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    1. The Matrix Resurrections: A review

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Just finished watching it, and while I’m sure I need to process and reflect a little more on it, I can at least give my initial impression: meh.

      I came in not expecting much because, to be honest, the trilogy didn’t end as good as it started. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t end up a kaleidoscope of colors either, since the promotional material seemed to insinuate it might take after some of the other Wachowski’s works.

      The first hour felt like a rehash of the first Matrix. While the callbacks were good fan service, it felt uninspired and something I would expect from a Disney franchise. The second half seemed to lose the thread and the plot got rambled through to the point that you forget what the whole point of the movie was supposed to be. It basically ends as a…love story? The deeper philosophical elements of the trilogy were eschewed for predictable tropes and artificial suspense.

      The characters lacked depth, and I was particularly disappointed in the new incarnations of Agent Smith and Morpheus. The younger actors lacked the gravitas that the original duo brought to the screen. The bated, deliberate delivery that provided weight to the characters was replaced by trite, pithy lines that don’t do the original characters any justice. Neil Patrick Harris is also better suited for a comedic role rather than a dramatic one, and his character failed at both in this movie.

      The movie had a decent environment and art direction, but it got ruined by overuse of CGI and green screen. The action scenes either had stilted fights with aging actors, or had so much action that they lacked any real sense of danger (there were scenes with throngs of people attacking the main characters with bullets never seeming to hit anyone important).

      I had hoped that after 20 years there would be some real contribution to the canon, but this movie answered enough questions to explain why Neo is alive, without contributing any further philosophy into the series. It ends with a clear open ending for future installments, which would only serve as cash grabs.

      The movie started off with many meta-references to itself, making a joke about sequels being unoriginal. I had hoped this self-awareness would have translated to either a new level of meta-discussion or at least an attempt to not fall into the folly of most half-assed sequels. Apparently that line was solely a joke, and it cheapens the movie because of it.

      Was it a good movie? Not really. Was it a bad movie? Not necessarily. It was entertaining in the same way a Michael Bay explosion is entertaining, but those looking for intellectual stimulation will be left empty-handed.

      20 votes
    2. My thoughts on Denis Villeneuve's Dune

      OK, well. Dune then. Sort of a live review, as I watch. Some more in-depth thoughts at the end. Mildly spoilery, but not if you know the story already. Fair warning, I will not be judging this...

      OK, well. Dune then. Sort of a live review, as I watch. Some more in-depth thoughts at the end. Mildly spoilery, but not if you know the story already.

      Fair warning, I will not be judging this film on purely it's own merits. It exists in the world and also in the world are Lynch's film (for reference I consider the spicediver fanedit, Alternative Edition Redux, to be the canonical version of that), the Sci-Fi channel miniseries and obviously the books. Yes, even the prequels - the first of which is one of the worst books I've ever read and I've read The Davinci Code. Anyway, on to actually watching it...

      Well, it's pretty. One problem is that no matter how good the design is - and the design is VERY good - it's just not as good as Tony Masters and David Lynch building on material from Mobius and HR Giger. This film is obviously heavily influenced by them though.

      In my head Caladan is a lush, fertile, welcoming world. It's been colour graded to grey and desaturated. Feels wrong.

      He's lifting both shots and dialogue from Lynch's film. That's good. My brain is filling in the missing bits of internal monologing.

      Nice implementation of Chakobsa. I like that.

      Hans Zimmer can just fuck off with that big stupid honking sound he shoehorns into everything. So annoying.

      This film is missing Roger Deakins. I mean you can say that about a lot of films but this one especially. It is beautifully shot but Deakins would have taken it to another level.

      Why are people whispering at each other over like ten metre distances? I hate that. Speak up, you're outside, it's windy and you're far apart! It's not moody if you obviously can't even hear each other. Yes, small thing, but things like that which upset your suspension of disbelief are jarring.

