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Moana Review – Beautiful, Familiar & Different

Good day to you ladies and gents and welcome to the first of three new film reviews, today I had a lovely three film session at the cinema and now I’m going to talk about one of my most-anticipated films of 2016; Moana. I thought after Zootopia, I wouldn’t be expecting anymore animated Disney films this year but then I remembered this was coming out towards the end of the year. The trailers definitely had my interest and the positive word of mouth coming out of the US recently got me really giddy for its UK release. So is it good or not? Well read on and find out!

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So for those not aware here’s a brief synopsis:

“This 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.”

The story is definitely not anything new if you’re familiar with Disney animated films, this means that the story beats and overall doesn’t offer too much new and plot’s easy to predict, that being said, Moana has so much more to offer with its culture, characters and life lessons. The film’s just so different with its spirituality, mythology and magic, and deals with themes of self discovery, family, destiny and having courage in the darkest of times. One of the key aspects that I loved was Disney’s approach to the Polynesian culture and mythology, it felt like the behind the film did the research and were able to create a world with its own sense of identity. If I had any nitpicks I’d say the film was quite humourous too though not nearly as funny as I’d hoped, and it definitely felt more child-friendly than it was for adults and I kind of wanted something a little darker.

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As for the cast they were great. Let’s start with the stand out star, Auli’i Cravalho as Moana Waialik. Here we have a character’s who is headstrong, athletic, kind and charismatic and from a young age she’s likeable and destined for better things, and over the course of the film she grows and becomes so much more, and I loved Cravalho’s performance especially with her singing. And then there’s Dwayne Johnson as Maui who is fun yet self-centered. Just when I thought I couldn’t love Johnson any more than I do now, he voices a shape-shifting demigod and the dude’s on fire in this role. Johnson brings all of the charisma from his life-action roles to Maui who is fun, charming and larger-than-life, he kind of reminded me a lot of Genie from Aladdin. I also loved the chemistry between Cravalho and Johnson, it clearly showed through the character back and forth which was delightful and hilarious. Jemaine Clement was a surprise favourite as Tamatoa, this character was quirky, strange and funny. Rachel House did well as Gramma Tala offering some great moments between her and Moana, and Temuera Morrison I was just about able to recognise by voice as Chief Tui Waialiki, he was really good. Nicole Scherzinger was fine as Sina Waialiki, and no offense to Alan Tudyk because I love his work both in live-action and voice acting, but I thought he was wasted as Heihei; a character I didn’t even know had a voice until the credits rolled.

When it comes to the presentation it was incredible. Visually Moana is one of the best animated films I’ve seen in recent years, there was a great deal of care given to the 3D CGI and even after seeing incredible visual spectacles like Toy Story 3, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6, Disney are still finding ways to create these insanely detailed and realistic films but still retain the charm and familiarity of their traditionally animated films especially with the character design. The art direction is fabulous, the colour palette is vibrant and varied and the mixture of 2D and 3D animation is inventive and pretty. Oh and that soundtrack by Mark Mancina, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa’i is gorgeous, I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the songs I got into and it was also impressive how they incorporated both english and the Tokelauan language. Straight from the beginning I was into “Where You Are” and then enjoyed “How Far I’ll Go”Ā  (though maybe it’s because it appears more than once), “You’re Welcome” was one of my favourites, but I think the stand out was “Shiny” damn that song was catchy and a pure delight. šŸ˜€

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In conclusion Moana was a lovely film that continues Disney’s streak of impressive animated films, and while it is a little familiar in its story structure, the cultural elements, amazing visuals, strong characters and catchy soundtrack make it worth a watch.

So have you seen Moana and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to drop your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll see ya on the next review! šŸ˜€

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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Films Iā€™m Looking Forward to in 2012: Men In Black 3

Hello again ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another installment of films I’m looking forward to in 2012 and today’s film is very interesting one which comes in the shape of Men In Black 3.

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In a way Men In Black 3 in a way is one of those unexpected sequels that’s just showed up out of nowhere and it really does seem like Hollywood are running out of ideas and are resorting to reviving dead franchises from the ground for a remake or unnecessary sequel, however this is one sequel I think some people would like to see. The first Men In Black was awesome and I think everyone can agree that it was a good film, whereas a lot of people hated MIB2 and it wasnt the sequel most people wanted, so with a third film on the way I think fans want to see the power of the film series restored. Now this film has taken many years to make mainly because for a while it only was rumored to be made and then it was eventually confirmed by Sony Pictures Entertainment back in 2009 that the Men In Black would grace our cinema screens again. In 2010 after some debate as to whether Will Smith would sign on to do another MIB film, he was eventually drafted onto the project once co-star Tommy Lee Jones had joined the fray along with returning director Barry Sonnenfeld in May 2010. And then we had our first taste of that old school MIB feeling when Will Smith dressed up the black and white suit with the glasses at an exclusive Sony 3D TV launch event at Sony Pictures Studios saying that he was about to make 3-D look good. That line alone got me hyped.

