The title is appropriate. The blog will have spoilers on Toy Story 4…

Our family just watched Toy Story 4. A bit behind most families. The reviews were excellent (98% on Rotten Tomatoes) and there were many good parts — laugh out loud moments and wonderful new characters (loved Duke Caboom: Canada’s Greatest Stuntman). There were even deep existential moments, as Forky wrestled with his purpose (and had a completely different take on trash than Toy Story 3). But the ending…

My first take: Woody leaves his friends – even his best friend – and disavows his core value, to be with the one he loves. He takes on her values, joins her friends… if I have relationship advice, this is not a step toward long term success.

I have wrestled with other meanings…

  • As we grow older our lives need a second act: things were certainly changing for Woody. His relationship with Andy, and now Bonnie, was diminished – children grow up and move on. So Woody needed a second act.
  • Woody was growing up himself, taking responsibility: while he leaves a child, he still values serving kids. But rather than letting the child lead to joy, Woody was taking the role of leading children to joy. **

** There are points beyond Woody in the ending — Bo Peeps has Girl Power in spades. Which I respect for my daughters. Don’t chase a boy, don’t be like Woody, be like Bo… Bo Knows!

But I have not been able to reconcile Woody leaving his toy family.  Their bond and commitment was the thesis of the toy story. Especially the relationship between Woody and Buzz. For me, this friendship was the core of the series and to see it broken apart…

I also can’t help but picture Andy’s return. A toddler holding his hand. Bonnie, a bit older, pulling out her toys. There is Rex, Ham, and Buzz. “Where is Woody?” “The Cowboy?… I don’t know.”

Which is how the fourth movie left me… Where is Woody? He is lost.

But before I get carried away by emotion someone should shout, He is a toy! “Toys get lost all the time,” (to add a Bo Peep quote) and I need not let this change my values. I can continue to be the Sheriff who sacrifices to save the family, rather than one who gave away his star.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s