Saturday, August 10, 2019

My Beloved Monster

Shrek
Directors: Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jensen
Voice Talent: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow
Released: May 18, 2001
Viewed in theaters: June 12, 2001

Oscar nominations:
Best Animated Picture (won)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman, and Roger H.S.Schulman (lost to Akiva Goldsman for A Beautiful Mind)







Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me

I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed

She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb

In the shape of an "L" on her forehead...

Okay, show of hands: who thinks of this movie whenever they hear this song? Cuz I sure do. Every time they play this song on the radio stations that still play music from the late '90s or early '00, I am reminded of this movie. In fact, I just figured this song was released the same year as the movie and that's why they used it, but "All Star" by Smash Mouth (whatever happened to them, I wonder? Not that I really care that much!) came out in 1999 and has since this day forward been known as the Shrek song. And once you get it in your head, it never gets out! "Hey now, you're an all star, get your game on, go play. Hey now, your'e a rock star, get the show on, get paid." Now you have that song in your head. You're welcome.

Shrek will go down in history as being the first animated movie to win the Oscar for Best Animated movie since they started that category in 2002. It was up against Monsters, Inc. and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. In hindsight, Monsters, Inc. should have won. Shrek won because it was super popular and everyone loved it, but I don't think it has aged that well. Not just the animation (the humans look vey similar to Sims), but the dated pop culture references (The Matrix comes to mind) don't hold up so well either. 


Shrek the character (voiced by Mike Myers in a Scottish accent) is just super gross. He's a big fat green ogre who lives in the swamp and he belches, farts, and (in one of the most disgusting scenes from the movie) pulls ear wax out of his ear to create a candle. He also eats pretty much anything (including spiderwebs fashioned into cotton candy and rats) and has bad breathe, as we're told many times. I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for him because everyone is afraid of him and runs away when they see him. Well, if I saw a farting, belching, ear-wax picking ogre with bad breathe, I would probably run the other way too! His sidekick, Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy), a talking donkey, can be endearing at times and at other times, annoying, as he never shuts up and likes to sing. Shrek is a bit of an a-hole too; I know where supposed to feel sorry for him and he acts like a jerk because he's really lonely and blah, blah, blah, but I really don't care. When he and Donkey are crossing the rickety, swinging bridge over a deep chasm to get to the other side, he keeps swinging the bridge back and forth even though Donkey is clearly afraid and keeps telling him to stop .Then, the first night, when Fiona finds shelter in a cave, Shrek makes it like he's going to move a big boulder in front of it, so she won't be able to get out. He tells Donkey he's only "joking", but I bet if Donkey weren't there to chastise him, he would have placed that boulder in front of that cave! 

Shrek and Donkey meet when Lord Farquaad (voiced by John Lithgow), the ruler of the kingdom Duloc, has banished fairy tale creatures and characters to the swamp where Shrek lives. Shrek, who likes his privacy and not being bothered, wants to know where Lord Farquaad is so he can speak to him and Donkey is the only person, er creature, who knows where he is, so begrudgingly Shrek lets him take him to Duloc. Lord Farquaad wants to be King, but the only way he can do so is if he marries a princess. He is told this by the Magic Mirror who points this out to him and gives him a list of potential candidates: Cinderella (even though she technically becomes a Princess AFTER she marries the Prince, Snow White, and Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz), a princess who is stuck in a castle and is waiting for her knight in shining armor who will have to slay the fire-breathing dragon who is guarding the castle. Shrek makes a deal with Farquaad that if he rescues Fiona (Farquaad never had any intention of actually rescuing the Princess; he was always going to send someone to do his job for him) that all the creatures will have to leave his premises and Farquaad agrees to the deal. 

After Farquuad picks Fiona as his betroved, the Mirror is about to tell him something important that happens to her after midnight, but Farquaad just dismisses it as he's just ready to marry his bride. Of course, well all know what he was going to say. Even if you've seen the movie, I can't imagine you don't know what the big twist is at the end, especially if you've seen any promotional movies from the next three (?) movies. I don't think it's a big secret or anything, but if you're that sensitive to details and really have no idea what I'm talking about, then I will have to put a spoiler warning right here...just in case! I'm putting a spoiler right now because I'm going to talk about the big twist.

So, yes, turns out Fiona needs to find a private shelter to camp after the sun goes down because she turns into an ogre. We find this out on the second night when Donkey discovers her this way (and thinks Shrek has eaten her! But why would Shrek be wearing her dress?) She tells Donkey a witch put a spell on her and the only way to break the curse is to be kissed by her true love. I always just assumed she was a human and the spell made her turn into an ogre. But then, a few things made me wonder. She says "I've been this way as long as I can remember", implying that perhaps she was first an ogre, then the witch turned her into a human only when it's daylight. I know it seems like the witch's curse turned her into an ogre because she talks about how ugly she is and how nobody will love her if she turns into this hideous beast at night (and for the record, even though she was an ogre, she was still actually pretty cute). After Shrek rescues her and she demands for him to take off his helmet (even though you can still totally see green skin where his neck and hands are showing) and she sees he's an ogre, her reaction is disappointment. I feel like if she were a human-turned-ogre, her reaction would be more of disgust. Plus, the first night when she's taking shelter in the cave and we see her peeking out and listening to the conversation Shrek and Donkey are having about Shrek being lonely, she seems to have compassion and empathy for him...as though she understands because she's an ogre too and knows what he's going through. She tells Donkey a Princess is supposed to be beautiful and she wants to be the beautiful, lithe human form with the long flowing hair. I supposed maybe they go into more detail with this in the other movies, but I haven't seen Shrek 2 since May 24, 2004. God knows how long it's been since I've seen Shrek the Third or if I've even seen it at all and I'm pretty sure I never saw Shrek Forever After. Perhaps they go into Fiona's backstory in one of those movies. I guess I could just look it up on Wikipedia or something, but I just feel like that would lead me down a wormhole I don't want to dig myself into. Oh! Another reason I believe Fiona was born an ogre and "cursed" to be a human is because of her behavior. After she makes that disgusting cobweb cotton candy with the flies stuck to it for Shrek, we see her licking her fingers. She also eats the rat Shrek cooks and belches and has no problem horsing around with him. If she were truly a human princess, I can't imagine she would be doing these things (or even knowing that ogres like cotton candy spiderwebs). Yes, I suppose you could say she learned these things after being turned into an ogre for so long. 

