Tag Archives: movie

Moana or, why sometimes a simple story is the best kind of story

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Yeah, I finally watched Moana last week. And what an adventure it was, just getting to the cinema with the buses being late and getting their stops mixed up…The type that makes for a long, agonising, lung-burning, foot-hurting, RUNNING kind of story. But I digress! I made it on time for the movie and in the end that is all that matters. But what of the film itself?

Image result for moana movie poster

Favourite version of the poster! ❤ ^_^

The trailer had looked really promising and I was going in not with the highest of expectations but certainly hyped. Aaaaaand promptly got the scare of my life when the customary short started playing and I thought I had walked in on the wrong screening. Mercifully a kid a few seats over panicked over the same thing and his mother reassured as both that we were, in fact, in the right place. Now, I’ll try to keep the SPOILERS to a minimum here but you have been warned nonetheless!

The story is the basic, coming-of-age narrative that Disney seems to be particularly fond of, interspersed with some pretty awesome (and catchy as hell songs!). It was awesome to see the song lyrics being incorporated in the narrative and the dialogue too. I don’t know, maybe it’s the movies I’ve watched lately but in quite a few of them the songs felt a bit…I don’t know…shoehorned… (Love is an Open Door, I’m looking at you!) Not here though! And I also liked how the two main songs (other than Maui’s solo) got a couple reprises. It helped tie the plot together and show the progression of the character(s) through the three acts.

Animation was obviously gorgeous and damn if I don’t want to go swimming in that paradise island (Motunui, which apparently a real place in New Zealand…huh!) with it’s white-golden sand, the crystal clear waters and the absolute lack of anything even resembling a jelly fish -shudder-. I also liked the great variation in the character designs but I swear if I hear one more person calling the titular heroine chubby I will break something!

-Quick tangent here just to get this off my chest. Skip below to avoid the rant and return to the movie fangirling-

No, buddy, she is not chubby. Like, at all. She’s a teenager (I think they mentioned she’s 15), with a healthy, athletic body, which, considering what we see of the lifestyle at Motunui is perfectly understandable. Now she doesn’t have a corset-shaped body figure or prominent cheekbones. And that is a good thing! And maybe her legs do not rival those of a ballet dancer but they can certainly carry her through all the running and swimming and climbing and wayfinding she does during the movie. Come on guys, we went through this whole thing when Brave came out! And remember the backlash when Disney published an image of Merida that was more in line with the figures of the Classic and Renaissance era princesses? 

The point is, teenage girls, unless they do some really intensive athletic or dancing regime, will not be as willowy as the heroine of a Gothic romance. And yes, I know this could be considered a generalisation and yes, I have met girls who ate half their body weight daily and still remained thin, but let us go with the common denominator  for a moment. It’s puberty. It puts the body through a major roller-coaster and not just because of the raging hormones. So it’s no surprise that the so-desired harmony of body analogies will be a bit of a pipe dream until the body decides what it actually wants to look like. 

So what’s wrong with having role models for girls (and boys, you can’t imagine how GLAD I was that Maui, as the main male character, was not drawn like frigging Superman) that come in all shapes and, why not? sizes? Moana is a badass because of her actions and her character, not because she’d be able to fit in a size 6 dress. And to people who see this as encouraging girls to be chubby, well….

  1. You’re an idiot
  2. It’s not your body, it’s not your concern
  3. Some people are just naturally built that way
  4. I’d rather see a little girl or even a teenager, heck an adult be what you call chubby and happy and self-confident rather than thin and eternally worried about putting on weight
  5. No one’s body is here to adhere to your standards of the norm or aesthetically pleasing, so kindly keep your comments to yourself and well out of earshot of young people at an extremely impressionate and formative age in terms of self-perception. 

-End of tangent, back to our usual content-

Since we’re on the subject of characters anyway let me sum up my views on that real quick. Moana’s conflict with her parents, mainly her dad, had shades of Ariel’s conflict with King Triton in the Little Mermaid. Only here, and I take this as a sign of how much more developed kids’ films have become, we are given perfectly legitimate reasons for her father’s stance. True, Moana needs to break through her family’s fears in order to become her own person but there is a huge difference between “All humans are evil because I said so” and ” Do not go SPOILERS beyond the reef because I know from experience that that is dangerous”. Also yay for both parents being alive and involved! But my favourite supporting character had to be grandmother Tala! She is exactly the type of crazy old lady I aspire to be sixty years from now. Again, in her relationship with Moana there were shades of grandmother Willow and Pocahontas and -in a non-Disney context- Iroh and Zuko (any A:tLA fans?) She was wise but not on-the-nose about it and most importantly she guided her granddaughter without forcing her down a path necessarily, and I think that was what ultimately gave Moana the confidence boost she needed to start becoming her own person, keeping what she needed from her childhood and its familiarity and shedding what she had outgrown to make way for new experiences.

