Moana || Review

10/10

Moana packed a much bigger emotional whallop than I ever imagined it would when I walked into the cinema. There were not twenty consecutive minutes that went by in which I wasn’t crying at some point. That’s not to say that this is a sad movie: it’s simply a powerful movie. Joy, loss, adventure, sorrow – every feeling that is expressed feels concentrated and heightened.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays the demi-god, Maui, and with that kind of star-power you might just expect him to be the biggest draw in the film. Whilst his famous charisma definitely translates with just his voice – although a few of his jokes fell flat – the character of Moana was by far the star of the movie. Duh, her name’s kind of in the title.

Everybody is fond of describing the new Disney heroes as ‘not your typical princess’ but you could say that of any of the protagonists since Aladdin‘s Jasmine in 1992 – and arguments could be made for before even then. Disney are producing complex, relatable, an extraordinary female characters and Moana is a prime example of that. That’s not to say that they don’t sing and have animal sidekicks – they haven’t gone mad.

Speaking of singing, the songs in this film are sublime. It’s the sort of music that you leave the cinema singing – I say that, because as I write this, How Far I’ll Go is playing on repeat in my head. With a mixture of songs in English and Tokelauan, the music creates this beautiful atmosphere where everything seems possible and it fully embraces its Polynesian roots.

Ultimately, Moana is a film that will make you feel good. More than that, it’s a film with a strong message about family, following your heart, and believing in yourself. I implore you to watch it (but take tissues).

Have you seen Moana yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

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The Top 3 Disney Princesses

Moana is officially in UK cinemas and to celebrate that we’re going to honour Disney’s wonderful, feminist approach to princesses by ranking these ladies against one another.

Not including Moana, there are currently eleven Disney princesses: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, and Merida. Everybody has their favourites (although if your favourite is Aurora, you should probably take a step back and think about the choices that you’re making in life) and for me, that favourite changes every time I re-watch on of their films.

Instead of selecting just one, which would be almost impossible, I have chosen my three favourite of the princesses, and with no particular order to it, here they are:

POCAHONTAS

pocahontasI actually only first watched Pocahontas a year ago and it was amazing. Pocahontas has one of the most real-life tragic stories and it has to be said: the Disney version is much nicer. Like way nicer. Still, they spoke about an actual historical figure who cares about the environment and nature. She speaks out against blind prejudice and she genuinely cares about the wider world where most people are motivated by self-interest.

BELLE

Image result for disney belleAs a book-loving nerd, Belle was always going to be one of my favourite princesses. Nothing quite resonates with me as strongly in a Disney movie than Belle’s reaction to that library. Also, when it comes to sexuality she’s definitely the most interesting – stick with me here. Most Disney stories are pretty vanilla when it comes to that aspect but Belle falls for the Beast when he’s the Beast. Try to convince me that that is not bestiality.

TIANA

Image result for disney tianaThe first black Disney princess was always going to be one of my favourites. With it’s New Orleans jazz; amazing voodoo plots; and uncharacteristically dark undertones, The Princess & The Frog is in my top 5 Disney movies but I’m focusing on Tiana. The title of ‘princess’ suggests some sort of birth-right or entitlement but Tiana is nothing like that. She works for everything that she has and she never gives up on it. Most people aren’t born princesses but Tiana shows that you can be extraordinary just by trying and that’s inspiring.

Who are your favourite Disney princesses? Are you an Aurora fan? Let me know in the comments.

A Beginner’s Guide To Moana

Everything you need to know before Moana comes out tomorrow.

What is it?
Moana is the latest animated Disney feature film and more specifically it is their latest Disney princess film.

So, like Sleeping Beauty?
Technically the same family but it’s more Tangled than Sleeping Beauty. Disney has been really good at updating their princess narratives so that women aren’t just waiting to be saved by a man and then married off. Just look at Brave: the Disney princess series has become about empowerment.

