In 1995 I was 8 years old and my life was about to change, I was about to be introduced to an idea that never occurred to me… Do my toys come alive when I’m not around? For years I continued to watch these movies and grow up with the characters, saying my final goodbye in 2010. It was the perfect ending. The idea of another Toy Story made me kind of mad. I already said my goodbye, my son had already watched them all, played and dressed up as them then moved onto other interests. I never had an opportunity to watch a Toy Story movie in the theater with my son, it was this reason mainly that I decided I would take him.
Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and the rest of the gang are all back and Bonnie is still with them playing as much as ever, although not as much with Woody as he would like, often leaving him in the closet with the dust bunnies. Newcomer Forky (Tony Hale), made in kindergarten class by Bonnie using a pipe cleaner and a spork, quickly becomes the clear favorite. Forky knows what he is, he is trash, he has an ultimate purpose and that is to be reunited by any means necessary to the nearest trash can. Woody, having doubts about his own purpose now that Andy is all grown up and Bonnie seems to have moved on, quickly makes it his goal to keep Forky alive so Bonnie can play with her most favorite new friend. Standing in Woody’s way is a family road trip, a 1950’s talking doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) along with her cronies, 4 identical creepy marionette dolls. He meets new friends that will help, two plush toys, Ducky and Bunny, played by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, the stunt rider Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), and an old friend, Bo Peep (Annie Potts).
The top layer of this is for the kids, its funny, brightly colored, and just silly enough to keep all the kids attention. The bottom layers are a different story, ones that could be pulled from the pages of an Altman script or a Steinbeck novel. Woody is learning how to let go of his past and find a new purpose in life that does not rely on anyone else but himself. Forky is learning that his purpose in life is not just to make himself happy, but use his gifts to bring joy and fulfill someone else. Existential crisis for some and mid life crisis for others, this paints a beautiful picture of understanding yourself and your self worth and your willingness to to accept the path that is in front of you with bravery and confidence. I am so happy I got to experience this new chapter with my son. A great message that says there is nothing wrong with the past, but it has paved a way for your future and there is no reason to stay stuck.