This movie was popular because of its witty take on popular fairy tales. Yes, there are some funny moments in this movie, I will admit. I did laugh when Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man ("Run, run, fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man") by dunking him in milk and tearing off his legs so he can't run away. It's funny when the Gingerbread Man asks him, "Do you know the Muffin Man?" and he replies, "The Muffin Man?" and the Gingerbread Man repeats, "The Muffin Man." They recite the whole little ditty under a pretense of an interrogation. When all the fairy tale creatures are invading Shrek's home, I thought it was funny when one of the Three Pigs said about Farquaad, "He huffed and he puffed and he sent an eviction notice." When Shrek and Donkey cross the bridge to the castle, Donkey asks him where the fire breathing monster is and Shrek tells him, "Inside,waiting for us to rescue her." Okay, that was funny AND mean. Right before Shrek makes it to the highest tower of the castle to rescue Fiona, we see she's fidgeting in her bed and making sure everything is perfect when his back is turned to her so she will look perfect when he kisses her. Fiona has some other funny moments when it's about to turn midnight and she demands, "I need to find somewhere to camp NOW!" Just the way Cameron Diaz read that line made me laugh because she's so sharp and demanding; like you are going to listen to her! People seem to love Donkey's line, "And in the morning, I'm making WAFFLES!" Yes, he does say "waffles" with a lot of enthusiasm and that line is popular for some reason, but I didn't think it was that funny, but to each their own. He also never makes waffles, I should point out. Maybe he gets to make waffles in one of the sequels. Also, Farquaad's demise of being inhaled by the dragon is super funny and fully deserved.

So, yes, there are genuinely funny moments in this movie. I remembered there was also a lot of jokes only adults would get, but I guess I forgot just how many of them there were and just how adult these jokes got. They're pretty subtle, but it's still pretty shocking some of them found their way in a PG movie (no way this movie could have been rated G!) I'm not just talking about juvenile
 farting/belching/urinating/defecating jokes, because there are plenty of those, but they go into some pretty awkward territory. When the Mirror introduces Snow White as a potential partner for Farquaad, he says, "Although she lives with seven other men, she's not easy". Eesh. There's also a masturbation (yes, I'm not joking) joke when we see Farquaad in bed, naked about to pleasure himself to pictures of Fiona. We know this because he lifts us the sheet just a fraction and has a gleeful look on his face; plus the mirror, who is showing him the image of Fiona Farquaad is demanding, looks very disturbed! That scene makes me want to throw up in my mouth! When Shrek and Donkey enter Duloc and see the massively tall castle Farquaad lives in, Shrek asks Donkey with a little too much glee in his voice, "Do you think maybe he's compensating for something?" The way he says it is a wink at the adult audience, like you know what that means! But I thought surely the movie wouldn't go there, and I thought he meant he was compensating because of his stature as Lord Farquaad is a very short man; almost comically so. He's half the size of Fiona (that's human Fiona, too!) But no, they weren't talking about his height when they made that joke; they make that clear when they return with Fiona. 

When Fiona reveals herself to Shrek to be an ogre just like him (right before she's about to be married to Farquaad and Shrek stops the wedding), they kiss and the spell is broken because she's found her true love. In Beauty and the Beast fashion, she is lifted in the air in a cloud of dust as we wait for her to change. You think (or so they want you to think!) that she's going to change back into her human form, but let's be honest...if she was a human and Shrek was an ogre and they were together...that would be really f**king weird. First of all, he is about fourth girths wider than she is when she's a human and his mouth is big enough to fit over her head and his paws are huge compared to her dainty hands. It's just super weird imagining them being together if you know what I mean. The whole thing made me thing of how Hagrid from the Harry Potter series was conceived as his mother was a giant and his father was a human. Like, how does that even happen? That has always disturbed me! There must have been some kind of potion involved to make either one bigger or one smaller, cuz otherwise I am very vexed..it vexes me.  Shrek and Fiona both have to be either humans or both be ogres...and of course she remains an ogre (as is her TRUE self!) and says she is ugly and Shrek tells her that she's beautiful and they live happily ever after...at least for four (?) more movies. 

Hmm, looking this over, I'm pretty sure I've spelled "Farquaad" two different ways. Oh, well. You know who I'm talking about, anyway! 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Hakuna Matata

The Lion King 
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Beyonce, Seth Rogen, John Oliver, Billy Eichner, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Released: July 19, 2019
Viewed in theaters: July 23, 2019




When I first saw the trailer for this, which I think was released way back in November, I was really excited for it because it looked amazing and so realistic, and of course, the animated 1994 Lion King is a beloved Disney movie. (I did roll my eyes, however, when I saw Beyonce was in the cast. It felt like they only cast her to make sure they bring in the big bucks, which, of course any moron could tell you this movie is going to make a crapton of money! And, surprise, it did and it will continue making loads of money). Then, as the months ticked by, I started to get a little bit nervous. While they had new trailers with the characters talking, they never showed any scenes with them singing and that made me wonder how THAT would look with realistic animals singing famous Disney songs. Not to mention the score on Rotten Tomatoes was on the rotten side, so I went in with low expectations. That's probably the reason why I liked it more than I thought I would. I don't think it's as bad as the critics are saying; it was fun hearing the songs from my favorite '90s Disney soundtrack (well, MOST of them...we'll get to that later; I'm sure you know which song I'm talking about that they totally butchered!) The movie totally follows the same plot as the '94 one (as I was expecting) but there are a few changes and added scenes, so if you haven't seen this and don't want to be spoiled at all, then come back and read this after you've seen it. A word I've seen thrown out to describe this movie is "unnecessary" and that is a perfect word to describe it. Nobody needed this movie. Why do we need it when we have a perfectly serviceable animated movie that is exactly the same thing, but better and makes more sense in an animated format instead of a photo realistic one? Seriously, at least with cartoon characters you can draw them to express their feelings in their faces, while with lions and hyenas and the like, it's kind of hard to do that. Sure, you can tell us a lion is angry if he's roaring and swiping his paws at the hyena, but when we see Simba and Nala at the watering hole looking at each, they just look like lions having a drink; they don't look like lions who are falling in love with each other. The only reason we know this is because "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is playing. And also because we've seen the original so we know every beat of the movie.

