Toy Story 4 - No More Child's Play
Toys Are Fan Favorites
June 2019 became the month of movies about dolls and toys and some moviegoers loved off of these films. .
The predicted big plaything hits included Annabelle Comes Home, Child's Play and the long awaited Toy Story 4 with its pre-release marketing containing a strong impression that one of the major toys is going to leave the series that began in 1995. This is a ploy that many television show's marketing staffs use.
The Toy Story catalogue of animated family films has been a fan favorite from 1995 through 2019 and the latest fourth installment. Fans are wondering if this will be the last ion the series.
Serious Themes for a G Movie
This edition of Toy Story includes dolls that look and act like gangsters and possessed dolls of 1960s horror flicks like Devil Doll and Twilight Zone episodes.
Woody is captured by four gangster dolls in pinstripe suits who kowtow to a 1950s female toddler doll who is out to steal the sheriff's voice box. This might as well be Child's Play! The gangsters actually look like the devil-doll ventriloquist's dummy with wavier hair and wider lips.
Woody must make the decision to keep his voice box or to let another toy be held captive by the toddler and her gangsters, and likely destroyed. This is powerful material for the under-5 set who watch this story.
Some movie fans call the ventriloquist's puppet
in the 1964 British film by another name: "Devil Dummy."
The night I saw the all-toy film lasting an hour and 45 minutes, I noticed that children from about ages seven down to one year kind of ignored the gangsters and the kidnapping and ransom. They laughed at the other toy characters, especially the fork entity and seemed to ignore the rest of the story (Forky really is pretty funny).
The older kids spent the movie running up and down the theater staircase for free popcorn and soda refills in the lobby. They would likely rather have seen the new knife wielding Chucky story that includes an evil robot doll called Buddi.
One of the suggested titles for the original Toy Story was pretty gruesome itself:
"Bring Me The Arm of Buzz Lightyear" was one of the suggested titles for Toy Story.
In film advertising poster', the robotic Buddi from the 2019 "Child's Play" destroyed one of the beloved Toy Story characters in each image. This is funny, but may frighten young children.
The Twilight Zone introduced the television's first killer toy “Talking Tina” in the 1963 episode “Living Doll.” Her counterpart in Toy Story 4 is "Gabby Gabby", a play on the name of the popular 1960s toy "Chatty Cathy."
The funny toy movie, then, contains some dark material and might scare some young children. Adults with phobias about dolls and robots will also not be thrilled in a good way.
Baby Boomers Beware!
This film seems to aim suggestions at Baby Boomers, specially that they are aging and need to get out of the way of younger people who have found their important purposes in life. Buzz acts like an airhead in this film, but uses the messages on his voice box to guide him through tough situations to become more of a leader.
...it’s a Pixar movie version of a real-life phenomenon in which older men refuse to step aside so that a new generation can step up, take charge, and prove that they are capable of running the show...— Vulture.com; June 21, 2019
Woody, the old "leader doll" from the 1950s, finds himself more and more displaced at the home of his little girl owner until he finds himself sacrificing his parts to recover a lost plastic fork. The fork is the girl's favorite toy now.
Are plastic forks more valuable than Baby Boomers? To a little preschool girl, yes.
Woody is a bit like the 1950's Howdy Doody, the cowboy marionette on old black and white TV. He, Woody, and their similar clothing are both passe. Howdy is in the Smithsonian Institution Museum and it's time for Woody to find something else to do, since his little girl is tired of him.
So, are Baby Boomers passe? Some younger people think so.
Forky for President!
Forky is hilarious, but a licensed kit to make him is $17.99 at WalMart - except a few days when it went on sale for $16.87. The materials to make the character cost about 25 cents.
Listening to moviegoers talk after the showing I attended, many made some interesting comments.
A few viewers felt that some of the characters in this sequel could represent Election 2020 POTUS candidates, as shown in the table below.
Who are all of these characters, really?
Any male Baby Boomer or a little older who has a l-o-n-g political or business career and may still run for POTUS in AD 2020: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, etc.
Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, some other female potential condidates.
New leaders among Millenials and Generation Z
Trump Cabinet members
Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky, leader of the Ukraine who is also a professional comedian.
The kids get older. But the toys stay the same age.— Matthew McConaughey in the film "Dazed and Confused"; 1993
Top Critics' Reactions
A total of 45 reviewers s of July 1, 2019 named as "Top Critics" by the Rotten Tomatoes movies and television website overwhelmingly rated Toy Story 4 a fine movie and 98% fresh. Forky seemed to be their favorite character.
Audience members who sent in reviews to Rotten agreed as well, except for a handful that are tired of the film's continuing characters. Among 359 reviews, the audience scored the film at 94% fresh overall.
Toy Story 4 is so good it’s criminal. The legislation it flouts is the law of diminishing returns which governs movies with numbers after their names.— Matthew Norman, Standard CO of the UK; June 2019
If your children up to age six or first grade like the characters in the Toy Story universe, they will be tickled by Forky - a spork with pipe cleaner arms and a constantly hilarious set of lines to deliver.
These children may or may not attend to the themes of the film, which include growing older and becoming less desirable, finding a sense of purpose, sacrificing self for others, empowering women, looking for a forever home, loyalty, lasting friendships, and helping those less fortunate.
Glorifying the past and remaining stuck in your ways isn’t good for you.— Jen Chaney, Voulture.com; June 21, 2019
- Ehrlich, D. Toy Story 4 Review: Forky Helps Pixar's Signature Franchise End on the Perfect Note". IndieWire; 2019.
- English, J. 10 Rejected Titles for Toy Story. Mental Floss; 2014.
- Hamilton, J. The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70; p 136-142. Hemlock Books; 2013.
- The History of Creepy Dolls. The Smithsonian Institution.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Patty Inglish MS