Toy Story 4: Some Good Ideas for a Not-So-Good Idea

I really hope there won't be a Toy Story 4, but after Toy Story 3's record-breaking debut this weekend, it seems inevitable. (It earned more than $110 million, Pixar's biggest bow ever, though much of that is thanks to the premium ticket prices for 3-D; attendancewise, about as many people turned out for this one as did for other recent Pixar flicks such as The Incredibles.)

At this point, with Toy Story 3 wrapped up, Woody and Buzz and the gang have come full circle, so revisiting them would be mere retread. And the themes the three films covered would preclude Pixar from simply taking a look at another group of toys in another kid's room if they didn't want to repeat themselves.

So what's left? Where could a possible (*sigh* a likely) Toy Story 4 go that would feel fresh and still have something new to say? Here are a few ideas for Pixar that I'll give 'em for free ... though I wouldn't mind some credit or a small honorarium if they decide to run with one of them:

An R-rated Toy Story

Revisit Sid (or a similarly twisted child) to explore what motivates him, and how his toys cope with his evil play; think American Psycho Babies.

A real video game movie, at last

Since game systems are the new toys capturing kids' imaginations, how about a story in which characters from across, say, one child's favorite Wii games head out on the Internet to protect their beloved player-kid from cyberbullies on Facebook?

Mad Max mode

Presumably toys that get thrown away don't "die," they just linger on at the dump forever and ever (especially the plastic ones, which will never decay). What does that toy society look like? What is life like for toys that have no prospect of being played with ever again? Think Life Is Beautiful, by Mattel.

Toys gone bad

Woody and Buzz and the gang are all so gosh-darn nice, but at least one new character in Toy Story 3 proves that not all toys are people you'd wanna be around. What happens when a sweet kid like Bonnie is given a toy that turns out to be a very bad seed? It could be Pixar's Chucky...

= toys for grown-ups: Al from Toy Story 2 may have left his collectible toys sitting in their boxes, but lots of adults own toys that we actually use (and I'm not even talking about the very naughty kinds). From board games and baseball gloves we use on the weekends to windup Daleks and action figures we fiddle with all day at work, we continue to play, if in a different way. A day in the life of all the little toyish doodads sitting next to a geek's computer could be a revealing look at grown-up hopes, dreams, fantasies, and imagination.

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MaryAnn Johanson wonders how the little Brain and Dangermouse toys on her desk get along with each other at FlickFilosopher.com. (email me)