Maui was a delight and not in small part due to his voice actor’s (Dwayne Johnson) occasional deadpan delivery. At times he skirted meta-awareness and 4th wall breaking territory, which I felt was a bit out of place in a kids’ film but got a few chuckles out of the adults in the audience. I read some people describing as a comic relief character but I honestly didn’t get that vibe from him. Yes, his redemption arc takes the backseat at times (after it’s not his movie) and he is undeniably funny at times, but if you actually look beyond the magic tattoos and snark, his story is actually really dark. Not gonna say more here because we’re keeping this SPOILERS-lite but what little was told and/or hinted of his backstory on the film has me wanting to dig up an anthology of Polynesian myths and get myself sucked in.

Moana herself was a pleasure of a main character. She was a teenager and that included the attitude, the sass, and the irrepressible need to question any and all authority figures, but also the insecurity that comes with being too young to be trusted to make all your decisions by yourself but also old enough to be expected to begin to do so. I can think of quite a few 20-somethings who can relate. She is stubborn to a fault but she is also deeply compassionate. She longs for independence but at the same time freely acknowledges that she needs the guidance of those more experienced than her when faced with an unfamiliar situation.

Really, the only thing the film lacked in my opinion was a clear villain.  The Kakamora appeared early on and, to borrow Moana’s line, were “kinda Image result for moana characterscute”, so no way they’d be our Big Bad. I’ll give them that though. Not since the third Pirates of the Caribbean film have a seen a boat of such bizarre design.

 

 

Tamatoa was creepy (like keep everyone you cherish away from him-creepy), a legit threat towards both Maui and Moana and even got the movie’s villain song slot! He appears in the second act of the film and I half-expected him to show up during the climax too, but… I don’t know, maybe I’ve been Related imageconditioned to expect whoever sings the “It’s great being evil” tune in a Disney flick to show up for the climax.

 

 

Of course when the villain you actually build up throughout the story, Te Ka, looks like this, maybe they felt that two villains, the fate of the world (sort Image result for moana villainoff) and the characters’ own  baggage would make for a too crowded and maybe even overwhelming third act. I have some issues with classifying Te Ka as the main villain, mainly due to how the conflict is ultimately resolved, but in terms of being a fiery demon of death and destruction…. Boy, did the animation department deliver!

 

 

I don’t have much else to say other than, go watch. Drag the kids along if you have any laying around. Like all good Disney movies this is one for the entire family!

 

P.S. Oh! And did I mention how much I ADORE the realistic hair?

In which I go to probably unjustifiable lengths for my anime fix

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All this grumbling I’ve been doing about the new house? Lay to rest with a touching eulogy folks for we have found the true evil! My new internet provider and its terrible habit to block websites -in the distance sirens and screams-. All those lovingly bookmarked streaming websites that I can no longer use! Mind you, I’m all for buying the product and supporting the franchise and/or artist in question, but when the product happens to be an anime from the early ’90s… Well, good luck finding a decent sub that’s not gonna cost an arm, a leg, and possibly your liver to buy.

usagi-crying

And no, the gif was not chosen arbitrarily. I haven’t watched Sailor Moon since I was seven and got my first taste of anime through a godawful Greek dub of the godawful American dub. (And I swear, I tried so, so hard to like it but some of the voices were just…wrong!) Anyway, I only watched for that one summer and even then only if I happened to turn on the TV when it was on. By now any recollection of it has been covered in the golden mists of nostalgia (and the fact that I remember how cringe-worthy some of the voices were despite that goes to show). Yet recently, for no apparent reason, I was suddenly in the mood to see what was it about that show that made it so good at the time. It may have had to do with the fact that Sailor Moon Crystal started showing up randomly on my YouTube recommendations and, vague memories or not, stylised drawing or not, I just KNEW that the girls were not supposed to look this thin. I mean look at them!