      You can't put a crysknife away without it tasting blood. Pffft. That's just ignoring lore for the sake of it. Five seconds would be all it took to do that bit. We could have had one fewer lingering shots on the knife itself instead. As an aside, the Shadout Mapes as a means to explain bits of Arrakeen and Fremen lore to the Atredies (and us!) is horrendously under-used.

      The ornithopters in this movie are badass. There is an in-universe reason for them that I can't remember.

      I wonder how much of this works if you haven't seen Lynch's version (which has much more internal thoughts of characters) or read the books?

      Stellan Skarsgard is channelling Apocalypse Now era Brando pretty hard and that is in no way a bad thing. His Baron is absolutely superb, probably the best part of the whole film. Piter de Vries is nowhere near weird/creepy/insane enough. Leaving out Feyd-Rautha is a mistake, he's the anti-Paul and even though Sting did a relatively terrible job in Lynch's film, that doesn't mean he's not important.

      Zimmer teasing elements of Eno's original theme is a nice touch as well.

      You know what's cool? What's cool is that at certain key moments I get lines from the book appearing in my head, from whichever scene is happening. That's a really good sign. I haven't read Dune for years.

      So OK, overall, it's not as bad as I was expecting. It's pretty. It's stylish. It's annoyingly colour graded but what isn't these days? But this film doesn't add much to the telling of Dune over the Lynch's film or even, really, the Sci-Fi miniseries. Villeneuve is obviously a fan of both books and Lynch's movie and what he has made is good. A lot of what he's made is basically just a remake of what Lynch did, and I don't just mean because both films are based on the same book - there are multiple direct lifts straight from Lynch's film, and that is perfectly OK. But it's not about what is here, it's about what isn't.

      Because it leaves a lot out - it's shallow where it should be deep, it's straightforward where it should be mystical, simple where it should be weird. It's 8-10 characters when it should be twice that and worst of all a lot of it seems to rely on viewers knowing the lore rather than having time to explain it: and all that is because film is the wrong medium for this story.

      It misses out on exploring much about any of the characters simply because nobody has enough screentime to go into their motivations, which are generally multifaceted and complex - I do appreciate Villeneuve not wanting to have characters stand around expositioning at each other (MCU, looking at you), or doing a voiceover of character's thoughts like Lynch did, but that means you really need to spend time with them so they can show us what they're thinking, not tell us. "Show don't tell" is good filmmaking but it takes time.

      For example, Paul and Jessica get most of the screen time but we don't really learn much about them. Because you need a lot of lore to contextualise their motivations - Jessica's actions and desires need to be placed in the wider context of her relationship to Leto and the Bene Gesserit and their plans and while Villeneueve does try to do that a bit, it's one or two lines with Leto and one rushed (literally, they're doing a walk-and-talk) conversation in which Helen Moahim mentions the Kwisatz Haderach and little more.

      The Guild are barely even mentioned. You see some lower level navigators but you don't know who they are if you don't already know who they are. The Guild's influence is so important to so much of what happens in Dune but if you didn't know they existed already I'm not sure you'd leave this film knowing there was a spacing guild at all. Same goes for the Emperor and the Landsraad, they hardly come up at all. The thing about Dune is that it's not just about Paul. Paul is important but he's really just the pointy end of a lot of long-game players and systems and their interactions. That doesn't really come over in Villeneuve's film. Also it's not really a structural issue but I'd have loved to have seen more of the Heighliners. A Navigation sequence would have been fun too.

      The thing is, Dune deserves a TV series. A high budget one like Game of Thrones. I want an hour on Caladan, learning about the Atredies. I want an hour on Kaitain learning about the Padishah Emperors and the Bene Gesserit. Same with the Harkkonens. I want to be 3 or 4 episodes in before I even see Arrakis. Movies are great for telling short stories, maybe novellas at best. But big, long, complicated books need to be on TV where they can spread out, take their time, develop characters and fill in backstory and motivations.

