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

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

So, it’s only been a couple of days since our last little chat but things just keep happening. You may be wondering: wait, what happened? and I have got you covered. Trailers and casting, let me tell you all about it.

Moana Trailer Dropped

Disney’s Moana comes out later this year (December, if you’re unlucky enough to live in the UK like myself and November, if you’re one of those fortunate bastards in the US) and the first full trailer dropped yesterday. I was already excited about this movie but now I’m fully invested in these characters that I haven’t even seen properly. Even the pig. Especially the pig. The trailer is currently our featured video but scrolling up is hard so you can also watch it below:

Pacific Rim Sequel’s New Lead

Image result for cailee spaenyRemember when John Boyega was cast as the lead in the Pacific Rim sequel and and the Internet went crazy? Well, prepare for another dose of that as the film has officially cast Cailee Spaeny as its female lead. Wooo!!!! Anybody? Okay, maybe it’s not quite as exciting: Spaeny is an Australian actress and singer. She’s a relative newcomer but that in itself is very cool. I had never seen Rinko Kikuchi before Pacific Rim and she was perfect in her role. Hopefully we see the same thing here.

Margot Robbie To Produce Suicide Squad Spin-Off

Image result for harley quinn margot robbieThis summer’s Suicide Squad got a bad rep but nobody can deny that Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was awesome. There were rumours that she would get her own spin-off and it looks like they were true. What’s more, Robbie’s production company (she’s 26 and has a production company, could I love her more?) has signed a first-look deal with Warner Bros. so they will be producing the Harley film as well as a variety of other projects with Warner Bros.

That’s it for today but I’m sure we will be inundated with news and I’ll be back very soon. Until then:

Do you want to see Moana? Do big names make you more likely to watch films? Who was your favourite member of the Suicide Squad? Let me know in the comments.

Disney’s Moana: Why It’s Bringing Us All The Joy

Over the last few days it has been difficult to find a lot of happiness in the world because once again we’ve been reminded of just how shitty individual people can be. For some reason, a lot of this week’s content was based around some heavy themes so I’ve essentially scrapped that and we’re going to try to focus on the positives – on the reasons why the world isn’t doomed and where we can snatch those moments of joy.

Let’s talk about all of the reasons why Disney’s Moana is a reason to smile.

1) Moana – the girl, not the film.

Moana is Disney’s first Polynesian princess (score for representation) and she is voiced by a native Hawaiian, Auli’i Cravalho. Also, based on the trailer, it looks like she’s plenty kick-ass without the help of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s demi-god, Maui.

2) Maui

Speaking of The Rock, this will be his first ever Disney movie. He has one of the friendliest and most charismatic voices and is also of Polynesian descent. Judging from a bit of that subtle eyebrow work in the teaser, we can expect the demi-god to share a little bit more than a voice with The People’s Champion.maui moana.png

3) Art Style

Moana Hercules.pngIt looks like Disney could be exploring some new art styles in certain sequences. I’m always excited when Disney take a risk and is it just me or does their Maui animation (top picture) look a lot like the opening sequence for Hercules (bottom picture)?

4) The Music

You know I’m obsessed with Hamilton so obviously I have to talk about the music. The music for the film is composed by Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i. We only had the smallest of listens in the teaser trailer but it sounds beautiful.

I’m sure that there a million more reasons to be excited about Moana and I would love for you to share those so tell me:

What are you most excited about for Moana? Can you believe that it has taken this long for The Rock to appear in an animated Disney movie? Let me know in the comments.

What’s New? || Geek News

Happy Tuesday everybody, if you are completely psyched about E3 and can’t wait to hear about all of the news coming out of there then you are most definitely in the… wrong place. I’m sorry, games aren’t my things but I have other news?

First Moana Teaser

The first teaser trailer for Disney’s Moana was released yesterday and it looks amazing. The animation is typically beautiful for Disney but it feels like a very new story for them. Maybe it’s the Rock who, even in voice-form, has such a presence but something about this feels wonderfully fresh. You can watch the trailer here:

Gotham Re-Casting For Season 3

Gotham is re-casting the role of Poison Ivy for their upcoming third season. The role was played by the young Clare Foley in the first two seasons but it looks like the show are looking for an older actress so that they can sexualise her and have it not be too weird. I realise I sound bitter, but to be fair to Gotham, seducing men is kind of Poison Ivy’s whole schtick.

Wolverine 3 Set Photos

Filming for the third (and potentially Hugh Jackman’s last) solo Wolverine film has begun and there are now some set photos circulating. Most interestingly, we see Logan hanging out with Professor Xavier – Patrick Stewart, not James McAvoy (“these timelines are so confusing!”). You can take a look at the full set of photos over on Just Jared.

That’s everything for today except that Emmy voting is now open. If you didn’t vote in your local election then redeem yourself, go vote for your favourite TV show. There will be more news on Thursday but until then:

Are psyched about Moana? Do you still watch Gotham? Have you seen enough of Wolverine? Let me know in the comments.