RogerBW's Blog

Toy Story 4 29 June 2023

2019 animated action/comedy, dir. Josh Cooley / John Lasseter, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen: IMDb / allmovie. What if God is just a series of children?

Well, yes, the religious allegories of the earlier films are back in force here. Woody may have been arguing for salvation by works rather than by faith and trust in the Grand Scheme (you were put here for a reason, and sometimes God just casually takes people away), but he's finally realising how hopeless his quest for salvation actually is. Meanwhile Bo has been quietly getting on with making the world a better place, and I don't think it's too much to see pragmatic atheism in this approach. Sure, some people are happier with gods, so you help to get them towards good ones; but you don't need one any more.

(All right, Bo with a more Rosie the Riveter sort of style works well for me.)

At the same time we get the person with "if only this one thing were changed about me", like Donnie the Quiz Kid in Magnolia obsessing over his teeth. This does seem to be a message that needs to get out more: even if The One Thing about you is a thing that genuinely needs to be changed, fixing it will not magically solve all your other problems.

Key and Peele as the street-talking funfair toys seem to be in a different film; they don't have much to do, and might have fit better in one of the earlier entries in the series before the really serious characterisation got going, but as it is they're a bit jarring here.

The action's good, though interestingly small-scale; the plot is serious. The third film offered a happy ending to the narrative, and this one undoes that to have its new story; well, fine, but it's very easy for a sequel to undo the good of what's gone before (consider AlienĀ³), and I have some trepidation about what will be done in the inevitable Toy Story 5.

I talk about this film further on Ribbon of Memes.

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See also:
Magnolia (1999)

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