As I sat alongside my Andy, my grown man child, I watched the sneak peek of Toy Story 4 at Disneyland with that recognizable heart-in-your-throat sensation. But as familiar as the toys are, there is something quite different about this installment. When Toy Story debuted in 1995, my boys were two and four. After seeing the movie, I immediately bought one son a Buzz and the other a Woody. They subsequently dressed as one of the gang for several Halloweens. We watched each of the trilogy always sitting side by side. And as my boys left for college, we knew these movies paralleled their lives; these films were written for them. But Toy Story 4 plays with us empty nesters in mind.
I received complimentary tickets to screen this film. As always, my opinions are 100% ME!
Toy Story 4 is for Grown Ups
In my mind, Toy Story 4 is clearly written for us grown ups. Us empty nesters left behind. This biopic according to Woody parallels our mid-life crisis. When our charges, the ones we guard over for decades and love the most move on, what is left for us to do? Do we sit in the closet (wearing our dust bunnies on our sleeves) ignored? Or do we reinvent ourselves and find new, unexplored roles? Do we still have purpose???
AND the Young at Heart
This is not to imply that light-hearted, giggle moments are absent. Kids will love the new toys introduced. (Especially Forky! Which in my mind should be called Sporky… Don’t get me started.) I love Forky too.
Though being replaced by a fork thrown in the trash may “feed” into Woody’s identity crisis, this new toy forces him to rediscover himself. And plot his future. While Toy Story 4 may force empty nesters beyond their secondhand status, it helps us realize that nothing lasts forever. Will we ultimately embrace new adventures? Stay tuned. (Can Toy Story 5 be far behind??)
Toy Story History
The ‘story” begins in 1995, when Toy Story became the first fully computer animated feature film and the highest grossing movie of the year. Remarkably,this film was nominated for three Oscars® and two Golden Globes®.
Notably, Toy Story 2 is the first film ever to be entirely created, mastered and exhibited digitally. It won a Grammy® for best song written for a motion picture, television or other visual media (Randy Newman, “When She Loved Me”).
Released in 2010, Toy Story 3 won Oscars® for best animated feature film and best achievement in music written for motion pictures, original song (Randy Newman/“We Belong Together”). The film also won a Golden Globe® and BAFTA for best animated film. It was the second Pixar film to be nominated for the best picture Oscar. To date, it is Pixar’s second highest-grossing film of all time behind Incredibles 2.
The 2015 short Riley’s First Date? was helmed by director Josh Cooley and produced by Mark Nielsen.
Toy Story 4 opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.