Female empowerment sounds great and all but… are there still songs?
Totally. In fact, the music in this movie has been getting more attention than is normal for an animated feature because one of the composer’s happens to be Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda.

What’s the film about?
The official synopsis is as follows:

The film tells the story of Moana, the strong-willed daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe, who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess. When a blight strikes her island, Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod, in hopes to save her people.

This movie has gods?
You’d think it would have been a controversial topic but everybody seems really calm about it – I’m assuming because it’s all been handled respectfully and sensitively but that’s not even the best part. The demigod, Maui? Voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Nice. Who else is in it?
Moana herself is voiced by newcomer, and Hawaiian native, Auli’i Cravalho. Other cast members include  Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzingerand Alan Tudyk.

Is it any good?
According to the critics, and the people that have watched it, and my instincts about this film. Yup. It actually seems amazing. People are saying that it marks a new, better, course for Disney.

Wait, What Happened? || Geek News

Happy Thanksgiving Eve to all of the Americans out there. Over the last few days we’ve had news ranging from castings to law suits and if you want to know more about that then you’ve come to the right place.

Angela Bassett Cast In Black Panther

Image result for angela bassettBlack Panther isn’t the next Marvel movie coming out, or the one after, or even the one after that, but it’s coming. I promise. It will be directed by Ryan Coogler and will star Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira and many other amazing people. If that were not enough to get you excited about the film, Angela Bassett has just been added to the cast. Look out for her in the role of Ramonda, Black Panther’s mother, when the film is released in February 2018.

Cars 3 Teaser

Pixar movies were all inarguably critical successes until Cars and even more so, Cars 2 (a lot of people would like to forget Cars 2). Personally, I enjoyed the first film but the second was truly a departure from true form for the animation studio. The teaser for the third installment, however, looks intense. Pixar movies get dark (see: first 5 minutes of Up, incinerator scene in Toy Story 3 etc.) but this teaser appears to show the film’s protagonist slowly and dramatically dying. If they were trying to catch people’s interest, Pixar have certainly done that. I’m actually excited about a Cars movie. Hopefully we’ll get a full length trailer soon but until then, here’s that amazing teaser again:

Amber Heard Sued For Undermining Film

Image result for amber heardAmber Heard is being sued by the producers behind one of her films, London Fields. You’ve either heard about the movie because of all the controversy that surrounded it last year, or more likely, you’ve never heard of it because some of that controversy included it not securing a distributor. The film was slated to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year and none of its cast arrived to promote it. There were so many issues (which you can read more about here) but the result is that producers have filed a $10 million lawsuit against Heard.

Which Marvel release after you most excited for? Will you be going to watch the next Cars movie? Are actors obligated to promote their films? Let me know in the comments.

 

Wait, What Happened? || Geek News

It’s finally the weekend which means two things:

(a) If you haven’t done so already, you should be racing out to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
(b) I’m back with all the movie news from the last few days.

Disney’s Moana Has A Title Change In Italy

Image result for moanaIt’s not unusual for studios to rename their movies for different international markets: just earlier this year Disney’s Zootopia was sold as Zootroplis in the UK. However, their reasoning behind re-titling the upcoming Moana as Oceania for its Italian release is a little bit more fun. Italy already has a famous Moana – Moana Pozzi, an adult film actress that died in 1994. Clearly she was very good at what she did because when Italian focus groups were asked about the name Moana there was only one girl that came to mind and she wasn’t animated.

Emilia Clarke Joins Han Solo Movie

Image result for emilia clarkeEmilia Clarke has been cast in the upcoming Han Solo movie. So far Alden Ehrenreich has been cast as the space pirate himself, Donald Glover will take on the role of Lando Calrissian, and Emilia Clarke is now the unnamed female lead. I know next to nothing about Star Wars but the quality of the casts that they’re employing has me fairly certain that I will be sucked in within the next year.