These are the original designs. Thin, yes, but not frighteningly so.

These are the original designs. Thin, yes, but not frighteningly so.

And here's the new version....

And here’s the new version….

Considering one of the running jokes of the show is how much Usagi (that’s the blonde in the middle for the uninitiated) is capable of eating, why the heck does she look like her arms and legs are made out of spaghetti in Crystal. (That being said, I WILL watch Crystal once I’m done with the original show… If only because I hear it’s closer to the manga and I’m curious to see the differences…)

But I digress. It took some digging until I manage to find a streaming site that a. was not blocked, b.had the original show, c. had it subbed. Unfortunately it did not include the movies and while technically they are filler-stuff and not 100% canon, I’d like to watch them only for the extra interactions. That I can’t get enough of the opening sequence song. Unfortunately for me the only site that was not blocked and had the movies was YouTube, and unfortunately they were the dubbed versions.

not-impressed

My solution? Find a different network to stream the movie of course! And since I don’t have Charlie Bradbury’s epic computer skills (kudos to those who get the reference! 😉 ) I decided to relocate at Starbucks. I study better when I’m surrounded by white noise anyway, so while I have the movie loading (in an agonisingly slow pace at that) in one tab, I’ve been working on my TEFL coursework on another (yeah, I’m doing the TEFL course too on top of everything else. Have I mentioned this here before? Can’t remember.) Of course all this will have been for naught if I go home, wake up the laptop from its hibernation (gods I love that they actually call it that on the menu!) and get instantly blocked, BUT! No jinxing it! As far as I can understand the webpage gets blocked as it tries to load. But if it’s already loaded then there shouldn’t be a problem, right? Right?

I’ll see if I remember to add a note here to let you folks know the result of my herculean labour to load a 1993 Japanese cartoon…

 

P.S. Lucifer season 2 is starting next week. I. AM. SO. EXCITED!!!!!!

In which I climb my reference soapbox

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Lion King is a great movie, with cool characters, fun songs, gorgeous backgrounds and the Disney stamp of approval. It is also a movie that I have heard being compared to Hamlet one too many times. Do I agree with that? Well, would I be posting about it if I agreed? Lion King reminds me of a Shakespearean play, that is true. The play in question being Richard III. So am I right? Let’s see!

Lion King Hamlet Richard III
Dead king Yes Yes
Queen still living Yes Yes
Evil uncle Yes Yes
Comic relief duo Yes
Fight scene climax Yes Yes
Monologue with a skull Yes
Uncle attempts to kill nephew Yes
Brother killing brother (for throne) Yes Yes
Land going to hell Yes
Nephew killing uncle Yes
Uncle employing unsavoury characters Yes
Annoying satellite character to the king Yes Yes
Ghost(s) Yes Yes
Happy ending Yes…sorta
Total 10 11

So, there you have it! Lion King is more like Richard III than Hamlet and the numbers agree with my (not so) humble opinion… Hmmmm, maybe I should have added “snarky villain” on the list too…

What do you think?

In which trailers can make or break a movie

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I’m back ladies and gents! (As in back to my regular babbling after a month of poetry of dubious quality…) And as of today I have officially finished with all my coursework for the year! So excited! Anyways….I should be doing housework right now, but I kinda missed the randomness that are my Tuesday post so, in honour of immaturity and unrealistic expectations, here’s the top ten trailer clips that made or broke movie expectations for me:

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron

While the full trailer was cool (and so was the movie for the matter…) any chance Ultron had to be considered a menace in my book was lost when he quoted Disney’s freaking Pinocchio! Dude, you have access to the entire World Wide Web through whatever passes as your brain! Couldn’t you find something more bad-ass for your trailer line?

2. The Craft

I was going to watch it, I swear! Then tagline “Exorcise your rites” appeared. I can forgive the 90s for A LOT, but lame puns? No, sir this is where I draw the line. Especially when it’s puns that don’t make much sense. Although, having watched the trailer, I now have this theory that The Craft is a prequel to The Mentalist series, focusing on Teresa Lisbon’s teenage rebellion phase. Oh, the crossover possibilities!

3. The Last Airbender

WARNING! STRONG LANGUAGE FOLLOWS!

