So, the new Toy Story 4 trailer has been out for a while and I’ve been trying really hard to get on board with it. As a huge fan of Toy Story (I literally know all the words), I really want to care about Toy Story 4, but I just don’t. Or rather, I do because they’re ruining the legacy of one of the best kids’ movies of all time and all I can do is sit back and watch it perish.
Toy Story was one of the best movies of my childhood – everyone can pretty much relate to that. It’s funny and witty and has great dynamic characters and arcs. It also brings a subtle complexity and depth to a movie that is supposed to be for children, because Disney and Pixar really know how to make a film that everyone can enjoy. It’s got heaps of iconic one-liners, and a wonderful amount of 90’s nostalgia too.
Toy Story 2 exceeded expectations because it was just as good as the original. If anything, the themes were even more complex, and some would argue that it was actually better than the first. While the first Toy Story was all about the role of a toy, this one was about what it means when you lose that sense of love and purpose, and how to get it back.
Toy Story 3 was a bit meh, but its ending was secure and it pulled the heart strings. We got the closure we needed and the toys got a good ending. I definitely cried a bit when Andy left, in a satisfying kinda way.
Except, now they’re reviving the story. And worse, it doesn’t seem to be bringing anything new to the table.
Toy Story 4
So, judging from the trailer, the premise of Toy Story 4 is that there’s an angsty toy who can’t accept his role and he and Woody get lost together while trying to convince him. Hmm.
It sounds familiar because it is. The first Toy Story is literally about Woody getting lost with Buzz while trying to force him to accept that he’s a toy. We’ve already been on this journey and used this story line.
Then, Bo Peep shows up and opens Woody’s eyes to the fact that there’s more to life than devotion to one child. Again, been there, done that with Jesse in Toy Story 2. They’re even reusing the other toys setting out to find Woody when he doesn’t really want to come home.
The point is, we’ve watched Andy grow up and leave, and so we’ve exhausted the story line of childhood and separation. We’ve covered all the different ways toys can interact with kids, and the love and loss that comes with being adopted and abandoned. We’ve explored what it’s like to move on, or to stay attached, or be in that in-between where you don’t know what you want.
So, What The Hell Is The Point Of This Movie?
That’s the question, right? The fact that it’s literally about the existential crisis of a spork sounds like a joke, especially after the incredibly thoughtful and nuanced movies Pixar has previously given us.
The only new plot I can think of is that this time Woody genuinely moves on to some life free of kids and responsibilities, and basically retires. There isn’t any other direction this film can go that they haven’t used already. The thing is, if they do go that way, then it just undermines Toy Story 2. That sequel was all about loyalty to your kid despite the fact that it’s hard and exhausting. Plus, a trilogy is just so neat and clearly ended. Why mess it up with an unnecessary fourth?
Toy Story 3 was straight up traumatic, and I really think we’ve been through enough.
Deep down we all know this is a cash grab, but I’m praying that Pixar is going to surprise me with some deep and thoughtful plot line that I just haven’t anticipated. Hopefully they pull through, because alternatively, they’ll kill a series that’s been adored for over 30 years.
The release date is 21 June. Pixar, please prove me wrong.
Sources: GIPHY, Pixar, Walt Disney Pictures