The Rules of Toy Story

Toy Story 4 faces an immediate uphill battle: how do you follow up Toy Story 3, one of the best sequels ever made and a film that felt like a perfect conclusion to the entire series? Pixar and director Josh Cooley have a lot to prove, but we know this much — we don’t like to bet against the people who made Up, Inside Out, and Finding Nemo.

/Film’s Peter Sciretta and Ben Pearson were in attendance at CinemaCon 2019 in Las Vegas when Disney presented new footage from Toy Story 4. Can it match the absurd highs of the previous film in the series? Let’s take a look.

Disney showed 17 minutes of footage from Toy Story 4, so we’re not going to get too in-depth with describing every single moment in the footage. Instead, we’ll give you a brief rundown of what was shown and the general impressions from Ben and Peter. Spoilers from the opening scenes of the film lie ahead.

toy story 4 trailer new

The Loss of Bo Peep

The movie begins with a flashback to nine years ago. It’s pouring rain outside. RC Car is stuck outside, and Woody, Slinky Dog, Bo Beep and the Barrel of Monkeys stretch out to pull him back into Andy’s room. Woody and Bo Peep share one of their flirtatious glances at each other.

But soon, Woody won’t have Bo Peep to flirt with anymore. Bo Peep’s lamp set is being given away by Andy’s sister Molly. Though Andy tries to stop her, Molly insists that she’s not Andy’s to keep. She doesn’t need Bo Peep anymore, and it’s as sad as it sounds. Bo is taken away in a box. And Woody stays with Andy, who picks him up from being left out in the rain.

However, Bo Peep’s not worried about it. She understands that this is how it goes when you’re a toy, “Kids lose their toys every day. Sometimes they get left in the yard or put in the wrong box.” She’s somehow fine with being given away, which explains why she’s so cool about everything in her life when Woody finds her in that antique store from the trailer.

Woody and Bonnie Are Stressed Out

Back in the present day, Bonnie is playing with her toys shortly after the heartfelt closing scene of Toy Story 3. Randy Newman’s signature original Toy Story tune “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” plays during the opening credits as Bonnie has a good ole time.

Then we’re in Bonnie’s closet. Woody gives one of his usual speeches to the rest of the gang before she comes in to pick which toys she wants to play with today. Woody is pretty disappointed that he doesn’t get picked, despite Jessie and Bullseye getting pulled out for playtime. It’s the third time this week he hasn’t been picked, and he’s clearly nervous, even if he won’t admit it. He even gets his first dust bunny!

But the toys aren’t going to be played with for a big part of the day now because Bonnie is about to head off to her first day of kindergarten. Actually, it’s just the orientation. But Bonnie doesn’t want to go. She’s crying and hiding behind her bed, but her parents reassure her that it will be fun. But Woody isn’t going to let her endure this alone. But toys aren’t allowed to go to school, as forbidden by a doll referred to as The Mayor, a new character who Woody is still adjusting to. She reminds him that Bonnie isn’t Andy, no matter how much he might want her to be. That doesn’t stop him from sneaking into her backpack.

At school, Bonnie is shy and quiet. The kids don’t seem interested in talking to her. It’s a relatable, scary experience that every kid has felt at one time or another. A jerk kid takes the art supplies away from her. Woody isn’t going to let her stay sad, though. He sneaks out of her bag bring some art supplies nearby so she can distract herself.

This is how we get Forky, the makeshift toy we’ve seen panicked in the trailers. Forky gets packed in her bag, and Woody is satisfied with the help he gave Bonnie. Talking to himself, he says, “We’ve got this whole school thing down. Wait, I can’t believe I’m talking to a spork.” But that’s when one of Forky’s eyes move and suddenly he comes to life and scares the hell out of Woody.

This leads into the introduction Forky gets in Bonnie’s room. But Forky continues to be freaked out. He keeps calling himself trash, because that’s what he feels like he was made from. He’s always trying to end up in the garbage. But Woody takes it upon himself to keep him as sane as possible because Bonnie has latched on to Forky as a way of coping with the stress of school. That’s why Forky has to stick with the toys as they prepare to go on a quick road trip between kindergarten orientation and the first real day of school.

Toy Story 4 poster Woody

Overall Impressions

Ben and Peter were impressed by the Toy Story 4 footage, and that’s coming from the mindset of being skeptical that this sequel is necessary at all. Peter even said, “I think we have all been pretty skeptical and cynical about this sequel, but Pixar packs some feels and makes us care again.”

Meanwhile, Ben enjoyed the focus on Woody’s state of mind in this sequel. The footage shown really allowed us to get in Woody’s head about living up to his purpose as a toy. And it puts him in a place where he has to get used to being in a new place, not unlike Forky who must adapt to being a toy, or Bonnie figuring out how to engage with school. So it sounds like there will be some heartfelt lessons delivered for families, just as Pixar has always done.

The voice cast of Toy Story 4 includes veterans of the series like Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, Kristen Schaal, Timothy Dalton, and Blake Clark. New voices include Tony Hale, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, and Patricia Arquette. Here’s the official synopsis:

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.

Toy Story 4 opens on June 21, 2019.

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