Recently I took my grandson to the movies to see “Toy Story 4”; many will be broadly familiar with the general approach of the Toy Story films, with Woody, Buzz, and all the other characters. Obviously, it is a film that younger children will enjoy, drawing, as it does, on the use of imagination – and of course the fact that “the goodies” always win. So, at one level it is simply a “feel good” story; but at another level there is a deeper message. Let me share a few examples of what I mean.
Time has moved on since the original Toy Story movie, and in some ways the years have taken their toll. The toys are still there, but the child involved is a little girl. At her first day at Kindergarten, she manages to make a crude doll out of a plastic fork and some scraps; but she loves it. Yet Forkie, as the new toy was known, is convinced she is trash; “I’m just trash”, Forkie says, and keeps running to the rubbish bin. And Woody is repeatedly saying, “You’re not trash; you’re a toy, and a little girl loves you”, as he runs after her to prevent her from throwing herself in the bin. The important thing therefore is not that one looks magnificent, but that one is loved. There are too many people who, like Forkie, feel that they are trash; so, there is a message in the film for all such.
The other example of a deeper level of meaning is that the toys, led by Woody, are always caring for one another, even at risk to themselves. The adventures the toys have are all based on that care and loyalty. In short, while this is an enjoyable movie for younger children, and nothing should take away from that, it would be worthwhile for parents (or grandparents!) to encourage the children to explore those deeper levels.
In short, I say “well done” to those who made this movie.
Clive W Ayre