Let's talk about the songs, shall we? All the original songs are in the remake and they are all the same
(although they're all decent/good, I prefer the original songs but that's probably because I'm so used to hearing them since I've known them for the last twenty-five years!) The one song that is totally different is "Be Prepared", which is my favorite Disney villain song. Not only is this song a much shorter version of it (which I understand since the dynamic between Scar and the hyenas is different in this movie the the '94 one), but it's not sung, but more like chanted. Somebody described it as beat poetry which made me laugh. It just doesn't sound cool like it does in the original. It just sounds weird and awkward and makes you want to know what they did with one of the best songs in the movie. Luckily I had listened to the new songs on Spotify so I was already, ahem, prepared for the atrocity. Did you notice it was daylight, nowhere close to dusk when they sing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" Also, Beyonce was way oversinging that song with all her trills and and riffs. She is just going every which way. When she and Donald Glover are singing together, you can hardly hear him! I've been listening to the 2019 soundtrack and I laugh every time I listen to this song! I thought young Simba and Nala singing "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" sounded better; yeah, I said it! I noticed there was a song on the soundtrack by Beyonce called "Spirit" and I figured they must play it during the end credits, but no, it's in the movie when Simba and Nala return to Pride Rock. The full song is almost five minutes and while I don't know if they played the entire song during this scene, God, it sure felt like it! It's a fine song and all, but just didn't feel like it fit in and was super unnecessary. It just felt like it was an excuse to get a Beyonce song in there. In the original, there's a cute little throwaway scene of Timon and Pumbaa singing a few lines of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", but in this movie, the whole song is sung and I really liked it. It was really funny how the other animals were swaying along to the music and then they would join them. Just the way it was shot made me smile.

Now let's talk about the characters, shall we? Timon and Pumbaa (voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen) were my favorites. This is where we get all our funny moments and probably the most changes, albeit slight. When Simba tells them about the Circle of Life, they tell him they think life is more of a "meaningless line of indifference".  Also, I laughed during the meta "Hakuna Matata" joke. When they tell Simba their motto and he's like, "Hakuna, what?", I love that they're shocked that he doesn't know what it is and tell they usually get a bigger reaction and people start clapping. I mean, "Hakuna Matata" isn't just the most well-known phrase to come out of the '94  Lion King and not just the most well-known phrase to come out of the '90s Disney movies, but probably one of the most well-known phrases of any movie. When you say (or sing!) "Hakuna Matata" everyone knows what it means ("It means no worries...for the rest of your day!") and what movie it's from. EVERYONE knows this and it's been a huge part of pop culture for the last 25 years so I thought it was super funny that they make a meta joke out of it. I also thought it was funny at the end of the song when Timon comments on how Simba has gained 400 pounds, implying that they've been singing this song on a loop for quite awhile! And I loved, during the interlude when they're teaching Simba to eat grubs and telling him how delicious they are, Pumbaa adds, "And they're local!" and Timon says, "Oh, are they?" and Pumbaa says, "Yeah, they're from right here! " and points to the log that's right in front of them. That got a good chuckle out of me. Also, I don't understand how anything that's described as "slimy" could also be "satisfying." Ick. Slimy does not equal satisfying! Another funny little change with our favorite meerkat and warthog (by the way, animated cartoon warthogs are cute; photo realistic warthogs? Not so much.) is when they're at Pride Rock with Simba and Nala and need to use live bait to distract the hyenas. I was wondering if they were going to dress Timon in a hula costume, but instead he sings the opening lines to "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast (complete with a faux French accent) and I'm thinking, Are they singing a song from another '90s Disney movie? Oh, yes. Yes, they are. It was very jarring to hear a song from another Disney Renaissance movie in this one, but I suppose Disney does have the rights to it!

My least favorite character, or maybe disappointing would be a more accurate word, was Scar. Perhaps if I had seen this movie without seeing the original, I would have thought Chiwetel Ejiofor did a good job; he does sound menacing and fierce, but he is no Jeremy Irons who made that character. Jeremy Irons will always be Scar to me. In fact, when I reviewed Reversal of Fortune, I mentioned that whenever he spoke, all I could hear was Scar! He just has such a distinct voice that is perfect for a Disney villain. Ejiofor is fine and all, but he's just not the Scar that we all know and love to hate. I was also confused on some of the line readings for Scar. In the original, when Scar is about to push Mufasa off the cliff, he says, "Long. Live. The. King.", making an evil deliberate pause between each word while in the remake, he just nonchalantly says, "Long live the king".  They really should have brought Jeremy Irons back to play Scar just like the did with bringing back James Earl Jones to voice Mufasa. Wouldn't that be funny if they just reused the original voiceover he did? They really could have because Mufasa says the exact same lines, but I have a feeling you could probably tell from the audio quality. Plus, I heard he recorded his lines again for the new one.

Mufasa! Mufasa! Mufasa! I just hear that name and it makes me shiver. Would you believe they don't even have that scene in this movie? That's one of the best scenes with the hyenas. There are still three main hyenas led by Shenzi, the female. I didn't catch the name of the other two, but Ed was definitely not one of them and there is no hyena that just laughs hysterically and stupidly at everything. Instead the other hyenas (one of who is voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) have a running gag where one is always taking up the personal space of the other. It was funny, but it was also the same running gag they used in Finding Dory with the sea lions.

I could not tell the adult female lions apart at all. There are only two of them we really need to know: Sarabi, Simba's mother, and Nala. It's only when they start talking is when I know which is which. Oh, that one sounds like Beyonce, so that's Nala. There is a scene where a female lion is trying to sneak past Scar and the hyenas at night to try to get help and she doesn't speak for awhile. I figured this is when Nala goes out and eventually finds Simba and of course it was. Good thing I've already seen the original!

During the final scene, when Scar and Simba are fighting and the hyenas are ready to pounce, Nala shouts, "Lions, attack!" This is the stupidest line in the movie. First of all, of course the lions know they should attack. You don't need to announce it. Also, why does she need to qualify LIONS? There are only lions or hyenas. I don't think you need to specify the lions should attack. Duh. There's a bit of a rivalry between Nala and Shenzi and they get in a showdown during the battle and we see Nala bite Shenzi in the neck and throws her off the cliff and I'm thinking, Ooh, don't mess with Nala! But then I had to scratch my head when we see Shenzi join the other hyenas right before they're about to turn on Scar. Wait, you mean Nala didn't even kill her? That was lame.

