The film begins with the song "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away". It evokes my emotion of how I can't let this film franchise away. The feelings I have for this series, which began nearly a quarter century ago with four terrific installments are something special. The series has run from the level of "great" to "perfect" and the fourth installment keeps up with that.
The first film of the series, "Toy Story" was my first animated film in the theatre and there are a lot of memories that rake up each time I watch a film from this franchise. I must also say, that I was fortunate enough to watch all the 4 installments in theatres. Personally, there is always an excitement attached with fear of this franchise, excitement is understood but the fear comes because the bar it has set is so high that I am afraid it each will it be as good as the previous film. Touch wood, so far this has been a great journey. I believe the same anxieties I have gone through were coming out of the film in the character "Woody" and that in itself was surprising and also enthralling.
Is "Woody", still the same and excited as ever, or does it becomes just another boring toy that does not want to be a mere plaything anymore and seek something better? Thankfully, both aspects have come good in the film, and both are etched together beautifully and seamlessly. "Woody" remains true to the character. The guy who has taught a lot about friendship, loyalty, never giving up, yet he needs a better avenue to display his great characteristics and seeks something more than being a toy. "Woody's" fear that he's become obsolete, boring, not special anymore, and otherwise incapable of holding the attention of a child is the same I have gone through and I believe, each one goes through these phases.
We give up on Toys, when we turn teens, we give on gadgets when we turn old I guess. Also, the worse is we give up on parents when we think we are capable to deal with lives on our own and we give up on so many people once our transactions with them are done. In a transactional world, this film franchise stands tall and continues to feed us life lessons on why one should never give up on those who helped them, built them, fed them and have been with them through tough times.
Very few movie series are as affable and accessible to people across all ages and cultures as this one, yet Toy Story has remained rich in the thought provocation aspect with its metaphors, subtle philosophy and words that are worth mentioning at many instances in life. "Woody" is perhaps the greatest animated character ever. Although he never changes the size, color, shape, or voice, yet always manages to stand by what he believes in and that is the true sign of a hero.
My Three Life Lessons from this film are:
1. Listen to your inner voice, it guides you in the right direction
2. Loyalty may not payback as we expect yet being loyal gives a purposefulness to existence
3. If we believe, “Yes We Canada”, then we certainly achieve (Canada is reference to character Caboom)
I am very happy that this franchise has continued to reinvent itself over a span of a time which is long enough for two generations to grow up. This I believe is the true achievement of this. My rating doesn't matter for the finest animated film of the year yet.
From me, it's a 4/5. Wish there was a little less drama and more of action, my wish only.