In November 2010 principal photography started and it was at this point we got a look at the first set pictures and as time went by we got to see some of the additional cast members that would be part of the film including Emma Thompson, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement and even singer Nicole Scherzinger was going to be part of crew too. The cast for MIB3 seemed to be a mix of the old with a lot of fresh new talent and things only started to look up after the set pictures started showing up. Seeing Will Smith as Agent J again made me so happy and it was also good to see Tommy Lee Jones there too. It also looked like Josh Brolin looked great as the young Agent K, Emma Thompson looked fairly professional onset and Nicole Scherzinger just looked hot so I had no complaints. šŸ™‚

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It seems like an odd fit on paper but Smith and Brolin seem to fit well together as partners in MIB3.

When it comes to the plot of MIB3 it is as follows:

J has seen some inexplicable things in his 15 years with the Men in Black, but nothing, not even aliens, perplexes him as much as his wry, reticent partner. But when K’s life and the fate of the planet are put at stake, Agent J will have to travel back in time to put things right. J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that K never told him — secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save his partner, the agency, and the future of humankind.

Now time travel is no stranger to sci-fi films and if anything it is usually used as the main plot device for films from classic film series’ like The Back To the Future Trilogy to the Terminator films or more specifically in great films like Donnie Darko or the animated masterpiece that is The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. In the case of MIB3 it does seem like a questionable choice for a plot on paper, but at the same time it does look pretty good in the trailers so there looks like there’s hope for this film.

The development of this film has been very turbulent due to delays, script rewrites and other formalities that made MIB3 look like it wasn’t going to be made. But luckily the film continued in production. And so several months down the line we got more set pics, the main teaser poster which was literally the title of the film in space. Then in November 2011 the next set of teaser posters came out and they were very funky, dizzying and confusing.

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Look at those? While it’s certainly an inventive poster, one has to ask the question who thought that these posters was a good idea? It’s very strenuous on the eyes.

Then in December we got our first sort of look at the film when the first small trailer came out in December 2011 and it sort of had that old MIB feel with a few new aspects in play in terms of plot, aliens and the human characters. And while it was decent trailer it did feel like it was quite lacking and left much to be desired. Luckily a full trailer was released recently, but we’ll get to that in a bit. There’s also talk recently of Lady Gaga making a cameo in MIB3 which could be great or completely irrelevant and this wouldn’t be the first time a famous music artist made an appearance in a MIB film. As many will be aware the late Michael Jackson made cameo as Agent M in MIB2 and it was probably one of the best scenes in the film because it was pretty damn funny.

I think the main reason I’m looking forward to this film is due to the fact that it’s Will Smith’s first film in like 4 years and that’s far too long for someone as awesome as him to be out of the game. I think MIB3 is the type of film Will Smith needs to come back into the world of cinema. Mainly because it’s part of a series of films that people know of and it seems like it’ll be massive. Plus this’ll be a great chance for those uneducated in the world of Big Will to take in all of his greatness.

Besides the fact that Will Smith is in the film, MIB3 does look like it could be a decent film. As I mentioned before MIB2 wasn’t that well received and so now in the year 2012 the filmmakers and actors have one final chance to redeem themselves and prove that the MIB series still kicks ass and also prove to us as the film audience that sequels can be good when handled properly. Potentially MIB3 could be a failure and all of this could be in vain. However even if this film doesn’t do amazingly well in the end it couldn’t be any worse than MIB2. Now let’s talk about that new trailer that’s available below:

Now seeing this trailer I feel a little more hopeful for this film. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t think MIB3 was going to be a complete failure but it’s always hard to tell until you get a decent trailer. This trailer happens to give us better idea as to what will be going down and is miles better than the previous trailer. Seeing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as partners again back in black is fabulous and Josh Brolin seems to capture the spirit of Agent K very well and overall there seems to be a great deal of scale to this film, with the characters, action and sci-fi elements combined.

So now all we can do in wait until May 2012 to see if this sequel kicks ass or flops at the Box Office and with critics. It comes outs around 2 weeks after The Avengers so it’ll be interesting to see how it fares in the summer.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Films, Media

 

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