The animals in this movie look so amazing and realistic (well, aside from when they're talking or singing), there were funny moments with Pumba and Timon;  Zazu (voiced by John Oliver) had some funny animal puns, and you will want to sing along with the songs, but I think we all know who the REAL King is!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Monster Mash

Monsters, Inc.
Directors: Pete Docter, Lee Unrich, and David Silverman
Voice Talent: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly
Released: November 2, 2001
Viewed in theaters: November 3, 2001

Oscar nominations:

Best Animated Feature (lost to Shrek)
Best Original Song - "If I Didn't Have You" by Randy Newman (won)
Best Score - Randy Newman (lost to Howard Shore for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
Best Sound Editing (lost to Pearl Harbor)



Monsters, Inc. is the reason I see all Pixar (or any other animated) movies at nine in the evening (or, at the very least on a weekday during the school year). Why, you ask? Well, because I did not have a good viewing experience seeing this and it has haunted me to this day that this was only the second time I've seen the movie. When this movie came out I was living in a small town that only had one theater (and not a very comfortable or big one at that). It was literally only one theater where only one movie played. (Some other films I saw at this theater include The Fellowship of the Ring (that was a big gamble for me as I knew it was a long-ass movie and I went in knowing nothing about Tolkien, so if I didn't like it, it was going to be a long and painful experience for me, but luckily I ended up really getting into the movie and was ready for the next installment when it ended!), A Beautiful Mind, I Am Sam, and Panic Room.

 So when this movie came out I saw it because, even though Pixar was quite young at this time (Monsters, Inc. is their fourth movie), I was a fan of the first two Toy Story movies. (I have never seen A Bug's Life). I honestly don't remember how crowded the theater was, but like I said, it was pretty small so even if the whole theater wasn't packed, that still makes a huge difference. I just remember there was some young kid (maybe two) who were talking/crying/ kicking my seat (they were seated behind me)/just basically annoying the sh*t out of me during the movie, hence making it hard to enjoy the movie so I've always associated this movie with negative thoughts and that's why I never revisited it until recently. I vowed to myself that I would never see another animated movie during the weekend or weekday when kids are out of school. Fast forward to two years later when I see Finding Nemo in a huge theater PACKED with screaming kids. Yeah, I'm an idiot who didn't follow my own advice. However, I saw Wall-E at nine in the evening; I saw Up at nine in the evening; I saw Toy Story 3 at nine in the evening; I saw How To Train Your Dragon and its sequel at nine in the evening; I saw Inside Out at nine in the evening; you get the picture.

Anyway, I'm glad I finally gave Monsters, Inc. a second chance because I really enjoyed it and it's a really cute movie. However, if you really stop to think about it, the basic premise is a little messed up. It's about a society of monsters who get their energy source from the screams of children, so every night they sneak into their rooms via their bedroom closet to scare the young children all over the world, then capture the screams of terrified children, bottling them up into a air-tight container (the screams, not the children!) Yeah, just a little messed up. However, this being a Pixar/Disney movie, it's a very cute and kid-friendly movie. Obviously.

The movie focuses on two monsters named Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan, or, as his friends call him, Sully (voiced by John Goodman) who work at the energy-producing factory, Monsters, Inc. in the town of Monstropolis. The company's motto is "We Scare Because We Care." They work on the scare floor, a huge room that has access to every bedroom closet door of all the children in the world, so, as you can imagine, there are millions upon millions of doors. There is a chart to keep track of where and when they've been and every child has their own "monster" so they always get scared by the same monster because they (the monsters) knows what each child is afraid of. I'm not really sure how they keep track of all the doors and who's been scared, but somehow they manage to keep it all organized. I don't know which is more convoluted: the scare floor in  Monsters, Inc. or Riley's head in Inside Out!

Their job is to obtain the screams of children so that Monstropolis is able to function and be the bright and vibrant city that it is. Sully, a large purple and blue fuzzy monster with horns and a long tail is a scarer which means he goes into the bedrooms to scare the children while Mike, his assistant (basically a large green talking eyeball with arms and legs), gives him the stats and numbers he needs. Each scarer has their own assistant and there is a bit of a rivalry between the two top scarers, Sully and a sleazy chameleon-like monster who can blend in with his surroundings, Randall (voiced by Steve Buscemi).

Even though the monsters who are scarers are big and imposing and have sharp teeth/claws/horns, the most amusing part of the movie is that children are considered toxic to the monster world so if something that belongs to them comes back to the monsters' world (or, God forbid, an actual living child being), they treat it as a risk and take it very seriously. When they enter a room, they will hop around, making sure not to touch or come into contact with any toys or clothes laying on the floor and they never physically touch the children, just scare them, capture the screams, and get out of there. We see what happens when one monster has a child's sock stuck to his back after coming back from a job and the CDA (Child Detection Agency) is called and they put everybody into lock down. The monsters who work for the CDA are all wearing haz-mat suits and helmets and carefully dispose of the sock (by blowing it up), then they shave the poor monster who accidentally brought back the sock and scrub him ten times over.  They went through all this trouble for a single sock, just imagine what would happen if an actual child make their way into Monstropolis!

And that is exactly what will happen. When Sully goes to deliver some important paperwork for Mike (he can't because he has a date with his girlfriend, Cecelia (Jennifer Tilly) a Medusa-inspired monster with snakes for her hair; I did love the scene where she tells Mike she's thinking of getting a haircut and all the snakes are very concerned about that), he sees a closet door is out and open. What he doesn't know is that Randall is the one who left the door activated because he is up to no good. He also leaves the door unattended so he doesn't know that Sully has gone through the door to check what's going on. This is where he meets "Boo" (because she likes yelling "Boo!"), a two-year-old child who takes a quick liking to Sully, calling him, "Kitty!"  (Though I don't think Sully looks like a cat...) When she grabs hold of Sully's tail, he quickly untangles herself from him and puts her back in her room and gets tangled in a bunch of her toys as he stumbles out of her room. He quickly disposes of all the objects (which includes a stuffed Nemo toy) by flushing them down a toilet. There is a great reveal when he turns away and the audience sees Boo is on his back.

Sully knows he has to send her back to her world, but Randall has already put away her door and I guess it would raise an alarm if Sully were to re-activate it because he doesn't want anyone (especially the CDA) to know that a toxic child is among them. He gets Mike involved and he starts freaking out and when Boo sneezes in his direction he sprays disinfect on his eye which turns it red and makes him dance around in agony. I admit, I laughed hard at that. It doesn't take long for Sully to realize that children (at least not this one) aren't toxic and they even realize that her laughter is quite strong and that all along they should have been capturing children's laughter instead of their screams.

