With the huge announcement last week that Pixar will be crafting a fourth instalment in the superb ‘Toy Story’ franchise, the reveal has proven divisive amongst fans.
On one hand, as with ‘Toy Story 2’ and ‘Toy Story 3’, there are those that are 100% behind any expansion on the exciting world inhabited by Woody and Buzz. Their trust, enthusiasm and willingness is never brought into question, so whatever the outcome, there will always been an audience happy to see more of what they love.
But what about the other side?
Sure, brand the sceptics as negative stick in the muds, but it’s not as simple as that.
For me, the ‘Toy Story’ trilogy is perfect. Each film contains meaningful themes that resonate with its audiences, young or old, which is what makes each one so timeless. What’s more, they’re all sharply written, fresh and funny, which, again, stands the test of time like few comedies can.
‘Toy Story 4’ is billed as a love story, but between whom? The first two touched upon a romance between Woody and Bo, but was swiftly extinguished in the third. Similarly, Buzz and Jessie’s flirtations recur but aren’t expanded upon — so who will the romance involve, and will it significantly alter the dynamic of the preexisting toy world and winning narrative formula?
My concern is the idea of an ongoing, never-ending story that embroils the franchise. Why do we have to see more? Do we really want to? There’s always the danger of having too much of a good thing, as we’ve seen with numerous things in the past. Whether it is film sequels (‘The Matrix’) or TV spin-offs (‘Joey’); what made something so darn special in the first place cannot always be replicated again.
Yet many would argue Pixar have managed to do that with their trilogy. And I’d wholeheartedly agree.
However, let’s assess exactly what the ‘Toy Story’ films have already given us.
Firstly, we’ve had the full experience of following Andy growing up and turning into an adult. Subsequently, he outgrew his toys and moved on, so we’ve seen the cycle of that character come to fruition.
Secondly, there’s only so much of a set of characters we can engage with before they potentially become stale. I love seeing the gang reunite, even for the short TV specials, so I’d hate for there to be a film that, like the ‘Star Wars’ prequels, and even ‘The Godfather III’, spoiled the essence of the original/s. It’d be a bitter pill to swallow if, and there’s a possibility, ‘Toy Story 4’ isn’t very good. ‘Cars 2’ suffered horrendously from sequel syndrome, but I refuse to believe Pixar will make the same mistakes twice.
Lastly, I’m not against sequels. Pixar have produced some belters as per the ‘Toy Story’ franchise, and I genuinely enjoyed ‘Monsters University’ a lot. But the symmetry and full circle of the ‘Toy Story’ trilogy is just sublime. From the opening of the 1995 film, we see a wallpaper of pale clouds on a blue sky, which is juxtaposed with a near replica of a sky shot at the end of ‘Toy Story 3’. We feel a sense of accomplishment, having completed Andy’s story, but also because we’ve been through thick and thin with the toys, too. They’re now in a better place; a safe place — a new home for their cycle to start again.
Do we need to see more in the ‘Toy Story’ universe? Personally, I believe not, but I’m also confident that Pixar will pull another classic from up their sleeves when it’s released in 2017.
What are your thoughts on the prospect of ‘Toy Story 4’? Yes, gimme more, or no, leave it alone?