So, Pixar have announced Toy Story 4. I may be a little overdramatic when I say that this is one of the greatest travesties in film history, but I stand by it! Toy Story is one of those everlasting series that we can always come back to at any point in our lives and not only is it still fun and heart-warming, but each perfect film actually has some meaning. And now – just when we thought we had closure – it’s been taken away.
The formula for story making has been the same for years, why throw it away now? Three acts; a beginning, a middle, and most importantly an end! This doesn’t just apply to individual films, but to the overarching story of a series as well. And what better way to structure this into a trilogy, giving each film a definitive reason to exist. If you have to keep adding to your story by making more and more films then they lose their meaning and emotional impact.
Toy Story was fantastic for what it was. We see Andy growing up from the point of view of his toys and, although it’s a children’s film at heart, the story relates heavily to all of us here at university who have just left our childhoods behind. Toy Story now seems doomed to become just another franchise like Marvel. By that I mean the films individually are enjoyable, but as a whole the Marvel film universe has very little personal meaning. At some point in the future we’ll be watching some generic Toy Story spin-off and we’ll neither care nor even remember what the first three meant to us all individually.
This has unfortunately become a new trend amongst filmmakers, affectionately called “George-Lucas-ification”, where directors are bastardizing their own masterpieces simply for the money. The saddest thing is that it’s happening to the truly talented and well-loved legends of film. We’ve seen it happen with Indiana Jones 4, Prometheus, The Hobbit: An unnecessary Journey, and now even Ridley Scott’s back to molest Blade Runner once again with a sequel. Why can’t these directors just move on?
I used to have a lot of respect for Pixar because of its impressive track record of stand-alone films, including Finding Nemo, Up, Monsters Inc., and my all-time favourite WALL-E (I cry every time). So, when I heard Monsters University was coming I thought I’d let it slide as a one off. But now Pixar have unfortunately followed the trend as four out of their six upcoming films are sequels; Cars 3, Incredibles 2, Finding Dory, and now Toy Story 4. It seems I was misled.
So I ask, has everyone in Hollywood just run out of ideas? We do still see sparks of beauty and brilliance from time to time, but they’re all too faint to fully reignite the once rich and varied main stage of cinema. I now find myself scouring obscure corners of the internet for indie films crafted with love by directors who have true appreciation for the art form. It’s a real shame that these gems are simply ignored while every one of Michael Bay’s excretions open in theatres across the globe. It’s even more appalling that audiences actually endorse this!
I fear that the artistic side of filmmaking has simply submitted to the brute force and ignorance of the industry side as it tries to squeeze out every penny of an exhausted storyline. Toy Story has absolutely nothing left to say, and neither do I.