I was worried when I heard that there was going to be a Toy Story 4 because the third one ended the series on a high note. I thought that it could only be downhill from there. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover Toy Story 4 is a solid sequel that ties up some loose threads from the previous film and finishes Woody’s story in a satisfying way.
In honor of this monumental achievement of four practically perfect films in the Toy Story series, I would like to boil down each of them to a single word that describes their unique themes. And then I’ll provide elements of their stories that correspond to those words.
Toy Story – Replaced
All of Andy’s toys are worried they’re going to be replaced by his birthday presents.
Woody feels like he’s been replaced by Buzz Lightyear as Andy’s favorite toy.
At one point, a shark toy takes Woody’s hat and pretends to be him.
Woody and Buzz go from being Andy’s toys to Sid’s toys.
Sid performs a double head transplant on a girl doll and a pterodactyl. Thankfully, they get switched back later.
Buzz not only takes Woody’s place in Andy’s room, but also in Sid’s room. When Sid seeks a victim for his new rocket, he first looks for Woody but settles for Buzz.
After Woody’s match fizzles out, he instead uses the sunlight reflected through Buzz’s helmet to light the rocket’s fuse and propel them back to Andy.
Toy Story 2 – Realization
Al jumps for joy when he finds Woody at the yard sale.
Buzz identifies the chicken man from a commercial as Woody’s kidnapper.
Woody is amazed to learn that he is part of a giant set, and he used to be the star of a popular TV show.
Buzz gets to see where he came from, and he’s surprised by what he sees.
Rex figures out how to defeat Zurg in his video game, thanks to a guidebook.
Woody and his friends discern the real Buzz from an impostor.
Woody is shocked to find the Prospector outside his box, and Jessie isn’t happy when she learns he framed her.
When the toys enter the baggage area of the airport, they realize it’s going to be a lot harder than they thought it would be to find the suitcase with Woody in it.
Woody is relieved to find Andy didn’t want to take him to Cowboy Camp because he was afraid of further damaging him, not because he didn’t want him.
Toy Story 3 – Escape
The army men use their parachutes to leave Andy’s room because Andy’s all grown up and their mission is over.
The toys manage to get out of a trash bag at the last minute.
Woody escapes the caterpillar room and Sunnyside Preschool, and he accidentally gets taken to Bonnie’s house.
One of the new toys tells Woody that there’s no way out of Bonnie’s house, but he’s just kidding.
Buzz also escapes the caterpillar room.
Woody devises a daring plan for all of his friends to escape Sunnyside.
Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear thinks he got away scot-free, but he winds up tied to the front of a garbage truck.
Woody sneaks out of Andy’s college box to join his friends being donated to Bonnie.
Toy Story 4 – Unwanted
Bonnie doesn’t want to play with Woody at all, and she forgets him so long in her closet that he develops a dust bunny.
Woody helps Bonnie make a toy called Forky during kindergarten orientation, but Forky thinks of himself as trash and he spends the first part of the film jumping into trash cans over and over.
Gabby Gabby is an old doll who was created with a defective voice box, so she’s never been loved or played with by little girls and instead lives a solitary life in an antique store.
Duke Caboom is a motorcycle toy who couldn’t jump high enough to please his original owner, so he was thrown out as defective.
In the end, all of these toys find a place they belong, even though it’s not where they originally expected they would end up.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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