Welcome to the 2019 CIRCUIT CONSIDERATIONS series. Highlighting the very best in film, acting, and technical achievements for the past 12 months that awards voters may need help remembering. Each day a different writer will make their plea for a specific film in a respective category. If you miss one, click the tag “Circuit Considerations 2019,” and if you have some suggestions, include them in the comments below!
The generation-defining animated franchise returns nine years after Andy handed over his beloved toys to Bonnie. Many can see this fourth installment as a giant cash grab but these sequels have never been about the money. They’re about taking a rich set of characters and telling timeless stories in new, heartfelt ways. This time, “Toy Story 4” shifts focus from all the toys to primarily examine the cowboy we know and love. By doing this, it’s an impactful epilogue about the importance of finding one’s purpose toward the end of their prime.
Picking up after the events in “Toy Story 3,” we find Woody (Tom Hanks) struggling with his identity. He is searching for a place in Bonnie’s life while she is growing up fast. He’s no longer the favorite toy and it’s slowly eating his passionate soul. It’s only when Bonnie creates a new toy named Forky (Tony Hale) that Woody finds new meaning in his life. He discovers his ability to help other toys, teaching them how to bring joy to their kids.
By doing this for Forky and others, Woody discovers his calling and how he must help other lonely, scared toys. He learns just how special he is to everyone he comes across, something audiences have known from the moment we met him.
The buzz for “Toy Story 4” winning Best Animated Feature seems low, which is puzzling considering its glowing reviews and massive box-office returns. Some think the series ended perfectly in 2010 and this entry wasn’t necessary. Some might want to award something other than Pixar in this category. But if you see it, you will know there is no mistaking the impression this touching installment has on an audience. This seems to be the end for good, and giving Woody and his friends the Oscar seems right and just.