Sully and Mike are determined to get Boo safely back to her home, which they do, but not without a few obstacles in their way. They have to go through this maze of thousands of doors which is a fun scene. It's very bittersweet when Sully finally has to say goodbye to Boo; they have to destroy her door once she's back in her house because she now knows about the Monster World and they can't have her making any contact with them. Even though we know Randall is the bad guy, there's also another twist of someone conspiring with him, but of course everything works out in the end and Sully even gets to visit Boo one last time after Mike fixed her door.

You think that would be the idea for the sequel; Sully visiting Boo every now and then and maybe getting into some shenanigans in the human world, but they went for a prequel for the second movie. I added Monsters' University to my Netflix queue after I saw the first movie and I think I enjoyed it more than I was expecting. Most people have this at the lower end of their Netflix rankings and while it wouldn't be near the top of mine, I thought it was quite delightful and I had fun watching it. Also,my monster, no my monster would be the dean of the university, Dean Hardscrabble who was voiced by Hellen Mirren. The design of that monster was nightmare fuel with her dragon wings and centipede legs...eesh!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Back to the Toy Box

Toy Story 4
Director: Josh Cooley
Voice Talent: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Tony Hale
Released: June 21, 2019
Viewed in theaters: Juen 24, 2019


Is Toy Story 4 a good movie? Yes, of course it is. Was it necessary? A lot of people thought Toy Story 3 had a perfect ending (myself included) and while I don't think having a fourth movie was necessary (the world would have survived without a fourth Toy Story movie; however the world would not survive without Toy Story because Toy Story not existing equals Pixar not existing and how could anyone live in a world where Pixar doesn't exist!), I didn't mind because I love going on a new adventure with these characters we've met from the first three movies. Just because Andy's story is done doesn't mean that there aren't still more stories for the toys to tell. You could really make a whole bunch of these movies and as long as there's a good script and it makes sense for this universe, I'm okay with that. In other words, you could say this series could go to infinity...and beyond! Is Toy Story 4 the best of the series? To me, no. I definitely like the first and third movies better. Of course I still love the second movie and this movie was a joy to watch so even though they're on the "bottom" doesn't mean I dislike them; they're all really amazing.

I think the most surprising thing about this movie was that it didn't make me cry. Yes, I could feel the Toy Story 3. (To be fair, I didn't cry during the first two movies, but I did get a little choked up during the "When She Loved Me" scene from Toy Story 2). I was all prepared for this big emotional scene, but it never came for me. I had mixed emotions about the ending, but I'll get to that later. I did laugh a lot during this movie; there were so many great and funny scenes, mostly thanks to new characters we are introduced to and we are introduced to a LOT of new characters. So much so that many of the characters we loved from the first three movies were reduced to ancillary characters. So if you're a big fan of Slinky Dog or Hamm or Mr. Potato Head or Rex or even Jessie and Bullseye, don't go in excepting too much from them. Even Buzz Lightyear doesn't have too much screen time (more than the characters I named) because this is Woody's movie and adventure. There is a running joke where Buzz thinks his voice box buttons are his inner thoughts so he pushes the buttons for guidance of what to do in a situation.
tears almost well up (especially during one scene), but I never flat-out bawled like I did during

The new characters we are introduced to include:
-Ducky and Bunny, stuffed animals of, you guessed it, a duck and a bunny. They are carnival toys waiting to be won by patrons who play the carnival game at the booth they're at. They are voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who, I imagine, improvised most of their lines so they get a lot of funny moments. They're a bit sadistic because their plan for everything is to attack humans by jumping into their faces, calling it a "plush rush". They come across another stuffed animal that has been torn apart by a cat and are both horrified to see what they look like on the inside and one of them comments, "So much fluff!"

-Duke Caboom, a Canadian Evel Knivel-inspired action figure (voiced by Keanu Reeves) who has a sad (albeit funny) backstory where he was chucked by his "kid", Rejean (I'm taking a wild guess that he's from Quebec!), after Duke didn't perform the cool stunts exactly like how they show it on the commercial. I guess they forgot to add the text "Toy does not actually fly" on the bottom of the screen like they did for the Buzz Lightyear commercial. This made me laugh because it's so true! How many times have we ever watched a commercial with a toy that does all these really cool things, but then when you actually play with it, they can't actually jump through fiery hoops like Duke Caboom is shown in the commercial. This makes Rejean chuck poor Duke Caboom, the "Canuck with all the Luck" to the side. Duke's catchphrase is, "I Can-ada!" I felt like he was the equivalent to Toy Story 3's Ken.

-Giggles McDimples is a tiny toy clearly modeled after Polly Pocket and when we meet her, she's in one of those plastic shells. I thought her introduction was really funny. She takes a liking to Woody since he's a sheriff and she's Officer McDimples who runs Pet Patrol. There's a part in the movie when the toys are being terrorized by a cat and being that she is so small, she gets swallowed by it! I was much more concerned for the cat, not going to lie! Of course the cat eventually gags it up and Giggles McDimples is covered in cat phlegm. Lovely. I will say, if you compare the cat in this movie to Sid's dog, Scud, in the first Toy Story, wow! What a difference! I mean, it has been 24 years they've had to prefect this technology!

1995

2019

-Gabby Gabby (voiced by Christina Hendricks) is a pull-string doll from the 1950s who lives in an antique store and just wants a kid to love and play with her. She is presented as the villain as she is trying to steal Woody's voice box since hers is broken and she thinks the only way for a child to love her is if she isn't broken. She has these creepy ventriloquist dummy minions who don't talk; they just do her bidding. I will discuss more about her in my spoiler section, but I just wanted to say that I only remember ever having one pull-string toy, ever, in my life, and that was a stuffed Theodore from Alvin and the Chipmunks. I can't even remember any of the things he said.

