It looks like the muppets were right. In the opening number to their most recent cinematic adventure, Muppets Most Wanted, Gonzo sings ‘We’re doing a sequel, the studio wants more, while they wait for Tom Hanks to do Toy Story 4’. It would appear then that song writer Brett McKenzie has the gift of foresight or a keen understanding of the way Hollywood works as two weeks ago it was announced that Toy Story 4 is indeed happening; an announcement that has been divisive of the general public. Some people, myself included, couldn’t contain their excitement at the prospect of another adventure with the Toy Story gang; but other’s felt the decision to bring them back was a bad move by Pixar. I can certainly see why; the Toy Story films are classics in their own right, that have transcended generational gaps and appealed to audiences of all ages. For a lot of people it’s their childhood, so when an announcement like this is made, a great deal of trepidation is somewhat warranted.
The main cause for concern is of course, how could the story be continued from the definitive ending of Toy Story 3. Having said goodbye to Andy and found a new owner, the bittersweet conclusion to the series is nothing short of perfect and so to create a new instalment is a big risk in that it could potentially lessen the films emotional impact. What’s more concerning is the potential re-hashing of story lines and jokes from the previous films that again could have the same impact. Having faced their worse fears in the third entry after accidentally ending up in the furnace, the resolution found an acceptance from the toys in finally letting go of Andy. So to have Toy Story 4 deal with the fear of abandonment that each film before has dealt with, will certainly feel a bit stale and uninspired.
I have faith that this will not be the case though; a faith that comes from the impressive track record that Pixar have had with both their original productions and sequels. Some are better than others but on a whole I don’t think the studio have ever made a bad film, at least so far. This is because story always comes first with the company and unless they really have one worth telling, then the film won’t get made. That’s why it has taken years for sequels to Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles to go into production and that’s why I believe that Toy Story 4 must have one hell of a story.
After all, the franchise is the biggest commodity that Pixar have; so to risk running such a thing would be mindless unless they were sure another film would work. What gives me even more confidence is the fact that the original Toy Story director and Pixar guru, John Lasseter is on board to direct the latest sequel; a sure sign of the films potential. Finally, we have to remember that we’ve seen further Toy Story adventures since the third film in the form of short films, a Halloween special and even a forthcoming Christmas special entitled Toy Story That Time Forgot; all of which have been uniquely inspired, very different and just as funny as the films they are based on.
Toy Story 4 could get very well be one step too far and mark the destruction of a beloved family favourite, but I doubt that very much. At the end of Toy Story 3, we found our heroes in a new place with new characters that have so far been barley glimpsed. A new film could be the beginning of a new chapter in the story, with new challenges, new jokes and new toys that will once again find a new generation of fans. Pixar have a habit of surprising and being different, so I have no doubt that whatever they have in store for us with Toy Story 4 will at the very least be memorable, enjoyable and special in some shape or form.
That’s what my thoughts are, but what are yours? Are you excited for Toy Story 4 or apprehensive? Feel free to leave your comments below!
Next Week: Should motion captured performances be considered during award season?