Woody, Buzz and Jessie – instantly became part of my world. My little cousins were obsessed with the movie back then, too and I actually remember watching it on VHS tape (remember that?) with them when I wold babysit.
Toy Story 4 Review for Parents
It’s actually incredible to stop and think that now here I am, a mom of 5 and my own kids have all fallen in love with the Toy Story movies. Woody and Buzz have become part of their childhood. All of my sons have (at least) once been Buzz for Halloween and we had a Toy Story themed birthday party for William when he was 3 years old. Having Toy Story 4 come out when he’s almost 15 years old is truly magical because the characters still live within all of our hearts.
I had the amazing opportunity thanks to Disney to head to Disney World on June 7th to screen Toy Story 4 with my husband, son Henry (who is 10) and my daughter Victoria (who is 5). I’m going to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure where or how Disney was going to start or wrap up this movie. Being someone who truly loves the movies and the trilogy, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of magic web they created within Toy Story 4.
I’m going to preface right now that you (at least) once cry during Toy Story 4. You won’t be ugly sobbing, but your eyes will indeed fill up. You’ll know why when you’re watching the movie, but be prepared. I actually purposely didn’t wear mascara because I was certain I would be sobbing. I actually didn’t sob, but I did tear up and need a napkin to wipe my eyes. He won’t actually admit it, but my husband did tear up, too.
I’m also going to preface right now that you will laugh out loud during this movie. You will absolutely, positively find humor in so many things and really appreciate that you can be any age and really enjoy this movie from beginning to end. I loved watching it with my 5 year old because I saw her go through the range of emotions, too. It’s something really special to move someone like that while they’re watching a story being told.
I almost don’t even know where to properly begin with a Toy Story 4 review, but I wanted to craft this review specifically for the parents out there. The moms and dads like me who truly grew up with this movie. We were old enough to remember the very first one coming out and were “in it” enough to watch the evolution of the Toy Story story.
5 Reasons Why You Must See It
1) I’m all about spreading awareness about girl power and female empowerment to little girls and young boys. As a mom of 4 sons, I think it’s exceptional and so important for strong female roles to be in the forefront for them. Bo Peep is (in a word) savage. My kids always say that when someone is savage, they’re amazing and awesome and just cool as can be. I’m taking a cue from their book and calling her SAVAGE to the to degree. I loved seeing Bo Peep take charge in this movie. She’s the same Bo Peep, but she’s evolved in this one. She’s seen things and she’s been places. She’s worldly, way much more than Woody.
These are “little” things that I picked up on in the movie, but things that I adored and I’d love for you to be aware of when you go with your family. I appreciated that Bo Peep used her fashion cape as a superhero cape. I loved that she drives a skunk (yes, you read that correctly). I loved that she saves the day. I loved that she’s someone people respect and go to for advice. Most of all – I loved that my daughter (and I!) dressed up as her for the movie in our Disneybounding clothes, but that my daughter left saying how much she LOVED Bo Peep in the movie. I feel we’re going to see a lot of girls dressed up as her for Halloween this year!
2) Bonnie is the kid in this movie and she’s having difficulty in kindergarten, which is how Forky comes to be in this particular Toy Story 4 movie. I love that Toy Story used creativity and imagination to save the day for Bonnie with the creation of Forky. I also love the lesson that Forky embodies in that sometimes it just comes down to finding and understanding your role in life. Forky’s role is helping Bonnie feel that she’s not alone on those days in kindergarten when she’s missing her family. I have a kindergartener right now and it’s something that I know kids go through every single day.
I appreciated that Toy Story 4 showcased that kids get sad and that it’s possible to “fix” those tears with the help of your friends and/or things that we love and rely on. Bonnie started to rely on Forky and I loved that approach to this movie. Sometimes it comes down to finding out on your own how you can make things better and Forky served that very purpose for Bonnie.
3) Gabby Gabby is a new character in this movie and you really go on an emotional roller coaster with her character. I’m telling you – you won’t necessarily like her at first. Actually during the movie Victoria whispered to me, “She’s mean, Mommy!” But here’s the lesson we learn from Gabby – never judge someone until you know their story. We start to see the layers peel away from Gabby throughout the movie and we start to understand her on a different level. Believe it or not, you are cheering for her at the end and I love this lesson for kids (and parents) seeing this movie.
4) Toy Story 4 is – in many ways – a love story. You know I’m ALL about a good love story and this one takes the cake. I’m used to watching my romances at home, but this one surprised me. I wasn’t expecting the beautiful love story weaved into Toy Story 4 and I really, truly felt committed to it at the end of the movie. I feel like I go into many of these movies thinking that my kids will really love them, but I often quickly realize that I fall in love with the story, too. If you’re someone like me that loves love, you will (believe me) LOVE how this movie ends. It’s unexpected, at least to me… and maybe even a little bittersweet, but your heart wants what the heart wants and we ALL deserve a happily ever after.
5) You need to fall in love with the new characters! The touches of humor throughout will have you wanting to watch this again and again! Duke Kaboom and AMAZING! He’s hilarious and witty and charming and you really do just fall for him at once. Mostly – he’s just REALLY FUNNY! I’ve been a huge Keanu Reeves fan forever and ever, so I loved having him voice Duke. He’s just cool and every movie just needs a cool dude.
And then there’s Forky! He will be the new love for every little kid! Forky played by Tony Hale is everything you want in a character, but the best part of him is his humor. He’s not aware how funny he is, but he’s just such an added bonus to this film. You will be cheering for him throughout and wanting only good for him and for him to STAY with Bonnie. I know that every little kid now is going to be turning sporks into people and I love that! Creativity at its finest!
If there’s a way to put a nice pink bow on a gift for someone, this Toy Story 4 truly embodies that. I felt satisfied leaving the theater in knowing that the characters all are where they’re supposed to be. Just like kids grow up and go on in life, all with their own stories… so do these characters, too. Selfishly I hope this isn’t it on the Toy Story movie front, but if it is… they knocked it out of the park. As my husband said to me when the movie was over, “These people are geniuses!”
You must see this movie with your family!
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TOY STORY 4 opens in theatres everywhere on June 21st!
See all about Toy Story Land while at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, too!