It is 1995. I was nine and already too old to play with toys but little did I know that that my formerly preposterous fantasy of my toys coming alive at night wasn’t stand-alone event but instead a cinematic universe of its own.
It is 2019 and I watched Toy Story 4 over the weekend. While I was convinced going in that the audience would be full of 30-somethings- assuming that kids these days don’t even play with toys and therefore won’t find the premise relatable. I was pleasantly surprised, sitting between a kind looking lady in her 60s and a toddler of about two, unrelated but completely enjoying themselves wide-eyed and smiling with absolute glee. The IMAX screen made characters beyond life-sized, with many kids running to the screen trying to ‘participate’.
On a thematic level, the narrative was rather layered, dealing with deep themes such as rejection, inclusion, sacrifice, identity, self worth and acceptance, ageing, finding purpose, all wrapped in a very cohesive fashion. It also taught the audience that villainy is subjective and that love cannot be won or bought but given out of free will. What was equally incredible was how innocent the film was, with no double entendres or innuendo.
You walk out of the cinema thanking Pixar for keeping the 24 year old franchise fresh and still teaching an old dog (me) new tricks.