      Overall, 7/10 and I really hope the second movie gets funded because stopping here would be even worse. It's worth watching but don't expect a great deal underpinning what is still a very beautiful film. I could have written that same sentence about Bladerunner 2049, thinking about it.

      27 votes
    3. Thoughts on Mulan (2020)?

      I just finished watching it (pirated, because I wasn’t going to give Disney money after all the controversy regarding Taiwan). Uhh, it.. was bad? I mean I’m usually pretty positive especially...

      I just finished watching it (pirated, because I wasn’t going to give Disney money after all the controversy regarding Taiwan).

      Uhh, it.. was bad? I mean I’m usually pretty positive especially about all the Disney remakes, and I liked the general darker mood of this Mulan version. But what’s with the 90s era cgi physics?

      Also, and I get the Mulan plot line is entirely about how ridiculous gender-gating is in general, but whew there is a serious case of The Stupids around a lot of the tradition, much more so than in the original. This felt very tropey to me, convenient idiocy. I mean yes okay this takes place 1200 years ago but …

      I appreciated not seeing mushu, but the Phoenix could have just been a lot lot lot more subtle.

      And I’ve never seen snow look so much like party foam. This is the same studio that produced Frozen?!

      Man, this movie felt like it was written, produced and directed in 1998. I would say I watched the wrong one by mistake but the original was actually good for its time.

      What happened, did I miss something? This could have been an amazing movie full of great music, awesome choreography, and a super dark take on the original. Instead, I watched the equivalent of a machine learning exercise in turning anime to live action.

      9 votes
    4. Movie Monday Free Talk

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      We haven't had one of these in a while, and given the amount of time people are spending indoors, I figured it might be good to share some movie recommendations.

      I will post my own comment regarding some movies I've seen recently, but I wanted to also share some quarantine / pandemic movies that might be interesting given the strange times we find ourselves in. Warning: they are probably not a great way to take your mind off things, if that's what you are searching for, hence why I'm separating them from my other comment.

      • Contagion (2011) - Probably one of the more relevant movies, and certainly on people's minds. It's an interesting worst case what-if scenario, and actually tackles some of the political struggle with organizing around a pandemic.
      • Perfect Sense (2011) - Overshadowed by Contagion, which is arguably the better movie, but I liked the premise of this one: a disease that slowly takes away your 5 senses, one at a time. I didn't like the ending, but for a thought experiment it captured my attention. It threw in a love plot line which may or may not have been necessary when the reaction was more interesting, but it does help provide a ground floor experience of a more terrifying epidemic.
      • It's a Disaster (2012) - I have somehow managed to miss watching this movie, despite it being on my watch list for some time. A comedy, which may come in use in this trying time, it centers around a group of friends who invariably become part of a self-quarantine at their house.
      • Rear Window (1954) - A Hitchcock classic. Jimmy Stewart is confined to his NYC apartment due to a leg injury, and has all the time in the world to spy on his neighbors, where he becomes obsessive over a potential domestic dispute between a couple across the way.
      • The Lighthouse (2019) - Superb acting by Willem Dafoe. Two men, a seaman fresh to the trade and a seasoned veteran, are servicing the sole lighthouse on a tiny island as part of a contract. They are forced to stay longer than either imagined due to a storm passing through them. They get at their wits end with each other and their sanity slowly falls apart. Beautifully shot in black and white and with authentic vernacular, it really transports you to a different time period.
      5 votes
    5. Mary Poppins Returns: some thoughts

      I have just watched ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, after yesterday watching the original ‘Mary Poppins’ for the first time. I have not, to my knowledge, ever watched ‘Mary Poppins’ in full before now....

      I have just watched ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, after yesterday watching the original ‘Mary Poppins’ for the first time. I have not, to my knowledge, ever watched ‘Mary Poppins’ in full before now. I’ve caught snippets of it on weekend television, but I’ve never seen it from start to finish. Well, with our new Disney+ streaming subscription, I’ve finally seen ‘Mary Poppins’ for the first time yesterday, and followed it up by watching ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ today.

      ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is a sequel in name only. It’s basically a remake of the original. It’s as if the director had a checklist of everything ‘Mary Poppins’ contained, and just checked them off in this sequel:

      • Mary Poppins herself. Check.

      • A dirty working-class friend with a heart of gold. Check.

      • Children who didn’t know how to have fun. Check.

      • A father who needed to rediscover his children and his own childish joy. Check.

      • A woman who’s working for a progressive cause. Check.

      • Bank seen as a negative institution. Check.

      • Quirky relative of Mary Poppins who gives the children a different point of view. Check.

      • Animated sequence. Check.

      Actually, I’m surprised that there is an animated sequence in the sequel, given how much P.L. Travers reportedly hated the animation in the original. (Strangely, I’ve seen ‘Saving Mr Banks’ a couple of times, and even watched a documentary about Ms Travers somewhere along the way.) But I suppose she’s dead now, so her input is limited to just turning in her grave.

      It even gets more detailed than that. Individual musical numbers have been mapped from one movie to another:

      • Vaudeville-style song & dance number within the animated sequence, with the main characters performing alongside cartoon animals. Check.

      • Big dance number featuring the aforementioned working-class friend and his colleagues. Check. The names even have a metaphorical resonance: “Step in Time” becomes “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”.

      • Uplifting song at the end of the movie. Check. But instead of being about a child’s toy that flies in the sky (kite), let’s make it about a different child’s toy that flies in the sky (balloon).

      It’s a shame that Julie Andrews can’t sing any more. It would have been lov-er-ly (ha!) to see her in the cameo role that Angela Lansbury had. Not that I have anything against Ms Lansbury: far from it! But Dick Van Dyke got a small role, and it would have been nice to see Ms Andrews pop up as well. A little on-screen moment between her and Emily Blunt would have been sweet.

      There was one thing that the director left off his checklist, though: singable songs. While everyone knows “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and can sing it at the drop of a hat, noone is going to be singing “A Cover is not the Book”, as fun as it was. “A Spoonful of Sugar” is fun and memorable, while “Can You Imagine That” is fun and forgettable.

      This is not to derogate the performances. There were no weak links in this chain. Emily Blunt was spot-on as Mary Poppins. Lin-Manuel Miranda was technically great as Jack the lamplighter (and he certainly did a better Cockney accent than Dick Van Dyke – which admittedly isn’t hard). Miranda lacked a little heart, but is a great singer and dancer. The rest of the cast were also good. Not a sour note among them. They were just let down by a weak script and poor songs.

      The new Mary Poppins movie is a watered-down copy of the original – and the original wasn’t the best movie in the world to start with! I love me a good musical. I have a whole shelf full of musicals on disc, along with assorted soundtracks. I can quite happily spend an afternoon with ‘The Wizard of Oz’ or ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ or the family-friendly ‘My Fair Lady’. But ‘Mary Poppins’ was too bland for me. And its sequel/remake was even blander.

      15 votes
    6. If you don't find IMDB reviews useful you may like Cherry Picks instead

      Here's the IMDB page for The Souvenir (distributed by A24). https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6920356/ IMDB users give the score as 6.6, and the user reviews are stuffed full of people who hate it. The...

      Here's the IMDB page for The Souvenir (distributed by A24). https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6920356/

      IMDB users give the score as 6.6, and the user reviews are stuffed full of people who hate it. The critic reviews are almost entirely positive though.

      Here's the Cherry Picks page for The Souvenir. https://www.thecherrypicks.com/films/souvenir

      They use reviews from "female-identifying and non-binary film critics", and as a result the film gets good reviews.

      I find the reviews surfaced by Cherry Picks to be more thoughtful, more considered, and more useful to me than those surfaced by IMDB or MetaCritic (even though they all pull critic reviews from many of the same sources).

      I've found some great films via Cherry Picks.

      15 votes
    7. Just watched 'Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia' (1974). Any fans of Sam Peckinpah in the house?

