“Siri, what’s one trillion dollars to the tenth power?” “One trillion dollars to the tenth power is 10000000000000000” *sigh* I hate when he calculates how much money the next movie is going to make! Excuse me! Some of us are trying to work over here, thank you very much! *Mickey Mouse laugh* “Oh boy!” Hello internet! Welcome to Film Theory! The show that’s skeptical you never get to infinity, let alone beyond! So the teasers and trailers have been unleashed, and “Toy Story 4” looks to be yet another family-friendly box-office slam-dunk of a sequel! Surprising literally, no one. Least of all the big mouse himself. But here’s the thing about “Toy Story”, friends, in this day and age of brand safety and child-friendly programming, where Disney is so squeaky clean, and more than eager to sweep some of their more questionable decisions under the rug, I am here to tell you that “Toy Story” may just be the worst movie of the bunch. And obviously, I am no stranger to how dark Disney movies can get. Whether it’s cannibalism aboard the good ship Axiom, the body count of Moana, or Dumbo’s high-flying adventures (with an emphasis on high), no childhood memory is safe from this show. But up until now, I’ve decided to let Toy Story just kind of skate past my radar. I was more than happy to leave it, as the beautiful moving trilogy commenting on the realities of growing up, that it was. But then you, mouse, had to push your luck. You had to go in for yet another sweet, sweet taste of that money-making nectar, and in the process you summoned my wrath. Now, I’m here today to prove to the world, that Toy Story is, undeniably, the sickest, most twisted, darkest G-rated movie you could imagine. That these tales of toys just trying to make their humans happy, is instead a dark picture of inescapable slavery headed towards eventual disaster! Today’s episode, loyal theorists, is dark. We are talking incinerating-every-character-you-love-in-a-furnace, levels of dark. That’s right folks, we’re talking Pixar dark, and I’m not even hyping this up for dramatic effect, it is a literal statement of what we are covering today. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s begin shattering some childhood, shall we? Just in case you’ve been locked in a toy chest since the mid 90’s, Here’s a rundown of the aptly named “Toy Story” films, which, appropriately enough, tell the story of some toys. These toys seemed normal enough when humans are around, but when left alone, they come to life. The toys love their owner, Andy, and they go to extraordinary lengths to be with him. The original “Toy Story” film is all about the arrival of Buzz Lightyear, a cool new toy who threatens to unseat Woody as Andy’s favourite. They eventually team up against the kid next door, a promising young man who seems destined to become a neurosurgeon one day, “No one’s ever attempted a double bypass brain transplant before…” And they scar him so severely, that he goes on to become a garbage man instead of pursuing his medical dreams, note the skull shirt there people – that is Pixar shorthand for “same person”. In “Toy Story 2”, Woody learns that he’s a collector’s item, and has to choose between that #MuseumLife, and returning to his kid. In “Toy Story 3”, Woody has to choose between that #DaycareLife, and you guessed it, returning to his kid. And in “Toy Story 4″‘s trailer, Woody faces his biggest choice yet. Will he choose that #CarnivalLife, or will he return to his kid, so that Pixar can continue printing money with these sequels to infinity and beyond. I think we all know the answer to that one *ka-ching* Now with all that context out of the way, let’s hop into the theorizing, shall we? Imagine for a moment that you’re a toy in Toy Story, start with you coming to life. Now at this point you’ve probably already assumed that a child’s imagination is what indeed gives a toy life, But, in case there was any doubt about it, the “Toy Story 4” trailer officially makes it canon. “Bonnie made a friend in class!” “No, no she literally made a new friend!” Kids are essentially the gods that giveth life in the “Toy Story”-verse, and from that moment on you’re told that your life has a singular purpose: to bring joy to the humans. And that’s not an exaggeration, it is a rule of this universe, again represented by the “Toy Story 4” trailer: “Why am I alive?” “You are going to help create happy memories, that will last for the rest of her life!” “Oh m y god!” So a child’s imagination gives a toy life, which is cool and all, but the weird thing is, toys don’t automatically know this when they’re actually given life. “You are a child’s’ plaything!” “You are a sad, strange little man.” But if you’re a toy who’s skeptical about this, or doesn’t believe it initially, Don’t worry, the concept is gonna get drilled into your head over and over, until you finally decide to come around. “Somewhere in that pad of stuffing is a toy who taught me that life’s only worth living if you’re being loved by a kid!” And, you see, that’s where our problems begin. Not all toys aspire to be a child’s plaything. Remember how Buzz went through a huge existential crisis, when he found out that he wasn’t a Space Ranger in “Toy Story 1”? He was devastated to learn that he wasn’t unique, that the identity he thought