-Forky (voiced by Tony Hale) is a plastic spork with pipe cleaner arms and a face created by Bonnie, the young girl Andy gave his toys to in the last movie (you know, the part that made everybody shed tears). He quickly becomes her favorite "toy", but Forky, not knowing why he exists (don't we all have those existential crises?), keeps wanting to throw himself in the trash because he believes that's where he belongs, but Woody, knowing how much Forky means to Bonnie, keeps fishing him out of the trash. Bonnie's attachment to Forky was a little weird. I understand she made him during kindergarten orientation and was quite proud of him, but she sleeps with him like she's cuddling a stuffed animal (how can you cuddle a plastic spork??) and when she can't find him during a family road trip with her parents, her dad tells her she can make another one and she freaks out. If I were her parents, I would be kicking myself for ever buying her toys since she she's so content with a plastic spork! It reminds me when I buy a cat toy for my cat, but I see him playing with my hair ties or the Starbucks green stopper thingy way more than when he plays with his toys! (By the way, I wonder if pet toys are sentient in this world? I hope not because that would be a little terrifying for them to be chewed by a dog or chased by a cat!) At least they didn't have to pay for the toys she received from Andy. Bonnie brings all of her toys on the road trip and I laughed when I heard a podcast review of someone complaining of how unrealistic that was because whenever my nieces visit my parents they bring a lot of their toys! Of course I know they did that in the movie so all the toys we've all come to know and love from the first movie (and Bonnie's toys we met in the third movie) will be involved in the plot, even if it's just a few minutes of screen time. Even Woody is brought along even though he's been reduced to mostly staying in the closet with the other toys that don't get much playtime. Poor Woody; literally every toy that belonged to Andy gets playtime (even the little green aliens! Even Hamm who is't really a toy because's he actually a piggy bank!) and he is left in the closet collection dust bunnies. Not cool, Bonnie. The family is driving an RV and they make a lot of stops along the way and each time Woody has to keep Forky from jumping in the trash or running away. At one point, Forky just flings himself out of the window of the moving vehicle (very dark for a children's movie!) and Woody jumps after him, promising the others he'll return with Forky. Well, that doesn't exactly happen as they have a lot of obstacles to get through!

-Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Potts) is not a new character since she was in the first two movies, but sheis an important part of this movie. We see a flashback of her getting packed away to be sent to a new home once Molly has gotten too old for her. Woody is set on rescuing her, but she tells him it's time to move on, but suggests that he could hop in the box with her since "kids lose their toys all the time"(I never lost any of my toys, thankyouverymuch!), but Woody is too loyal to Andy to do that. We see Molly's room and she had these little doll figurines which I totally had! They were these ceramic figures that you received each year for your birthday with the corresponding age attached to them. They went up to age 16, but I think I only got them until I was 12. I had the blonde figurines, but when my family moved, a few of them broke and we replaced them with the brunette ones because I guess we couldn't find the blonde ones. I mean, it didn't really matter since I am neither blonde nor brunette! But I had to laugh when I saw those because it brought back memories and I probably otherwise would have completely forgotten about them. They are sentient in this movie, so does that mean Molly played with them? We know Bo is sentient because Andy used her as a damsel in distress for Woody to rescue. I never played with those figurines because they were fragile! They just stayed on my shelf with my other ceramic figurines.

Woody meets up with Bo again after all these years. She has shed her dress and bonnet for a more utilitarian outfit. There is a funny moment when Woody can't remember the name of her three sheep (who are all connected together) and as far as I know, we've never actually known the names of her sheep. They are Billy, Goat, and Gruff and yes, they are very cute for being ceramic sheep. By the way, they're part of a lamp set, right? I have never heard of a lamp set where you can move the pieces; I would think that they would be glued to the actual lamp, but maybe they are able to remove themselves? I've only had lamps that were just lamps; so I don't know how that would work, I also don't know why I'm trying to work out the logistics of how that would work. Bo lives in an antique shop, but often sneaks out to a carnival nearby, hence why we have antique toys and carnival toys convening together. There is a fun callback to the first movie when Bo greets Buzz with, "My old moving buddy!" Which while it's true that Bo mention she's found her moving buddy once they all meet Buzz, did she not remember that Buzz was next door almost being blown to Smithereens by Sid while all the toys were being shipped to the new house in the moving van? So technically they were never moving buddies. Just a small little nitpick!

For the rest of this review, I'm going to get into spoilers so you have been warned! SPOILERS START NOW! DON'T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SPOILED!! SERIOUSLY, I AM WARNING YOU! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! 

SPOILERS
START
NOW!

I was surprised by how quickly the Forky storyline was concluded. After Woody tells him how important he is to Bonnie and that he's an important part to her childhood memories, Forky is all about getting back to her, but by that time Woody has been distracted by seeing Bo's lamp in the antique shop and that's when the movie goes in that direction. Of course Forky is still integral to the plot of the movie, but he no longer wants to throw himself in the trash.

Like Stinky Pete and Lotso, Gabby Gabby is considered the villain of this movie, however while they start out as characters you think can be trusted only to realize they're not so nice, the doll starts out very aggressive, clearly wanting Woody's voice box, but turns into a sympathetic character. She is hoping to be "adopted" by Harmony, the granddaughter of the woman who owns the antique shop and she believes the only way Harmony will love her is if her voice box works. I thought Harmony was going to want her even if her voice box didn't work, but no, the movie goes another way. Gabby gets a new voice box (Woody gives her his in exchange for Forky as she had the spork held hostage) and pulls her string to make Harmony notice her. At first, the girl seems smitten with the doll, but then she's like, "Nah" and tosses her back into the crate. I literally "ahh"-ed during this moment; I felt bad for Gabby Gabby! At first I was mad with Harmony, but you know what? I can't really blame the girl. What child from this decade would want a doll from the '50s? They all have this really creepy look to them. Maybe if Gabby was an American Girl Doll she might have had more luck...

However, Gabby will get her happy ending when she is picked up by a lost girl at the carnival who turns to the doll for comfort. This is the scene where I came closest to crying. Of course who knows how long Gabby is forgotten about once the girl gets home and isn't upset about being lost anymore and starts playing on her iPhone?

I did not cry at the end which was surprising to me because I was expecting this super emotional scene. I was more bemused than upset. I guess I should have seen the ending coming because all through the movie Bo is telling Woody how great it is to be on her own and how she's independent and doesn't need a kid to play with her. She's much more satisfied helping other toys finding kids of their own. So when Woody decides to stay with Bo at the end instead of going back with his other toy friends, I wasn't really that shocked. I was just confused because through all the previous movies, Woody has been telling his friends how important it is to stay together and that a toy's job is to make their kid happy. Woody has always been about every toy staying together, but now he's going to leave them to be with Bo Peep. Eh, I wasn't crazy about that. I know Bo is supposed to be his "girlfriend", but they only have a few flirty scenes in the first two movies. Woody has a much more stronger relationship with Buzz, with Slinky Dog, with Jessie, just to name a few. Also, the notion that toys can have romantic relationships is a little weird. I'm okay with one between Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head or Barbie and Ken because at least those are already pairs. There's a scene at the end where it looks like Woody and Bo are about to kiss and I'm thinking, Please don't. I'm okay with Andy making them kiss by tapping their faces together because it's meant to be funny and it's a kid having the damsel kiss the hero her after she is rescued. Luckily they do not kiss! I wasn't too upset that Woody was leaving his toy friends (probably why I didn't cry) because he wasn't getting much playtime with Bonnie anymore, so might as well join a traveling carnival with Bo and his new toy friends so he's not sitting in a closet all day. I feel the most bad for Bullseye because he is like a loyal dog to Woody. Yes, I know he still has Jessie, but that has to be hard on the poor little horse! Hmm, does this mean that Bo is the Yoko Ono of the Toy Story franchise?

