Very few movies make me cry, and even then, it’s only been in the last decade or so that I ever truly start bawling while watching an emotional film. To date, the only one that has made me fully cry on multiple viewings is Toy Story 3. If my reaction while seeing Toy Story 4 is any indication, this one may soon share in that distinction
As you may recall, Toy Story 3 ended with Andy passing on his beloved toys to little Bonnie (the scene that triggered a thousand tears). The toys came to understand that their time with Andy was over. He was growing up, and no longer needed them like he once did, but they could be there for their new kid as faithfully as they were for their first.
The toys are adjusting to their new life playing with Bonnie, all except Woody. He hasn’t gonna used to not being the top toy in town and he’s desperate to find his purpose in the new toy room. He covertly accompanies Bonnie to her first day of kindergarten, which is not going very well. That is, until she (literally) makes a new friend, Forky. Woody makes it his mission to take care of Forky and make sure that he understands what it means to be a toy caring for a kid. Complications ensue on a family road trip.
I think it only took me about five minutes into the movie before I started getting teary. I was tempting to blame it on the spiciness of the orange chicken that I’d smuggled in, but ain’t nobody gonna buy that. It was a few things that got me. The first scene was a sad one for a beloved character, but I noticed a few other things. Toy Story 3 made me cry because I recognized how the toys represented growing up and lost childhood. Here I noticed how pure these beings are. They are made of nothing but love and goodness, and it’s apparent in their every action.
The next scene kinda suggested to me where the movie was ultimately going to go, and every subsequent scene confirmed it. It added so much more weight to everything that was going on. But what really made it pack such a powerful impact was Tom Hanks. He gets it. He’s always gotten this franchise. From him talking about doing the voice for children to him interacting with Woody at the premier, he gets it. He knows what this franchise means, and he knows that he’s the heart of it. I could hear the gravity of that in every word that Woody uttered. That’s why I was nearly in tears throughout the entire film, and that’s why I was ugly crying by the end of it. As I left the theater, all I wanted was to see Tom Hanks standing outside the auditorium so I could throw my arms around him and cry into his shoulder. Of course that didn’t happen, so I had to settle for crying a bit thru my Stardust reaction.
It wasn’t all emotion and tears. It was funny as heck too. I was so excited to meet Forky, voiced perfectly by Tony Hale. We’ve had a neurotic toy before in Rex, but Forky was next level. Everything he said was pure gold, and I would say I have a new favorite Pixar character, except that it might be a tie with another newcomer: Duke ,Kaboom voiced by the one and only Keanu Reeves. If there is a level of pure joy that is the exact opposite of ugly crying, that’s what I hit every time Duke spoke. But I darenot say any more because the less you expect from him the funnier he’ll be.
It’s funny though, only a very specific generation gets this emotional with Toy Story. The kids in the audience were all smiles and laughter. The few people I spotted older than me looked indifferent. But those of us who grew up with Andy, grew up with these toys, and see these toys as a representation of our childhood, oh yeah, we’re hit right in the feels. And it’s so beautiful
Toy Story 4 – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/