For us mere mortals the past is a complicated place. We acknowledge that it is littered with bad times and more than a few atrocities yet when we look back we do so with a sort of glowing fondness for days gone by. Nostalgia is so powerful that it has become the basis for political campaigns on both sides of the ideological spectrum. Conveniently, we ignore the pesky fact that the past no longer exists anywhere beyond our memory and history books. We must live with it’s consequences but cannot remedy them by returning to their source.
Turns out this very human conundrum is also the default setting for the seemingly immortal beings of the Toy Story universe. For a whole trilogy we are saddled up with cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks) as he tries his best to get back to what he knows. Back to Andy, back to his friends, back to a time when he felt truly loved. But for the first time in the franchise, Toy Story 4 presents a way forward instead of back.