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Toy Story 4

Director Josh Cooley |Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and many more … 100 Minutes | Walt Disney - Pixar

The first Toy Story film was released in 1995; it was the first full-length computer animated film. It was also cleverly written to work at a number of levels; it engaged little children and had plenty of under the radar ironic humour for adults. Whilst most films with a 2, 3 or 4 after the title are lightweight attempts to squeeze the potential cash out of an overworked idea, Toy Story by contrast is like a fine wine; it just gets better and better. 

This film is flying; it is not falling with style. It is faithful to the main characters, Andy, Woody and Buzz, keeps mostly to the familiar winning formula, has another great soundtrack by Randy Newman, yet also introduces fresh storylines and new characters.

I saw the film with my 25-year-old son – he was two when the original film was released, and has grown up with Woody and Buzz and crew. Here’s his take on it:

“Toy Story 4 may be remembered as the first Pixar rom-com, writes Andrew Woods. The classic Toy Story ensemble is neglected, and most of the narrative follows the reunion and romantic frissons of Woody and the long-lost Bo Peep. Even the introduction of the charming, albeit occasionally obnoxious, character named Forky (an inexplicably alive spork) does not detract from Woody’s personal struggle to let go of his past and present owners – Andy and Bonnie – to risk the potential joy of a new life as a ‘lost toy’ with Bo.
“Whereas earlier Toy Story films portrayed ‘lost toys’ as pitiful or precarious, this instalment depicts the condition of being lost as a liberating opportunity to find your own purpose and explore the world. Over the course of the film, (warning: plot spoiler), Woody sacrifices many things – his voice-box, his security with Bonnie, his lifelong comrades – to discover the hidden reason for all life on earth: love.”

This is a film to enjoy, laugh and cry with all the way up the final credits; don’t leave before then, or you will miss a tiny but delightful treat. Christians will find lots of themes that resonate with the gospel message; I already have two talks up my sleeve!

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex
Andrew Woods is from Lancing and is a PhD student at Western University in London Ontario, with a particular interest in books, music and film. He also likes thinking, talking and writing about life's big questions and ideas

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