Why Toy Story 4 Is Better Than Toy Story 3 - VRGyani News and Media


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Why Toy Story 4 Is Better Than Toy Story 3

Editor's note: The following contains spoilers for the Toy Story franchise.Since its release in 2010, Disney/Pixar’s trilogy-capping sequel Toy Story 3 has been widely considered to be a modern masterpiece and one of the studio’s all-time greatest films. The long-awaited third installment delivered hilarious comedy, tear-jerking moments, and most of all, a satisfying conclusion to the story of Andy and his toys. After an emotionally heartfelt final goodbye, many audiences felt that the ending of Toy Story 3 would be the last anyone would see of Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang on the big screen.

Jumping ahead to Disney’s announcement of Toy Story 4, the idea of yet another sequel after the much-beloved (and overtly conclusive) third movie was met with comments of skepticism and doubt from fans. Andy had grown up and was off to college. The toys had faced their darkest hour in the garbage dump and found themselves a new home with Bonnie. What else was there to tell? What could a follow-up to the previous film’s final moments bring that was worth telling?

Not only did 2019’s Toy Story 4 answer these questions in a worthy epilogue, but also found a clever way to explore the themes that have prevailed throughout the previous entries, truly concluding the story of the series. While Toy Story 3 served as an ending for the toys’ time with Andy, Toy Story 4 more conclusively wraps up the story that had been building up since the 1995 original: the story of Woody.

RELATED: Every 'Toy Story' Movie and Short Film Ranked from Worst to Best

Since the original Toy Story, Woody’s whole identity has hinged on his value as a toy — not just to his particular kid, but to himself. Each film in the series pits him against the frailty of his existence and value as a child’s plaything. In Toy Story, when faced with the possibility of no longer being the favorite toy in Andy’s room, he feels challenged and is driven to jealousy. In Toy Story 2, after being broken and put away on a shelf, he begins to fear that he will no longer be played with. In Toy Story 3, when asked by his fellow toys to stick together as a family, he initially sees it as a betrayal of their loyalty to Andy. Woody’s ultimate fear across these films is that if he cannot fulfill his job as a toy to his owner in any way, he will be lost or unloved. This fear culminates into his dilemma in the fourth movie.

Toy Story 4 finds Woody in a similar position as the original Toy Story. The arrival of a new toy challenges Woody to re-assess his role amongst the other toys and his relationship with his kid. In Toy Story 4, Woody, who is far from Bonnie’s favorite toy and is even left to gather dust in the closet, is supplanted by a new toy made from literal trash in the form of Forky, who does not want to be a toy at all. Instead of viewing Forky as a threat like he did Buzz, Woody tries to instill into the reluctant Forky the value he possesses in being Bonnie’s new favorite toy. In one scene, Woody expresses what being a toy has meant to him and how it has informed his current character.

“You're Bonnie's toy. You are going to help create happy memories that will last for the rest of her life… then you watch 'em grow up and become a full person. And then they leave. They go off and do things you'll never see.”

To Woody, being a toy to a kid is comparable to how a parent raises their child. But in this scene, Woody shares that even after fulfilling his role as Andy’s toy and having found a new home with Bonnie, he is still ultimately faced with what he has always feared: Being alone, gathering dust in the closet, unloved, and no longer played with.

WOODY: “Don't get me wrong, you still feel good about it. But then somehow you find yourself, after all those years... sitting in a closet just feeling…”

FORKY: "Useless?"

WOODY: "Yeah."

Ever since Buzz’s cardboard spaceship landed on Andy’s bed in the first film, Woody has seen the love of a single child as a qualifier for his usefulness and value in life as a toy. After an unexpected reunion at a playground with Bo Peep, who has been a lost, nomadic toy for years at this point, Woody begins to learn that what he has feared for so long is not what he thought it would be. He learns from Bo that being an independent, ownerless toy does not mean he would be unloved or without purpose. She asserts to him that “there’s plenty of kids out there,” and that he could do greater good by helping toys find their kids rather than hanging on to just one kid.

This reaches a culmination when he encounters Gabby Gabby, a pull-string doll who, not unlike Woody, has been gathering dust on an antique store shelf waiting for the day to be played with by the one child she loves, a girl named Harmony. Like Woody, she places the value of herself as a toy on if she is good enough to be played with by a child. Gabby wants Woody’s voice box so that she may be finally fixed and be worthy of Harmony’s love. When Harmony finally encounters Gabby for the first time, she dismisses her immediately, and Gabby loses all hope and sense of self-worth. Woody then offers to take her to Bonnie as a chance to be loved by another kid, but on the way to her, Gabby sees a lost child at the carnival and knows that that is where she wants and where is needed most. Woody follows suit by deciding to stay with Bo Peep as a lost toy instead of returning to Bonnie’s RV; he is going where he is needed, but also where he himself wanted to be.

By exploring and resolving fears Woody had since the first film, Toy Story 4 served as a more fitting conclusion to the story of his character than Toy Story 3. While Toy Story 3 had Woody face Andy growing up, Toy Story 4 showed that it was time for Woody himself to grow up. Finding a new home in Bonnie was not enough for him to fulfill his need for validation. Woody’s character has always been defined by his sense of duty to a child, and was the source of many of the conflicts and dilemmas he faced in each film. Each installment pitted him against those fears of losing his owner through competitive opposition, obligation, and uncertainty of the future. Through key interactions with Forky, Bo Peep, and Gabby Gabby, Toy Story 4 pits Woody against his own strict ideology of the inherent value of a being toy, and has him find what his true worth is as a “person.” Woody had always feared that without a kid, a toy is lost and without purpose. But by becoming lost, he found himself.

KEEP READING: Every Pixar Movie Ranked from Worst to Best

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