      Some of the works of Peckinpah had been on my watch list for months, sitting there in a subfolder of a subfolder. From the choice of Straw Dogs and Cross of Iron, I chose the aforetitled, liking...

      Some of the works of Peckinpah had been on my watch list for months, sitting there in a subfolder of a subfolder. From the choice of Straw Dogs and Cross of Iron, I chose the aforetitled, liking the idea of embarking on a bit of a journey through Mexico with a gritty protagonist as we experience splatterings of violence and negotiate the thoughts of a down and out vagabond making a ran for his riches.

      The film left me with mixed feelings. I enjoyed the path of Benny, experiencing how his character is unwavering in his desire to take that last lucky ticket out of debauchery street, but didn't care much for his journey's partner. While I appreciated the dynamic of the relationship, the understanding they both had that they weren't in love with each other, but all they both had, the chemistry and dialogue didn't really resonate with me at parts. I actually was rather glad when this relationship came to its abrupt end as the film entered its final 3rd.

      On top of that, there was major issues with the sound which made it difficult to fully immerse myself in the journey at times. I found myself feeling I was watching a caricature of a 70s movie now and again, as opposed to be engrossed in a gritty noir-esque adventure.

      But all in all, an enjoyable film which has left an impression. I always appreciate watching unpolished characters navigating circumstances plotted outside their usual courses, then watching how they deal with the inevitable implosion. From what I've read since, the film was one which perhaps accurately portrayed the director's life at the time of filming; dealing with various booze-infused demons. That rawness definitely shows, as does the inevitable imperfections in this movie's execution.

      7.5/10

      5 votes
    8. Movie Monday Free Discussion

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Have you watched any movies recently you want to discuss? Any movies that you'd like to recommend or are hyped about? Feel free to discuss anything here!

      Spoilers are okay, just give fair warning so people who care about them can participate too.

      13 votes
    9. Movie Monday Free Discussion

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Have you watched any movies recently you want to discuss? Any movies that you'd like to recommend or are hyped about? Feel free to discuss anything here!

      Spoilers are okay, just give fair warning so people who care about them can participate too.

      10 votes
    10. What are your favorite movies of 2019 so far?

      Since we're fast approaching the second half of the year, I think it's a good time to look back on the first half, to the movies that came out this year and to share our favorites. I'm giving my...

      Since we're fast approaching the second half of the year, I think it's a good time to look back on the first half, to the movies that came out this year and to share our favorites. I'm giving my favorite 10 (though in no particular order) but if more or fewer stood out to you and you want to share all of them, feel free! Blockbusters, indies, comedies, dramas, whatever stands out to you from 2019 so far. Don't feel pressured to write anything but the title or a basic synopsis if you don't want to.