Deadpool 2 Finds New Director

Image result for david leitchJust under a month after Tim Miller left the production of the sequel to Deadpool, the movie has found a new director in David Leitch, the co-director of John Wick. He has more experience as a stunt double than a director – boasting only two directorial credits – but I’m trying to be optimistic. I’m trying really hard.

Who do you think of when you hear the name Moana? Are you a long-time Star Wars fan or are you just getting into it? Let me know in the comments.

Wait, What Happened? || Geek News

Tired of hearing about the dystopian nightmare that is a Donald Trump presidency? You’ve come to the right place. Amazingly, there is other news out there and some of it’s pretty awesome.

Beauty and the Beast Trailer

We finally got the trailer for Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and it’s everything that I could have ever wished for. It took Fifty Shades Darker’s title as the most viewed trailer in 24 hours so clearly the rest of the world is loving it as much as myself. The film stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the eponymous Beauty and Beast with Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and Stanley Tucci in starring roles. You can look forward to seeing the film from March 17th but if you haven’t seen the trailer yet or you just need another dose to tide you over, you can watch it below:

Jackie Chan Receives An Oscar

Image result for jackie chanThe Academy Awards ceremony takes place in February but that didn’t stop Jackie Chan from finally getting his Oscar this weekend. At the Governor’s awards on Saturday night, four honorary Oscars were distributed by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. Chan is a film icon and I can think of few who deserve it more. He had this to say:

“Standing here is a dream…After 56 years in the film industry, making more than 200 films, breaking so many bones, finally this is mine.”

Matt Damon Will Cameo In New Ocean’s Film

Image result for linus ocean's 11The more that I hear about Ocean’s Eight the more I can’t wait for its arrival. I love the heist movie genre but the quality of the movie is really down to the cast and this cast is unbelievable: Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway… the list goes on (and just gets more impressive). Now it has been revealed that Matt Damon will be making a cameo in the film, most likely as his Ocean’s Eleven character, Linus Caldwell.

How many times have you watched the Beauty and the Beast trailer? Who do you think deserves an honorary Oscar? What’s your dream heist movie line-up? Let me know in the comments.

Wait, What Happened? || Geek News

With one week until the US elections, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are dominating the news cycle and as somebody in the UK who is largely unaffected by the results, I’m sitting back and loving all of it. However, there is other news – cooler news. If you don’t know what I’m talking about and you find yourself asking: wait, what happened? I’ve got you covered.

The Defenders Run Will Be 8 Episodes

Marvel have a pretty solid formula in both their films and series but they are straying from it with the upcoming series: The Defenders. Whilst their other Netflix series have had 13 episode seasons, The Defenders will only be 8 episodes long.

I have mixed feelings on this. Obviously I want as much of this show as possible but if they only have 8 episodes of material then I wouldn’t want it stretched out to 13 and risk losing quality. If that dampened your excitement for the show maybe these new set photos will cheer you up.

Disney Developing Live-Action Snow White Movie

Image result for snow whiteDisney are roaring ahead with their live-action remakes and the next classic in their sights is Snow WhiteThe Girl on the Train screenwriter, Erin Cressida Wilson, is in negotiations to write the script with Benk Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) attached as songwriters. The movie will include some of the original music but new songs are also being written.

In recent years there have been two separate attempts at a live-action Snow White in Mirror, Mirror and Snow White & the Huntsman but neither really captured the magic of Disney’s animated version. Hopefully Disney won’t fall short of their own original.

The Flash Loses Its Second Director

Image result for rick famuyiwaRick Famuyiwa has become the second director this year to leave ‘The Flash’ movie over creative differences. I’m trying to have faith in the DCEU, I really am, but they make it so difficult. I mean, what are Warner Bros. doing to these directors? Just let them make a nice movie!

The film was set to begin production early next year and was slated for a March 2018 release but whilst Warner Bros. are yet to release a statement, it seems unlikely that that will happen.

Do you wish that the Defenders was longer? Are you tired of Disney remakes? Do you think that The Flash movie will get its act together in time for a 2018 release? Let me know in the comments.