For my own amusement, I like to imagine what a children's movie would be like if there were a new installment that aligned with my more mature, well-rounded adult perspective of the world. What if the movies and characters I loved as a kid grew up with me?
After forcing myself to stop imagining the characters having sex with each other, I gave some actual thought to this silly, fanciful idea of a mature sequel to children's movies. Here they are ...
The underlying sadness of the Toy Story series is that these charming toys are living full lives in secrecy. It's depressing. When are they going to out themselves and demand to be treated like the humans who play with them? In this movie, that's exactly what happens, and it's all due to Bonnie, the little girl the gang is left with at the end of Toy Story 3.
Bonnie, now around 12 years old, knows the toys are alive. Let's say she caught Woody and Buzz having one of their bromantic arguments a few years before the start of the movie. Rather than turning into a damaged wacko who could never recover from seeing something that crazy, she embraced it.
Like your toys? Well, in a few years, you're going to have your mind blown.
They listen when she's sad, throw her surprise birthday parties, stay up late telling scary stories on Halloween -- the toys are her friends. They even help Bonnie with her homework. As Bonnie learns about the world through textbooks, the toys do the same. They've lived in this world for years, but they've never learned much about it. Every concept Bonnie learns is also new to them, like the ideas of basic civil rights and freedom. When Woody hears this, he has a realization -- toys aren't free. So, he sets out to change that by becoming the poster boy for toy acceptance.
It's the struggle of trying to find your place in a world that is terrified of you, doesn't take you seriously, or flat-out doesn't believe you're real. It's also a story about how the intolerance of older generations gives way to the acceptance of younger generations. Bonnie clearly loves her toys and isn't bothered in the slightest by this major development, but her mom and parents around the world are losing their shit watching toys come to life, all fearing a Chucky pandemic.
"C'mere, you little shit! I wanna play with you!"
For decades, or maybe centuries, toys have been alive and, as far as the movies tell us, they mean no harm to children (unless you're a dick kid like Sid). Apparently, in the Toy Story universe, whatever magic (or whatever you want to call it) gives the toys life also makes them unable to mistreat children. The overall message of the movie, and of the series as a whole, really, is that toys are pure unconditional love. They don't care who you are, they just want to play. If you respect them, they'll respect you. For a very long time they've respected us, and now they want some respect in return.
By the end of Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph has learned to accept his role as the villain of his game, and the community has accepted him as a person. When we meet him in our let's-be-real-this-shit-will-never-happen sequel, he's made so much progress that he's not just a member of the support group for bad guys, he's a motivational speaker. It's like if Tony Robbins were made of binary code.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
"I turned my head into a brick with eyes by believing in the power of me!"
It's a story about the struggles of trying to spread a message of self-acceptance and peace as a bunch of assholes are standing in your way. And those assholes are console video game characters. Arcades aren't as profitable as they once were, thanks to console video games. As Ralph and his gang are spreading the good word, game companies have made and are installing arcade games starring moody, morally complex, violent console characters to draw a new generation of arcade gamer. Their world view has been shaped by death, rape, murder, drugs, blood, dismemberment, destruction, genocide -- they're a real bummer, and they're the heroes of their games.
Sony Computer Entertainment
Ralph's efforts to spread good vibes are thwarted by these console assholes who try to convince everyone that the world just isn't a happy place.
Caught in the middle is Calhoun, Jane Lynch's Call of Duty/Halo-inspired character. Her best friends are arcade characters, but she comes from a long line of angsty, violent console game characters. She is the conduit by which Ralph can reach the console characters, with whom she feels a kinship. Which side will she take in this ideological war between happy-go-lucky old-school video game peaceniks and people who think bathing in an enemy's blood is the same as actually bathing? Can these console "heroes" who want everyone to be as sad and angry as they are, who fully believe they are the future of video games, undo all the work Ralph has done to better himself? Will he be forced to become violent again? Will he abandon his newfound principles and use his giant fuck-off hands to smash Kratos' skull or smack the shit out of Nathan Drake's smarmy face? The movie would be one big therapy session. Ralph thought his problems were bad, but HOLY SHIT -- console heroes are horrible people. Can he save them?