You know what I would love to see? A prequel! How did Andy obtain Woody? It is believed he belonged to Andy's father who we don't really know anything about, so a prequel could answer a lot of these questions. You're welcome for the idea, Pixar!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Adventure is Out There

Up
Directors: Pete Docter and Bob Peterson
Voice Talent: Ed Asner, Christoper Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Delroy Lindo, Bob Peterson
Released: May 29, 2009
Viewed in theaters: June 7, 2009

Oscar nominations:

Best Picture (lost to The Hurt Locker)
Best Animated Feature (won)
Best Score - Michael Giacchino (won)
Best Original Screenplay - Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, and Tom McCarthy (lost to Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker)
Best Sound Editing (lost to The Hurt Locker)


I propose a challenge for everyone reading this. I challenge you to watch this movie and not cry within the first ten to fifteen minutes. Or at the very least, not get a lump in your throat. I obtained the lump in my throat during the Carl and Ellie montage when we discover that Ellie isn't able to have children and by that point, I knew the waterworks were about to start. Sure enough, the tears are starting to form when (a much elderly by then) Carl is helping Ellie up a hill to have a picnic, then the next thing we know she's in a hospital bed, then he's at her funeral and the tears are flowing by then. But guess what? That scene doesn't even evoke the most emotion out of me; oh no, there will be another scene later on in the movie that will make me cry even harder if that's even possible! Those Pixar movies really know how to mess with your emotions, don't they?

Up is probably the most famous for its first ten minutes. Even if you've never seen it (for shame!), you're probably well aware of the opening montage as that's all anybody ever talks about when it comes to this movie. While watching this, I couldn't help asking myself such questions as, How does this man fly his house with only balloons attached to it? How does he get said balloons to fit through his chimney (and there are thousands of them!)? When they land in South America on top of the cliff where Paradise Falls is located, how does Carl, an eighty-year-old man, mind you, have the strength to keep hold of his house via the hose as though he's just carrying a balloon? (I mean, I guess he is carrying a balloon, along with several hundred others and his HOUSE!) Why does Russell's mom seem not to be worried about him? Why is Russell himself very lackadaisical about being on the outside of the blimp and nearly gets killed several times as he has many close calls of falling to his death, but all he can say is, "Whee, this is fun!"/"This is so cool!", even though he is scared to death when he's on Carl's front porch when the house starts its ascent (and he's much more safe when he's on that porch than any other time in the movie!) There are definitely some scratch-your-head moments (and there are more I will point out), but I really can't quibble about that. After all, this is the same studio who gave us sentient toys and talking fish and a rat who cooks at a restaurant in Paris. And whatever anybody says, this movie is still more believable than any of the Cars movies. (I just don't understand how a society of vehicles work. How do they eat? Is fuel their food? How are new cars made? Why are there no humans in that world?)

We first meet our protagonist, Carl Fredrickson, as a young wide-eyed introverted boy who loves watching movies about adventures, his favorite being about his hero, the famed explorer Charles Muntz who has discovered a skeleton of some sort of "beast", but has been accused of fabricating it. He vows to return to Paradise Falls, the place in South America where he discovered the fossils, and find the creature. He has a blimp called The Spirit of Adventure where he travels with his many canine companions. Carl is about eight when he watches these documentary films and Charles looks to be in his thirties; maybe in his twenties at the youngest. Just keep that in mind.

Carl meets another explorer enthusiast and Charles Muntz fan, Ellie, a loquacious girl who graciously invites him to join her adventure club. She shows him her adventure book where she tells him she plans to one day follow in the footsteps of their hero and travel to South America where she wants to live in her clubhouse on top of Paradise Falls. She doesn't know how she's going to get there and Carl suggests a blimp just like Muntz has. Ellie thinks that's a great idea and makes him "cross his heart" that he'll take them there someday and he promises he will. I love how she describes South America - "It's like America, but it's south!"

They form a friendship which will inevitably turn into an unbreakable bond and the two marry and this is when we get our montage and where we need to get our Kleenex handy! We see where the balloons come in because they both work at the zoo; Ellie looks to work in the aviary (she has a bird on her shoulder) and Carl sells balloons. They create a fund for their South America trip, but life keeps happening and they have to dip into their savings to fix a broken car or repairs on the house or anything of that sort. (Not sure why they kept smashing the jar with a hammer when they needed to get their money when they could have just as easily turned the jar over and poured the money out!)
They are getting older and Carl realizes that he still has not taken Ellie on her adventure so he purchases airline tickets to Peru which he plans to surprise her with. Alas, it is too late and Ellie will never get to go on her adventure of a lifetime. And Pixar is making everybody cry buckets.

Carl (voiced by Ed Asner)  is now a curmudgeon who refuses to leave his house even though the other homes around it have been torn down to build a new development with much larger buildings. The contractor keeps bribing Carl with money to move, but he refuses, so they just keep building around him. I'm not really sure how something like that works, but I would think if your neighborhood is being torn down, you would HAVE to move (and hopefully they would compensate you nicely). I don't think you could just stay there. But, remember, this is a movie with talking dogs.

After a small incident where Carl injures a construction worker in a fit of rage, he is sent to court where he is deemed "a pubic menace" and is sentenced to move to the retirement home, Shady Oaks. (Wonder if it's a sister company to Shady Pines; I can see Carl and Sophia Petrillo getting along just fine!) When Shady Oaks employees come to retrieve Carl, he has other plans and to their surprise, they watch as the house breaks free from its foundation and lifts into the sky with a whole bunch of balloons streaming out of the chimney. (Still not sure how he managed to get all those balloons in that chimney!) I read that over 20,000 balloons were animated for this sequence. We also see a small cameo from a  stuffed Lotso bear when the house passes by an apartment building where we see a young girl's room. Pixar likes to put in a little Easter egg for their next movie and Toy Story 3 followed Up. Hopefully this Lotso got lots of love from his owner so he doesn't turn out jaded and cynical like Lotso from Toy Story 3! Not gonna lie; I got really nervous when Carl got awfully close to those wires even though I knew he wasn't going to hit them!

