On the February 6th edition of Theme Park Thursday podcast, we took an unexpected turn into the Dillo’s Diz Disney + Corner to discuss the recent Bo Peep short, ‘Lamp Life’. During the discussion, it occurred to me that I still wasn’t really happy with the way ‘Toy Story 4’ ended – even if I cried… both times.
Two days later, i took in my first viewing of ‘Toy Story 4’ on Disney + since my two viewings in the theater last summer. A few things you should know before I continue:
1) I am extremely possessive of what happens in the Toy Story franchise. This is based on my starting date as a Cast Member in Walt Disney World beginning the same month as the 1995 theatrical release, the hundreds of performances of the Toy Story Parade I was involved with, and my overall extensive work with Woody.
Is there a #2…. oh yeah!
2) I consider ‘Toy Story 3’ to be the greatest ending of any trilogy ever… EVER!
If you know Dillo’s Diz, you know we don’t like change. We don’t like it! And ‘Toy Story 4’ is ALL about change. 3 managed to avoid a change by restarting a cycle for the gang of toys when Andy passes the proverbial torch to Bonnie.
And, ya know, I hear cycles can be detrimental to change.
Woody, who we ALL know this entire franchise is about (sorry Buzz), is at a point where he’s making the same mistakes he made in the previous cycle. Loyal to a fault and resistant to the small changes happening around him. In typical fashion of someone resistant to change, Woody tries to show Forky why his importance to Bonnie is so great when he’s really talking about himself, and at the same time realizing his own importance is no more.
And, like the eternal bachelor, when the love of his life steps back in, Woody’s brain starts to open the shutters that have kept him contained within his comfort zone. Watching Woody begin to separate himself from the things that have kept him whole for over two decades; his pull-string, his friends… it becomes increasingly difficult for me to watch. But, parallel to that, the old dog begins to learn new tricks.
When the time finally comes, when Buzz leads Woody into giving himself permission to leave the group…….. hey, we’ve all made decisions like that in one form or another. It’s just not the decision I expected to come from Woody for this group.
(It also didn’t help that a friend who often worked with Buzz while I worked with Woody had passed away a few months before the movie was released)
It’s most definitely a personal thing for me. It’s that reality check this franchise has done so subtly and so well. I know I’ve made the right decisions in my life, but Woody was the totem of that small slither of my brain forever stuck in the past.
Even if in future films, shorts, or specials, Woody and Bo crosses paths with their group for another ride, the dynamic is forever changed.
Brother Dillo (aka @FrankMCardillo)