Toy Story 4 is the fourth installment in Pixar’s Toy Story franchise that many thought would be a trilogy. Making another film in such a well-loved and perfectly concluded franchise was risky, but it appears Pixar has done it again. The film holds a 100 per cent score at Rotten Tomatoes, which means every single review the film has received is positive. This is not shocking as the lowest score the franchise has is 98 per cent.
The film has, reportedly, expanded upon the themes of earlier movies like change and friendship. The critical consensus reads, “Heartwarming, funny, and beautifully animated, Toy Story 4 manages the unlikely feat of extending — and perhaps concluding — a practically perfect animated saga.”
Before the film hits theaters, we thought it would be a great idea to revisit the earlier films just to brush up on the events that have occurred so far. Here are brief summaries of each of the three movies.
Released in 1995, the first Toy Story put Pixar on the map. It was the time when the animators using the classical method were discovering the charms of computer animation technology. John Lasseter, who in 2017 exited Disney and Pixar following sexual misconduct allegations, directed the first Toy Story and the film became the first in cinema history to be entirely computer animated. The film introduced us to much beloved characters like Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep and so on.
These are sentient toys owned by a boy named Andy who pretend to be, well, just toys when the humans are present. When they go away, however, they interact and move around just like us. They also have emotions, lots of it. What they most want is to keep getting played with. Andy buys a new toy called Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), an action figure who legitimately believes he is the protector of the universe. Woody (Tom Hanks) is jealous of him as he thinks Andy will disown him for the shiny new toy. What kid would play with a cowboy when they have a space ranger?
Initially confrontational, Buzz and Woody team up to escape Andy’s sadistic neighbour Sid who likes to ‘torture’ his toys. These two toys somehow scare Sid (by acting as what they are — sentient toys) and end up safely in their owner’s arms.
Toy Story 2
Woody’s fear of being abandoned continues in the sequel. His arm is torn off by Andy while playing (these are kids’ movies, right?) Oh, and he also learns about his origins. He is stolen away by a toy collector who plans to sell the toys to a museum in Japan. Other toys set out to rescue him. The film ends with new toys Jessie and Bullseye getting adopted by Andy. And now Woody is not worried about being abandoned, for he will always have a friend in Buzz “for infinity and beyond”.
Toy Story 3
Andy is 17, too old to play with toys and is prepping up for college. Most of his toys are gone. Only a few like Woody and Buzz remain. The toys are thinking about their future. Since a toy’s existence is to bring fun and joy into the lives of children. What will they do once the kids grow up and leave them? These questions underpin the third film’s narrative. The toys escape to a daycare facility and find themselves welcomed with open arms by the toys there. Except, Woody thinks they should not abandon Andy. Oh, and the daycare toys are not that kind, to say the least. At the end, Woody and others end up with a little girl Bonnie while Andy bids them a tearful goodbye as he leaves for college.