Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4 hits theaters on June 21st, and families are gearing up to see it opening day. But, is it really a movie for every family member? After viewing the film during the Toy Story 4 press junket in Walt Disney World, and thinking about my Toy Story 4 review, I have a possibly unpopular opinion.
Toy Story 4 Review: A Parent’s Honest Opinion
Woody, Buzz and the whole crew are back in action in Toy Story 4, but this time, there’s a new toy in town. Forky joins the group, which provides a funny yet heartfelt storyline for another installment of this franchise.
Bo Peep Is Back
But wait, there’s more. Remember Bo Peep? Well, she’s back and completely different from the Bo we remember in Toy Story 1 and Toy Story 2. As someone who grew up with Toy Story, I was enthralled with this new dimension of Bo Peep. But, would this storyline actually resonate with my 13, 8, and 4 year old?
My 13 year old and 8 year old definitely enjoyed seeing the return of Bo Peep, but the 4 year old had a different viewpoint.
Lull Time Within The Film
With the introduction to not only 1, but 7 new characters in Toy Story 4, it may be a little overwhelming for children who’ve already fallen in love with the characters of Toy Story past. I paid close attention to how my 4 year old reacted to the introduction of new characters.
While the comedic introductions were best (hey, Duke Caboom), I could see he was getting a bit ansy with all the the different facets of this film. We have a storyline for Gabby Gabby, a storyline for Forky, a storyline for Woody, and some monumental moments with Bo Peep, Duke Caboom and even the Benson ventriloquist dummies.
It may be a bit too much to follow for a younger child that may already have issues sitting still in the theater.
Ducky and Bunny helped lighten the storyline load with their pretty basic background, and I could tell my 4 year old enjoyed the quips between those two and the other characters. They were also pretty much hilarious is 90% of their scenes.
We should have figured this out during their trailer reaction teaser, the fact that these two were voiced by Michael Keegan Kee and Jordan Peele, but these two are definitely the newer characters geared towards the younger audience.
Another bright toy who deserves all the attention is Duke Caboom. His backstory was definitely geared toward viewers who grew up in the late 70s, but his scenes were enjoyable for every family member. Even Keanu Reeves, voice of Duke, said “there’s a little Duke Caboom in all of us.”
Forky’s Innocence Makes Sense
If you have a small child, I’m pretty sure they will see themselves in this new character. Forky, voiced by Tony Hale, provides a much-needed innocence (and stubbornness, in a way) to the film.
During one part of the film, he reminds us that he’s just 2 days old. What a way to show younger kids what it looks like to be them! Wide-eyed, testing boundaries, and so enamored with the world.
Parenting tip: If your kiddo is between the ages of 4 and 6, have a fun conversation with them about Forky. Ask them what they loved about Forky, and what part of Forky’s actions they thought were “silly.” What they loved about Forky will probably parallel what love about themselves. *mind blown*
While most of the film was bright and anchored in emotion, there were a few scenes that may be scary to smaller children. Most of them include the Benson ventriloquist dummies. These dummies live in the antique story with misunderstood “villain” of the film, Gabby Gabby.
Young kids may be creeped out over the movements of the dummies, and some of the interactions they have with Woody, Bo Peep, and Forky. Heck, I’m 37, and they completely creeped me out.
There’s also a certain driving scene towards the end of the film, that may scare younger kids who have aversions to car troubles or have been in car accidents. Just give them an extra squeeze during that time, and remind them it’s not real.
Should I Take My Young Child To See Toy Story 4?
This parent’s honest opinion about Toy Story 4 is that younger kids may want to move about during certain parts of the film. There’s just so much story to follow, and they may not be able to keep track of it all plus sit still for an hour and 40 minutes.
If you are fine with them wanting to move about, then take them to see the film. We will take our 4 year old to see it again, and I know he will do better the second time around since he’s now familiar with the new characters, and has his favorite scenes.
I hope this Toy Story 4 review helps you decide if taking your younger children to see the film makes sense for your family.