      • Apollo 11: Okay, I know I said this list isn't in order, but this one is definitely #1. It's history in motion, and its images and editing will surely be seared into my mind as the way I think of the Apollo launch.
      • An Elephant Sitting Still: Technically came out in 2018 in some regions, but has a 2019 release in my country, which is the order I'm organizing this list in. A beautiful and heartbreaking journey into universal pain and suffering and catharsis in the tiniest things. At nearly 4 hours and with an oppressively melancholy tone, I struggle to recommend it to everyone and anyone, but if the description interests you, definitely give it a look.
      • The Farewell: Hilarious and sad, often in the same moment. My love of this may well have been colored by my experiences as an immigrant under very similar circumstances as its main character, but it's an interesting look at differing cultural philosophies of the worth of the individual on their own versus their relation to society.
      • The Last Black Man in San Francisco: A layered critique of gentrification and the personal individual obsessions that keep us from truly seeing it and other issues in our world as they happen. It's filled to the brim with things to say, sometimes to a detriment, and some of the screentime spent just showing the sad beauty of San Francisco could've been used to further flesh out some of its ideas, but I still found it extremely compelling all the way through.
      • John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum: I think the John Wick movies get a little more bloat on them every entry(much like their titles, actually), but the action only seems to get slicker. I still like the balance of the world, character work, and action in Chapter 2 the best, but while I think 3 drags itself down into its lore a bit too much, its setpieces are still top of the line. I find Keanu endlessly killing people left and right to be incredibly cathartic. Should probably talk to someone about that.
      • Burial of Kojo: This doesn't say "Netflix original" on it, but it does seem to be distributed by them in all the countries I checked, so I don't know what's happening there. Regardless, there's a good chance you'll find this on Netflix in your country. I'm willing to admit this movie is heavily, deeply flawed. It overtelegraphs many of its plot points repeatedly, for one. But I also think it is filled with a gorgeous charm. It's light fantasy and grounded fairy tale feels half Tarsem and half Guillermo del Toro, and I was captivated from beginning to end.
      • Booksmart: I find the new crop of female led high school movies (Booksmart, Edge of Seventeen, Eighth Grade) to be far more relatable and interesting than the dozens of high school movies of decades prior. It feels like the hands of the filmmakers is more on the pulse of the struggles of modern kids. Booksmart is very much a heightened comedy compared to the other examples I mentioned, but it is great at it. It's hilarious, even if there's one scene in particular that goes on forever. The comparisons to Superbad are mostly warranted, and I still lie awake at night, sad at the fact that I saw this opening night and the theater was mostly empty.
      • Dear Ex: The Netflix revolution of every indie movie ending up on streaming services and leaving the theaters to the blockbusters isn't quite happening at the speed originally anticipated, but it definitely seems like more and more of my favorites of the year end up being a streaming original. Dear Ex is a Netflix film about different people grappling with the loss of one man, and it shows the power of the individual to connect the lives of the people they love, and of the many tools we employ to try to get over losses in our lives.
      • High Flying Bird: Yet another Netflix movie. Steven Soderbergh is one of the people who can make a bearable heist movie in this day and age imo, and he lends that gift to this to make a movie where the heist isn't money or jewels, but the basic rights of human beings being trampled on by a system that creates middle men to suck up money, leaving the real workers with pennies. It's shot on an iPhone, and there are moments where that seems like a limitation, but honestly, a lot of it looks really impressive.
      • Ash is Purest White: This is Jia Zhangke well within his comfort zone, looking at the strain put on human relationships by the passage of time and the everchanging effects of globalization and shifting national landscapes. The World(2004) (aka Shijie) is still my favorite of his, and it is definitely an idea he's explored before, but his ideas and commentary on it have never failed me to keep me enthralled all the same.

      I have a list of all the 2019 movies I see that I consider "good" here (29 films at the time of writing this) if anyone wants to take a look at all of them.

      13 votes
    11. Movie Monday Free Discussion

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Thanks to @dubteedub for doing this up until now, let's bring em back :)


      Have you watched any movies recently you want to discuss? Any movies that you'd like to recommend or are hyped about? Feel free to discuss anything here!

      Spoilers are okay, just give fair warning so people who care about them can participate too.

      10 votes
    12. “How could you, Woody?” Or: my reaction to Toy Story 4

      First up: that “spoiler” tag isn’t there for fun. This essay is going to focus on a climactic moment in ‘Toy Story 4’. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know what happens, close this topic...

      First up: that “spoiler” tag isn’t there for fun. This essay is going to focus on a climactic moment in ‘Toy Story 4’. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know what happens, close this topic NOW.


      I saw ‘Toy Story 4’ last night. I’ve been catching myself up on the previous movies over the past few weeks (I’d never seen any of them before), so they’re reasonably fresh in my mind. I surprised myself by enjoying the movies a bit more than I expected to. I had assumed they were very much children’s movies, but I found them engaging and enjoyable even as a middle-aged adult.

      So I was all caught up, and went out last night to see the latest instalment in the franchise with a friend who’s a massive fan of all things Disney.

