Toy Story 4 is out, and I don’t mean available for viewing in your local theaters … which it is … but ‘out’ in the sense that I’m not going to go see it, not even when it eventually shows up on Netflix. Why? Well, for one, I’ve already seen it, back when it was called Toy Story without even a “1” to designate it from the follow-ups. Woody has to convince Buzz Lightyear that he is not Buzz Lightyear but a toy. In #4, both Buzz AND Woody have to convince some new toy that it is, indeed, a toy. At least, that’s what I gather from the previews and maybe I have it wrong. Maybe. But I don’t care because it’s close enough to be of no difference and besides, the whole Toy Story story ended perfectly, just perfectly, in #3. There’s simply no reason for another chapter. So, why’d they do it?
The execs and managers and actuaries and sheet-and-ledger people at Disney cast their louped and green-shaded eyes at accounts receivable and concluded there was even more filthy lucre available from this most recent class of children now reaching movie-going age, and since they had not seen Toy 1-3, at least in theaters, then let’s invite them to the party. After the party is over, of course, but, hey, the kids don’t know that. And by the time they’re old enough to figure out how ripped off they were, Toy Stories 5-7 will be floating around, aimed at the subsequent sets of hatchlings and will, no doubt, like the recent spate of Star Wars movies, be regarded as the main franchise.
I don’t have anything against making money, cold hearted capitalist that I am, and if Disney statisticians have figured on a quick buck this way, fine. But at what point do you trade bucks for soul? Because 1-3 were soul, were art. This latest iteration is like painting a Dayglo version of the Mona Lisa, turning a masterpiece into parody.
And all three movies were masterful…well, maybe not 2 so much, but it had its moments. And 3 had the most perfect ending of a trilogy ever, yes, even better than Lord of the Rings and especially Star Wars (the real Star Wars, not the silly crap before and after). The last ten minutes of 3 was the closest a cartoon…er, animated feature…brought me to tears. The passing of the torch, the putting away of childish things for the dreary numbness of adulthood and isn’t it nice to know that, a few streets over, your childhood still lives? The circle of life, the seasons go round and round, and fade into the sunset. End of story. End of Toy Story. How many other movies do you know that ended so perfectly? Phoenix is one. Avenger’s End Game another, not for what happened to Cap, but for how it closed the Marvel Universe.
And yeah, yeah, I know, Spiderman and Black Widow are coming and yeah, yeah, I am going to go see them but that’s because they deal with Marvel sideshows, where things haven’t quite ended yet. They tidy up loose ends. They don’t sell out.
Like 4 does.