Opinion: Pixar Shouldn’t Make ‘Toy Story 4’
Pretty much every time I see news of a new franchise film, I have the same thought: I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. This was definitely the case this past week when news broke that there’d be another Toy Story film.
At first, I was excited because, well, the Toy Story movies rock. There’s not a lot of franchises that can even say they have one good movie and Toy Story succeeded in creating three nearly perfect films. They’re altogether cute, fun, and nostalgic. What’s there not to like about a fourth movie?
Then a weird reality came crashing down on me. Toy Story 4 isn’t necessarily a good idea and I’ve actually convinced myself it’s far from it. Besides the fact that it renders my Toy Story Blu-ray box set obsolete, here is why I think Pixar should’ve passed on another film featuring Woody, Buzz, and the gang:
In the same vein as “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” I believe Hollywood should let franchises quit while they’re ahead. In the case of the Toy Story franchise, Pixar has created three movies that are 100%, 100%, and 99% on Rotten Tomatoes (which I know isn’t the be all, end all).
This begs the question: how can a fourth movie possibly improve their legacy? If anything, they run the chance of ruining their brand and possibly their legacy.
Going into Toy Story 3, I was scared the franchise had outgrown its target audience. The kids that grew up watching and loving the first two Toy Story movies had grown up (similar to Andy). While this worked for the particular plotline in Toy Story 3, I’m not so sure it’ll get as lucky in its subsequent sequel.
By the time the fourth one comes out, it’ll be a whole new generation of kids watching it. Again, it’s a bigger risk than it might seem.
Pixar got its name through original storytelling. Even though they revisited Toy Story right away, nine of their first ten films were original stories. By comparison, three of its next four films were sequels. Some, and I find myself agreeing to a certain degree, have felt Cars 2 started Pixar’s fall from greatness.
Even though a Finding Nemo sequel (titled Finding Dory) was in development, Pixar President Ed Catmull promised they’d put an emphasis on original storytelling.
So, was he lying? It looks that way since Finding Dory, Toy Story 4, The Incredibles 2, and Cars 3 will all be seeing the light of the day alongside just five original Pixar films.
If Pixar wants to continue to stay one step ahead of their animation competition, I think it’d be best for them to take some chances with original content. Sitting back and cashing in on franchises isn’t going to do the job.
Although I like to think a lot goes into making a decision on a movie, the sad truth is that it all comes down to money. I really can’t fault Pixar for going forward with Toy Story 4 given how lucrative the franchise (and the brand) have been for them.
At some point, though, someone in Hollywood needs to make a stand against these massive franchises and film universes. I said it before Interstellar (and a year before that, too): original movies are a dying commodity. I’m not the only one noticing the trend either.
I get that the average person doesn’t go to the movies that often. For those people, maybe a franchise film (a sequel, spin-off, etc.) will actually get them to go. That doesn’t make it right, though.
Audiences deserve something a little better – something with a little more thought and originality. Something that gets us excited to see more original ideas. They’ll be failures along the way but, once again, the risk is worth the reward.
What are your thoughts on Toy Story 4 and/or Hollywood’s obsession with franchises? Sound off in the comments below!
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