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 over-singing 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 him 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 made 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 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 tears almost well up (especially during one scene), but I never flat-out bawled like I did during 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.

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!

-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 collecting 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 she is 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! 

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 an 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!