he had for himself was a complete fabrication. What really got me thinking about this though was the “Toy Story 4” trailer again, where we meet Forky, who’s going through an existential crisis of his own. “I am not a toy! I was made for soup, salad, maybe chilli and then, the trash!” “Freedom!” Ah, but don’t worry about toys like Buzz. By the end of the movie, he comes around. He learns that toys do in fact have worth, worth that is entirely dependent on being subservient to the whims of their masters, I mean children. Kids who really appreciate the sacrifices that the toys are making on a day to day basis. “Quick, make a space, this is where the spaceship lands!” Who am I kidding? These masters don’t even realize they’re alive! The toys are born into a system where the very fact that they are alive is kept in the closet, both figuratively- -and literally. A world in which they are terrified of humans seeing them as they really are. “Andy’s coming, everybody back to your places, hurry!” Think about it- toys are literally imprisoned in boxes and bedrooms, until a human child decides it’s time to “play with them”. and, you can’t see it because this is all voiceover, but I am tossing strong finger quotes over the word “play” there, because this so-called “playtime” is 100% free of toy consent. Whatever that child wants, that toy must oblige. Consider all those poor disrespected Barbies! And it’s not like they can’t be alive in the presence of humans it’s that they won’t. They’re too scared to be. When the chips are down, sure, they’ll reveal themselves to humans if they have to: “So play nice!” *Sid crying* But the norm is just to lay there and let your human do whatever it wants with you, and then cast you aside when they’re done. And despite it all, the toys still show unconditional love to their kids, something we all get sniffly over in the theater because Randy Newman is singing about friendship, or whatever. But if you start peeling back the surface layers, that shot of Jesse looking longingly out of a window is really just a textbook case of Stockholm Syndrome. When you look at what the toys go through, and what they have to do to maintain the status quo of this society, it’s a system that outright denies toys self-determination. Then doesn’t even allow them to make their own existence known. “But humans are the ones who gave them life in the first place, so it makes sense!” I hear you saying down in the comments, and sure, you are more than welcome to believe that, that is totally fine with me, but, before you make your decision, let me also ask you this. You didn’t get a choice in being born, did you? And so you would also be okay being the plaything of your parents? You know, the people who gave you life without your knowledge? Just asking. So, as a toy that’s your life. A lifetime spent in servitude to masters who control your every action, and don’t even know that you’re alive. Then, as we see in “Toy Story 3”, they grow up, and they abandon you. Yay, happy G-rated kids movie! But we’re still not done, because we haven’t taken this to its logical conclusions. Because for as awful as this systemic indentured servitude might seem, at least you have the sweet release of death to look forward to, right? Riiiight? Maybe not. Cause there are some pretty old toys running around in these movies. In “Toy Story 2” we learned that Stinky Pete was manufactured back in the 50’s, and he hasn’t aged one bit since his “Woody’s Roundup” days. Granted, he’s done an exceptional job of keeping himself in mint condition. But the “Toy Story 4” trailer features a slew of other vintage toys. They’re not under glass, and they seem to be doing just fine too. Furthermore, toys don’t have organs. So riddle me this – how are you gonna die of natural causes, if there are no organs that can fail? And further furthermore, if there are no organs inside of a toy- no brain, no heart, is it even possible to kill a toy? No, but really how do toys end their life in this series? Think about it. We know for a fact there is nothing in a toy’s body or head that is vital to life. After all, there’s a friggin fishing pole with legs walking around in Sid’s room! It seems to be doing just fine. And thanks to Sid again, we also know a toy’s body part can still function, even after being severed from the body itself. His toys have all been Frankensteined and swapped around like crazy, and they’re all walking around, still being toys. Really unhappy, miserable toys, but still, unfortunately for them, they’re very much alive, and still suffering at the hands of his torture. We also know that toy death isn’t tied to the kids. While it seems perfectly logical that children, as the gods in this world who giveth life would also taketh it away when they stop playing make-believe, that isn’t the case at all. We’ve seen many, many toys throughout the series who remain alive, long after their children have outgrown ’em, and quit playing make-believe. It’s also implied that even adult toy collectors, who just buy toys and keep them in a box on a shelf can also instill life into the toys. So throughout this entire franchise, we have yet to see a truly dead toy. “But of course we’ve seen toys die!”, I hear you saying. “There’s the whole incinerator scene at the end of “Toy