-ahem- Fuck you! Whoever greenlit that movie, I will happily feed to the (completely out of nowhere, deus ex machina) dragon. The clip I have here is actually not the trailer I watched before I saw the movie (that was the other one with the Fire Nation ship approaching the Air Temple that never made it to the movie) but it still showcases most of the wrongs: blah acting, lightning that is all wrong, ridiculous displays of bending (especially if you, like me, are a fan of the original show), the booming sound effect from Inception and did I mention the fact that not a single hint of the lightness of the series made it here? Seriously, watch the Nostalgia Critic’s review or the Honest Trailer, they’ll prepare you better for the movie than the official trailer. Or better yet! Watch the animated series. Ok, rant over. Moving on.

4. Rise of the Guardians

Saw this one on the cinema, and oh my various gods I was hyped! Couldn’t wait for the movie to come out and watched as soon as it was out. Did it live up to my expectations? For from it! It exceeded them! (And of course the chance to hear the voice of Wolverine coming from a bunny for a treat on its own…) This is one of those trailers that I love. Give you just enough of the plot and characters to get you excited but not enough to make feel you don’t need to watch the movie. -sigh- Now if only we could get a sequel….

5. Brave

Um…false expectations anyone? I really liked this trailer, it showed so much promise. And don’t get me wrong, the movie wasn’t that bad. Wasn’t great either but at least it wasn’t -shudder- Cars. Also, reminding the audience of previous, more successful movies from your studio? Not very classy.

6. Star Trek: Into Darkness

This one’s a special case. Yes, it doesn’t give us much in terms of what-the-heck-is-happening, which I suppose it to be expected since they were trying to keep the identity of the villain a secret. One the other hand, it was a very well edited couple of minutes and it had Benedict Cumberbatch and snarky!Spock, so my inner-fangirl was appeased enough to shut up the inner-critic.

7. Hunchback of Notre Dame

Ok, confession time. I hadn’t watched this trailer before I started writing this post. However, Hunchback of Notre Dame is one my favourite Disney movies and I was curious to see how they first promoted it. -sob- Good thing I watched the movie first… Talk about underwhelming. Oh, and the way they mash the lines together? Yeah, it doesn’t work. It just confuses you when you watch the movie and realise that what you thought was single scene is actually three different ones duct-taped together. My recommendation? Go straight for the movie.

8. Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy

Yes, I watched it. No, I am not ashamed. It had Tom Hiddleston as a singing, younger version of Captain Hook. Sue me, it sounded cool! Was it cool? So-so. If you’re looking for mindless fun, yeah. Come on, it’s a Tinker Bell movie!

9. Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

Will I be watching the movie? Noooooooooooooo! Guys, get it through your heads! Angst and drama are all well and good, but they cannot be the only characteristics you promote in a movie! I will be the first to admit that I am not very familiar with the DC-verse outside the Justice League cartoon, but it cannot be all doom and gloom. Also, the glow-y eyes thing in the new Batman costume. It looks silly. Also, also, IMBd says that Wonder Woman and Aquaman are confirmed as characters. They’re not exactly small fry, so why the heck are they not even hinted at at the trailer? If you’re going to set up for a Justice League movie, don’t keep the focus on tall-dark-and-justifiably-broody and tall-dark-and-OOC-broody.

10. Rise of the Avengers (fanvid)

Okay, I cheated with this one. It’s not a legit movie. But gosh, I wish it was! Found it a few nights ago, when I was on YouTube for way longer than what is probably healthy. I’m not gonna say anything other than it is one of the best mash-up trailers I have ever seen and if anyone knows of a fanfic along these lines PLEASE send me a link!

 

So, what do you think? Any trailers that should have been included? (I almost put the new Star Wars one, but I’m holding out for the movie before I pass judgement. The only reason Batman vs Superman made it to the list is because I was really, really, really peeved about the whole not-including-Wonder Woman thing….)

 

Additional disclaimer: It goes without saying that the trailers belong to whoever owns the rights to the movies/characters/however copyright works. I’m only spreading the love and the snark (and in the case of Last Airbender, the unadulterated loathing).

12 going to 1

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Time truly flies

When you’re having fun…

Last I checked it was eight, 

Now twelve going to one.

Eyelids grow heavy,

Lips sluggish;

Admit it! You’re half asleep!

But how can you put 

An end to a night like that?

Movies and midnight takeaway,

Giggles and gossip,

Mindless internet searches.

Until it’s one going to two

And you give up.

Sweet dreams for tonight,

Try not to break the alarm

When you wake up….