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‘Toy Story 4’ offers more than fans may expect: The beloved characters are back and ready for a new adventure

June 20,2019
From left: Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie and Bonnie’s new favorite toy, Forky, in a scene from “Toy Story 4.” [WALT DISNEY COMPANY KOREA]
The iconic final scene of “Toy Story 3” (2010), when Andy passes on all of his favorite childhood toys to four-year-old Bonnie right before he leaves for college, left many fans of the Pixar franchise in tears.

“So long, partner,” Woody says as he watches the back of Andy’s car drive off into the distance. And just like that, the movie franchise that many had grown up with seemed to have reached its finale.

When news of “Toy Story 4,” in theaters today, hit social media years ago, it was met with more opposition than support from fans who felt that Pixar had already created the perfect ending to the franchise. The toys were in a happy place with Bonnie. What more could possibly happen?

Despite concerns, the fourth installment fits perfectly, like a puzzle piece that nobody noticed was missing, mainly by bringing back Woody’s love interest from the first and second “Toy Story” films, Bo Peep.

We quickly learn that the Bo in “Toy Story 4” is not the same character she was in her previous appearances. When Andy played with Bo and Woody, she was always the damsel in distress, but now, when they meet years later at a carnival, their roles have reversed. After years of living as a single doll, Bo has toughened up.

She still has the soft voice that makes Woody blush whenever he hears it, but it is stronger now, and she is filled with more determination and confidence. Because of her bold attitude, Woody ends up asking Bo to help him retrieve Bonnie’s new favorite toy, Forky.

As fans of the “Toy Story” series already know, Woody is fiercely loyal and always tries to do right by his owners, even if they don’t always appreciate it. “I don’t want to play with you anymore,” are the words that every toy fears hearing, but when Bonnie starts neglecting Woody, he is especially hurt because he was always Andy’s favorite. Even so, he does his best to show his love for Bonnie, and takes care of Forky - a spork with googly eyes, pipe cleaner arms and popsicle stick feet that Bonnie made and now considers her favorite toy.

More than ever before, this film revolves around the toys. But, if the previous installments in the series showed a clear battle between good and evil - whether it was other toys or humans - this film’s message is that there are no bad toys in the world, only toys that desperately want to be loved.

Although fans have always enjoyed watching the toys come to life when their owners were not around, each installment of the series always revolved around Woody’s growth.

In the first film, Woody learned to share Andy’s love with the other toys. In the second film, he went out of his way to welcome other toys into Andy’s world. In the third film, Woody learns to say goodbye to his beloved Andy and embrace his toy family when they are given to their new owner, Bonnie.

In the fourth film, viewers see Woody grow up once again as he is able to develop his own consciousness (a concept that Buzz Lightyear struggles to understand, giving audiences quite a laugh while he explores what it means) and discern what is right and wrong. For the first time, we see Woody consider what it would be to live life independently, instead of living for his owners.

Life without the safety and comfort of belonging to an owner may be dangerous and risky, but it also means being free from the worries of being abandoned and being able to live independently. For Woody, there may be a whole new adventure out there waiting for him.

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]








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