Let’s make one thing very clear right off the bat here: “Toy Story 3” is my absolute favorite movie of all time.
I feel like I have to start this article off by making that clear, because otherwise, what I’m about to say might sound like generic hate for the sake of hating.
I do not want “Toy Story 4”. I do not think that Disney should make this movie, and I refuse to allow it into my life.
Please, before you light your torches and sharpen your pitchforks, allow me to explain this seemingly paradoxical viewpoint.
“Toy Story” was a definitive movie for a generation of children. While now the film looks suspiciously like a bad video game cutscene, back in the ‘90s, it was cutting edge. I was already firmly convinced that my toys were alive before going into the theater to see the movie, so “Toy Story” felt like a confirmation of what I already knew.
I remember reading a plot synopsis for “Toy Story 2” on the early internet long before the movie hit theaters. I was ridiculously excited to get to see more of Buzz, Woody, and the gang, and when the film finally came out, it was a dream come true. Perhaps not quite as groundbreaking as the first movie, but certainly, still absolutely wonderful in its own way.
Then, I grew up. I went through puberty, finished school, travelled the world, and eventually went off to college. Finally, “Toy Story 3” arrived, and I was no longer a child – and neither was Andy.
I admit that “Toy Story 3” isn’t perfect. The narrative has to jump through a few hoops to try and set up a satisfying conclusion for the characters, and the film doubles down on the idea that toys that are in any way mistreated are in danger of turning into supervillains, which is an odd running theme for the series.
Nevertheless, I choked up during that scene (you know the one I mean), and then again right at the end. This movie was powerful, because I’d grown up with these characters, and I knew that it was time to say goodbye.
So, shortly after, when Disney announced “Toy Story 4”, I was apprehensive. The series had reached such a perfect conclusion that returning to this world for another adventure seemed unnecessary. But, I was willing to give Disney the benefit of the doubt, as the short movies with the characters had generally been solid.
Then, “Toy Story 4” started hitting production snags. According to insider reports, the movie’s story was scrapped time and again, with one writer having to leave the project citing sexual harassment from executive producer John Lasseter as part of the issue.
The movie has been delayed again and again, because nobody really knows how to follow through on the idea of a new “Toy Story”. This is a case of Disney announcing a movie before the movie exists, purely for the sake of keeping their brand relevant.
This is a big issue for CGI movies – unlike traditional animation, which really doesn’t age (watch “Sleeping Beauty” and tell me that this film is in any way visually dated), Pixar films have a short shelf life. Sooner, rather than later, they end up looking old, creaky, and difficult to endure.
So, there’s a need to keep refreshing the big Disney brands. “Monsters Inc”, “Finding Nemo”, and now, “The Incredibles” have all gotten sequels purely because the big company that rules the roost needs to keep a fresh, pretty version of these movies in people’s minds in order to sell merchandize.
So, inevitably, we get a new “Toy Story”, not because there’s a story to be told, but because there are toys to sell. The emphasis is on the wrong point here.
JUNE 21 2019 pic.twitter.com/LiJhHNTOoo
— Josh Cooley (@CooleyUrFaceOff) April 8, 2018
“Toy Story 4” now has a release date – it’s coming in 2019. As much as I love these previous movies, I can’t bring myself to be excited about this new movie. It feels like little more than a shallow toy commercial, rather than a film that’s actually worth watching.
Perhaps I’m wrong. I hope so. If “Toy Story 4” turns out to be an absolute masterpiece that revolutionizes animated cinema, I’ll be more happy than anyone.
At present, though, I’ve already said goodbye to Woody and Buzz, and I can no longer maintain a sense of childlike wonder and joy when I know that the only reason Disney is making another movie is to try and scam a few more bucks out of the parents of the world.