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The Benefits of Moving On: The Life Lessons of ‘Toy Story 4’

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I had the pleasure of attending the advance screening of “Toy Story 4” on June 12. This was a film I had really been looking forward to for quite some time. It seems like Pixar has been in a slump of sorts when it comes to “Cars 3,” “The Good Dinosaur,” and “The Incredibles 2” which were all not really classic Pixar films in terms of quality. However, I am happy to announce that “Toy Story 4” surpassed my expectations and is truly a great film with a really deep theme that is relatable to all audiences.

Quick synopsis: “Toy Story 4” follows the classic gang going on an adventure to return Bonnie’s newly made toy back to her. If you look deeper into the film, you can see that it is truly about Woody letting go of his ties to Andy and his past in order to better appreciate his present.

To further analyze the theme, we have to dive into Woody’s psyche. One of the reasons I originally felt this fourth installment was unnecessary was because I felt “Toy Story 3” wrapped up the overarching franchise story into a nice bow. But that was strictly from Andy’s point of view, we never truly see the toys’ reactions to their new home especially Woody’s (who has always been one of Andy’s closest toys).

This film really shows Woody never truly got over the loss of Andy which is shown prevalently in the film, from Woody calling Bonnie by Andy’s name multiple times and putting himself into similar situations with Bonnie that he was in with Andy at a similar age. At multiple times in the movie, characters have to remind Woody that Bonnie and Andy are different kids. There’s one point where Bonnie takes Woody’s signature sheriff star and pins it upon Jessie appointing her sheriff (this happens early in the film in order to illustrate what this movie is going to be about and what emotional journey Woody is going to undergo). Eventually, Woody does move on, with the help of an old friend.

This theme will hit home to audiences around the world because everyone has had the experience of having to move on. Maybe it was a past relationship or a mistake you made. This film teaches us it’s healthy to move on and it can actually be beneficial.

For me personally, going from my middle school to high school was really hard the first year because I had latched onto those past few years so much. My middle school was not the feeder school for my high school so I didn’t know anyone. It also didn’t help that pretty much everyone was already in their established friend groups from their previous schools, which made first contact with them really intimidating.

I would find myself at the high school where most of my friends had gone attempting to rekindle those friendships but I suddenly found out that it would never be as it once was. After I realized that my attachment to those years and experiences was hindering me from making new friendships, I decided to look forward for a change.

With “Toy Story 4,” Pixar presents a simply amazing movie. The graphics are unbelievable and every character acts in its predetermined personality that was built on in previous films. The story is heartfelt and it even has some tear-jerking moments in it.

I hope you see this movie and truly enjoy this art of real animation.

“Toy Story 4” by director Josh Cooley (this is his directorial debut), and starring Tom Hanks as the voice of Woody, hits movie theaters Friday, June 21.

Taj is a 15-year-old rising junior who hopes Pixar will go back to the route of mostly original films.

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