Carl promises a young Ellie he was going to take her to Paradise Falls and he still vows to keep that promise; even if Ellie is no longer physically with him. He soon find out, however, he's not alone, and I'm not talking about Ellie's cremated remains in a vase on top of the mantle. Russell, a young boy who belongs to a Wilderness Explorer Club who we were introduced to a couple scenes ago when he asked Carl if he could help him in order to get his "Assisting the Elderly" badge, the only one left he needs, was hiding under Carl's porch, looking for a fictitious perky bird Carl had made up to get rid of the kid so he could leave him alone. Ha, joke's on you, Carl! It is pretty funny when he discovers Russell is airborne with him. He's sitting in his chair when he hears someone knocking on the front door...while he's several thousand feet in the air. This is when he discovers Russell visibly shaking on the front porch...and this fear of heights will soon diminish. I did laugh when Carl take out his earplugs when the kid is rambling on and on.

They soon manage to travel all the way to South America (I have no idea how that is even feasible!) and land on top of Paradise Falls. This is where the movie turns a little bit crazy, but at the same time, we learn how everything ties in. First we meet a tall colorful exotic bird similar in size and stature to an emu or an ostrich, I would guess. This bird seems to love chocolate; actually it loves eating anything as it eats Carl's walker (before spitting it back up) and tries to eat a balloon which pops in its throat. I was afraid she was going to choke on it, but she spits the deflated balloon out. Despite being dubbed "Kevin" by Russell, we soon find out she is a female bird. Then we will meet Dug, a "talking" golden retriever who is easily distracted by squirrels. "SQUIRREL!" Dug has a device on his collar that allows him to "speak" English. This thing doesn't seem to be translating his barks, but actually his inner thoughts because he's not barking when he's "speaking". Dug is my favorite character in this movie.

Dug isn't the only talking dog in Paradise Falls. Remember Charles Muntz, the guy who should be dead by now because he is, at the very least, fifteen years older than Carl, who is now 80? (And I'm willing to bet there's more than fifteen years between them). The point is, this guy should be dead, but he's still very much alive (and voiced by Christopher Plummer) and still in South America where he is still trying to seek the creature of the skeleton he found (who, coincidentally, looks a lot like Kevin -ruh-roh!) He has a whole crew of canine companions who have these high tech collars that allow them to talk. I don't understand why this guy is so obsessed with finding this bird when he could literally be making millions of dollars (if not billions) by manufacturing this collar. Do you know how many people would love to communicate with their dogs? This things is a goldmine! I know, I know, he wants people to believe him about the bird being real, so he's set on finding one.

Carl is in awe when he meets his childhood hero (probably because he's still alive!) and he invites them to dinner onboard the Spirit of Adventure. (Should that be in italics?) Not only can his bevy of dogs talk, but they perform tasks such as house (airship?) cleaning and even cooking. This guy trained dogs how to cook. Just let that sink in. I love when the dog serves Russell his hot dog, he tries to eat it! When Muntz tells Carl that it's "a real treat" to have guests visiting him, all the dogs get excited when they hear the word "treat." There's just lots of little funny moments with the dogs that even I, as a cat person, can enjoy.

Muntz's top dogs are Alpha, Betta, and Gamma. Alpha is an intimidating doberman, but his collar has broken and he speaks with a squeaky cartoon-y voice which doesn't make him very intimidating at all. I not only love the way his cadence sounds; but the language he uses is also quite amusing: "Master will be most pleased." Muntz has all these dogs, not only to perform all these household tasks for him, but to help him track the bird. When he shows the skeleton of the creature he is trying to capture, stupid Russell is all like, "Hey That looks like my new giant bird pet!" and proceeds to tell Muntz pretty much exactly how to capture the bird by telling him she likes chocolate. Carl tries to play it off, telling Muntz the bird ran off and is gone now. See, Carl could have easily let Muntz take the bird, but he knows Russell is attached to it and doesn't want anything bad to happen to her. You know that saying, Never meet your hero because you might end up being disappointed? Well that applies to this scenario because Carl is soon learning that his hero is kind of a huge jerk.

Kevin is spotted by Muntz and he orders his dogs to attack her. She is saved by Carl and Russell and Dug, who now considers Carl his new master. However, Kevin get injured by Alpha while trying to escape and they help her get back to her nest and offspring. Muntz is waiting with a net and captures her and it's a very upsetting scene! Carl has to choose between saving Kevin or saving his house. In order to stop Carl from freeing Kevin, Muntz sets his house on fire and Carl runs to pull it out of harms way while the dogs drag Kevin onboard the blimp.

Remember when I said that there's a scene that made me cry even more than the montage? After Carl has placed the house by the waterfall, exactly where Ellie dreamed of living, he looks at her adventure book. She had a section labeled "Stuff I'm Going To Do" which would document all her adventures in South America. We see Carl looking at this page earlier in the movie, forlorn that Ellie never got to have her adventure but it isn't until this moment when he noticed that there are photos beyond that page. She has their wedding photo and all the memories they spent together. She may have never gotten to go to Paradise Falls, but this was her adventure. At the bottom of the last page, she wrote, "Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one! Love, Ellie." Yes, this is the scene that made the tears flow. I bet with all the crying I've done watching Pixar movies, I could fill up a two-liter bottle!

This motivates Carl to rescue Kevin and this is when we get a crazy scene with Russell nearly falling to his death on the outside of the airship and dogs are flying bomber planes and Carl and Muntz have their old man fight (which was pretty funny) and Muntz gets his Disney-esque death by falling to his demise. Kevin is returned safely to her babies and the others return home with the Spirit of Adventure and Carl becomes a grandfather figure for Russell, who seems to have adopted Dug, even though he said earlier in the movie that his apartment building doesn't allow dogs.

There are definitely flaws with this movie, but the good outweigh the bad; I mean, I can't say there's really anything bad about this movie. Among Pixar's movies, I would personally rank it in my top - SQUIRREL! - ten, maybe even five, but I'd have to really think about where it would be on my list. Perhaps a Pixar ranking is in the works, wink, wink.