      I liked it. It was yet another “toys having adventures in the big wide world” story line. That seems to be the main story line of all the Toy Story movies: the toys get lost or misplaced, or have to go rescue a toy who is lost or misplaced, so they end up having adventures outside of their home.

      But there’s usually an emotional heart to each movie. And that emotional heart often comes from the character of Woody, whose goal has always been to make sure that the toys are doing what toys are supposed to do: bringing joy to children. As we often get told, mostly by Woody, being a child’s plaything is the most noble thing a toy can do. To that end, Woody seems willing to do almost anything. The toys have mounted ridiculous rescue missions, they’ve manipulated humans (it wasn’t Andy’s idea to give his toys to Bonnie), and they’ve made personal sacrifices. Even in this movie, Woody was willing to give up his voice box so that he could get brand-new toy Forky back to Bonnie who had made him, and to give Gabby the chance to belong to a kid.

      Then…

      Woody met Bo Peep in this movie, and found her living an independent life as a lost toy. We know they’ve had romantic feelings towards each other, but she was given away by Andy’s little sister some years back. Then she got given away again, to an antique store. Now she turns up living near a caravan park, and she’s noone’s toy except her own.

      Normally, Woody would have moved heaven and earth to reunite Bo with her previous kid, or to find her a new one. But she doesn’t want one. She’s an independent toy now, and that suits her fine.

      So they have their adventures. And, at the end of those adventures, Woody and his fellow toys are returning to Bonnie, while Bo is returning to her independent life. And Woody has a moment of indecision. Does he return to Bonnie, or does he go with Bo?

      But, there’s not really that much tension because we know how this is going to end. Woody has told us so many times that being a child’s plaything is the most noble thing a toy can do. Of course he’s going back to Bonnie.

      And then he chooses to go with Bo.

      I sobbed.

      Let me give some context for my reaction to this moment. I do respond emotionally to movies and television. I laugh loudly when something is funny, and I cry openly when something is sad. I jolt back in my seat in response to scary moments, and I’ve been known to cover my eyes during exceptionally gory scenes. I’m not ashamed to feel things in response to events on the screen, nor to express those feelings. That’s normal for me. However, I felt a very strong emotional reaction to this moment in the movie – much stronger than most. I wanted to burst out in loud unmanly sobs because of how upset I was. I wanted to shout at the screen. I felt a real and physical reaction in my gut: it was literally a gut-wrenching moment for me (and that almost never happens!). This was the strongest emotional reaction I’ve had to any moment in movies or television for years. It was strong enough to prompt me to write about it!

      I know I was supposed to feel happy that Woody and Bo had found each other, and they loved each other, and this was the start of their romantic “happy ever after”. But that’s not why I cried. I cried because Woody turned his back on nobility and chose selfishness.

      Woody had been the conscience and the heart of the whole franchise, reconciling toys to their place in life, and helping toys to achieve their goal in life. Even in this movie, he had turned Forky around from wanting to be trash to wanting to help Bonnie. Woody showed toys their noble goal in life, and did everything he could to help them achieve it.

      And then he turned his back on everything he’d said and believed up till now.

      Sure, Bonnie wasn’t playing with him as much as Andy did. Sure, he wasn’t top dog in Bonnie’s playroom (that place belonged to Dolly, who’d been there much longer than Woody and his fellows). But Woody was always selfless. Woody was always looking out for the children’s best interests. Woody was always putting the children’s needs ahead of his own. He had previously told his fellow toys that even being stored in the attic was a good thing because it meant their child (now a college man) still cared about them to some degree. So, even if Bonnie wasn’t playing with him all the time, he would still want to stay around to be there for her – or even to be there for the other toys she did play with.

      Wouldn’t he?

      Or was it all a lie? Was it all about his own selfish desire to be important and, then, when that importance was taken away, he decided to walk out?

      Or was it as basic as choosing pleasure over service?

      How could you do that, Woody? How could you turn your back on everything noble and good, and choose your own selfish desires instead?

      Woody, you broke my heart.

      22 votes