Story 3″!” And first, we never actually see if a toy’s life is truly taken away by that. But secondly, what if it is? Are you telling me that the only way that a toy can die is by burning to death? Or being completely destroyed? Think again back to Sid’s room, where toys are ripped apart, army men are drowned and maimed in the backyard, and they’re still just walking around. They need to be atomized, melted into nothing to bite the big one. Is that revelation supposed to make me feel better about this universe? But, oh no friends, I can take it one step further here. Not only is a death by fire, or explosion, or just complete annihilation the only way for a toy to bite the big one, more often than not, it’s also gonna have to require them to make the choice themselves. Most toys are gonna have to choose to finish themselves off. I mean, think about it. If I throw my Woody away, and it goes to the garbage dump, from there, he’s still alive. He’s either buried alive under the mountains of garbage that WALL-E is gonna collect in a few centuries, or else, wandering around the wasteland, alongside the fragments of all the other broken abandoned toys. Unless they actively seek out an incinerator, they’re just there, hanging out forever, yearning for a death that will never come, until they make the choice to sacrifice themselves to the fire. Sure, it’s one of the most moving tense emotional scenes ever. Watching our heroic toys escape the incinerator at the end of “Toy Story 3”, But the sad truth is, that that slow descent into the fire, is what awaits most of the toys that we see throughout these movies. Oh wait, sorry. They have to go through the chopper first. So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, think about that as you line up to go see “Toy Story 4”, which will undoubtedly be about Woody growing up, and finding a new purpose in life. Finding a life path that doesn’t depend on making children happy. Because he, just like Bo Peep and those creepy ventriloquist dolls, is just too old for children to love anymore. It’s probably got asbestos in his stuffing or something like that. And what else is Woody gonna do? He’s never gonna die, at least until the moment he chooses to, or randomly catches on fire Disney! Brand safe for all the kiddies! So that, my friends, is the dark truth of “Toy Story”. The one that they don’t want you thinking about too much, as they play that Randy Newman song for the umpteenth time Show us the garbage dumps, Disney! I want the receipts! Reveal the truth to us! But then again, there is one other way this whole Toy Story could play out. If you look at the toys across the three movies, the Pixar universe could be headed into a state of war. A human vs. toy total war. And if that’s the case, well, it’s not gonna be looking too good for the humans. But more on that in the next episode! In the meantime, remember what Woody always says: “There’s a razor in my boot.” Wait, what? “There’s a razor in my boot.” That’s not what you say, Woody! Also, that sounds horrifically painful. Do you wonder how this cowboy gets his buzz clean shave? Uh, no, actually no one ever has but uh, let me guess- because you’re a member of Dollar Shave Club! Wow, who knew that this beloved animated character would also support our sponsor for today’s episode: Dollar Shave Club! Now, by this point, you’re probably just like old Woody here, you’re familiar with the old D.S.C., delivering top-quality shaving products to your door at your own personal pace. You find that incredibly heavy-duty Executive razor in a box on your doorstep, rather than your boot, Woody! But what you may not be as familiar with are all the other amazing hygiene products that they offer. From tooth care to skin care, to butt care. And even though they’re named for their shave, of everything that they offer, I gotta say their shampoos and conditioners are actually my favourite. They smell amazing, and they give my scalp that clean so fresh, it makes your head tingle. You know that feeling right? It is the best! Which is why I’m so excited about their new Hawaiian ginger face cleanser. As a guy, I’ve never been a big fan of washing my face with soaps and lotions and all that, it’s gross, I know, but heck that was just me. “How dirty is my face getting on a day-to-day basis, really?” But now that I’m older and trying the sample, I finally get it. It feels great, it smells great and heck, it really keeps my complexion staying clear. And if you’re interested in trying it, and being convinced just like I was, you can do it now for just $5.00, which will get you their shave starter set; the razor to end all razors, The Executive, a cassette with four additional razor refills, a tube of their classic shaving butter, and the chance to sample that new Hawaiian face cleanser of theirs. All of that for 5 bucks! That is less than the cost of a fancy cup of coffee, and you’ve got yourself, like, your hygiene covered for the next month! Like I said, the starter set is just $5.00, and after that, a restock box ships with regular sized products, at a regular price, at whatever pace you feel comfortable. So join the club, friends, Dollar Shave Club! Link is down in the description, DollarShaveClub.com/MatPat, that’s DollarShaveClub.com/MatPat, feeling fresh!