‘A Bundle of Action’ and ‘Just the Right Amount of Scary’: Kids Review ‘Toy Story 4’

The professional film critics have weighed in on the latest installment of “Toy Story,” but what did the young moviegoers it was made for think?

We asked parents to send us their children’s movie reviews, and received more than 50 submissions. Below is a selection of the responses, which have been condensed and lightly edited (warning: spoilers ahead).

What did you think of “Toy Story 4”? Add your review in the comments.

A Tearjerker

I am a huge “Toy Story” fan. The fourth movie was humorous and just the right amount scary, although I was extremely disappointed that Jessie, Ham, Slinky, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and the other toys were not in it nearly as much as they should have been.

The animation was more than I have ever seen! Most importantly, it was the first movie I have ever cried during. I didn’t even cry during “The Lion King,” but I suppose that is because I have grown up with “Toy Story.”

— Abraham Marshall, 11, Silver Spring, Md.

“Toy Story 4” is the saddest movie in the series yet and very different from the rest, but in a good way.

I didn’t like how most of the movie was in a theme park or antique shop, and we didn’t get to see a lot of places. My little brother thinks it’s the best “Toy Story” movie; I would rank it third.

— Henry Wain, 11, Los Angeles

Introducing Forky and Duke Caboom

I thought “Toy Story 4” was really funny and entertaining. I think some of the details were a bit “extra,” but other than that I thought it was great.

Forky was definitely my favorite character, although Duke Caboom was also quite funny. The reason I liked these characters is because they were really developed. Duke Caboom was not as major a character as Forky was, but in the little time they had to introduce his character, they squeezed in a lot of laughs. Over all, I rate this movie four stars.

— Willa Regan, 10, Sharon, Conn.

I’ve seen a lot of unnecessary sequels, but this one was necessary — not to continue the plot or tie up loose ends (honestly, I have more questions now), but to tell a story that needed to be told.

The final scene was more emotional than it needed to be, but Forky made up for it. Forky is great. Why wasn’t there more Forky? I want more Forky.

— Miranda Tagliamonte, 14, Hyde Park, N.Y.

What Was the Message?

I thought “Toy Story 4” was O.K. It had a bundle of action, and multiple morals and “wow” factors. But the main focus was hard to make out. I couldn’t really tell if it was about “anybody being a toy” or “toys come and go” or even “don’t leave your toys behind in a creepy antique store!”

Although the fourth movie did not have the nostalgia of the first couple, it was still funny and we got to explore new settings. I wish that they had included more of Bonnie playing with the toys, but the adventure was a nice experience for the toys to bond with each other.

Speaking of bonding, I liked the time between Bo and Woody. It was nice that they made Bo more of a leading character than Woody, unlike the first two movies.

— Mason Hockett, 12, Evanston, Ill.

‘Bring Back the Family’

What I enjoyed about the film was how connected, concerned and caring Woody was toward Forky. Woody was more of a father to Forky. He would worry when Forky wandered off and tried to jump into trash cans, and I thought that showed a different, sensitive side of Woody.

What I disagreed about with this film was Woody leaving his friends. I was very upset because I always thought of Woody and the group as a family. Families stay together, and seeing Woody really surprised me. Instead, Woody stayed behind with Bo Peep and her friends, which I disagree with 100 percent. I also did not like how the rest of Woody’s friends were not featured enough in the film.

This is my message to Pixar: Bring back the family!

— Adriana Zumbado, 11, Tamarac, Fla.

“Toy Story 4” was a big disappointment. Even though I saw the other “Toy Story” movies and enjoyed them a lot, this movie did not have a very interesting plot, and made the characters act in ways that didn’t make sense for them.

Although the animation was incredible (the carnival scenes and the scene of Woody and Forky walking back to Bonnie’s car on a dark road were amazing), I was bored during the middle.

Bo Peep always seemed to be mad at Woody, but he was just trying to be a helpful friend. In the end, I didn’t understand why Woody would be so happy to leave his friends, especially Buzz Lightyear. I know he loved Bo Peep, but he didn’t seem to be the kind of toy who would not want to live in a house with a kid or with all of his friends.

Maybe the message that sometimes you have to try new adventures and still remember old times is important for older people. I couldn’t relate to this idea, though. Maybe this “Toy Story” is more for adults.

— Ben Marx, 13, Scarsdale, N.Y.

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Lara Takenaga is a staff editor for the Reader Center. @LaraTakenaga

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