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Thread: Moana (Ron Clements, John Musker)

  1. #1
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    Moana (Ron Clements, John Musker)

    Last 11 things I really enjoyed:

    Speed Racer (Wachowski/Wachowski, 2008)
    Safe (Haynes, 1995)
    South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Parker, 1999)
    Beastie Boys Story (Jonze, 2020)
    Bad Trip (Sakurai, 2020)
    What's Up Doc? (Bogdanovich, 1972)
    Diva (Beineix, 1981)
    Delicatessen (Caro/Jeunet, 1991)
    The Hunger (Scott, 1983)
    Pineapple Express (Green, 2008)
    Chungking Express (Wong, 1994)

  2. #2
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    So beautiful.

    Just an astounding blend of visuals, ideas and music that's so swellingly sentimental in the best way from the very first musical note over the studio cards. That musical element helps that consistently lovely tone a lot, even when some numbers do feel slightly perfunctory. Little nitpicks here and there, like stretches where its dialogue begins to be fueled by jokes that feel out of place [
    ] and some softly bludgeoned moments that feel like they've already come across otherwise, but really, you could've put this animation and set of songs to a Two and a Half Men script and I would've still been mostly awestruck.

    What's interesting to me how some years animated films from different studios stumble upon unexpected similarities, like with Despicable Me and Megamind in 2010, ParaNorman and Frankenweenie in 2012. "Twin films" if you will. To me this hits a lot of the same thematic notes and deep emotional effectiveness of Laika's Kubo. Some reasons are more spoiler-y (for both) than others, but bottom line, they're now my favourite two animated films of the year.

    Recently I was thinking this year's Best Animated Feature Oscar could've easily gone to Zootopia over the more financially successful Finding Dory, but now I'm thinking Disney Animation one upped themselves and this might just take it instead.

    If it wasn't already official for me. This decade: Disney Animation > Pixar.
    Last edited by Henry Gale; 11-22-2016 at 04:07 AM.
    Last 11 things I really enjoyed:

    Speed Racer (Wachowski/Wachowski, 2008)
    Safe (Haynes, 1995)
    South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Parker, 1999)
    Beastie Boys Story (Jonze, 2020)
    Bad Trip (Sakurai, 2020)
    What's Up Doc? (Bogdanovich, 1972)
    Diva (Beineix, 1981)
    Delicatessen (Caro/Jeunet, 1991)
    The Hunger (Scott, 1983)
    Pineapple Express (Green, 2008)
    Chungking Express (Wong, 1994)

  3. #3
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Fucking asshole sitting directly in front of me filming the movie on his phone pretty much ruined the whole first song. -_-

    Once I changed seats though, I was able to enjoy the rest of the movie. I thought it was good. It's main theme and reprisals are simply powerful. Chills every time.

    The rest was solid enough, though it was little more than a typical "chosen one" story, and its genre-aware humor doesn't work quite as well as in Frozen.

    All in all, I liked it, but I'll have to let it settle a bit before really determining just how I feel about it.

  4. #4
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Henry Gale (view post)
    Recently I was thinking this year's Best Animated Feature Oscar could've easily gone to Zootopia over the more financially successful Finding Dory, but now I'm thinking Disney Animation one upped themselves and this might just take it instead.
    Oh man, I really hope not. Good as this movie was, Zootopia was sooooooooooooooooooo much better.

    Also, to respond to your post from the box office thread, I'll definitely give this movie that it commits to being a musical far better than Frozen, which I still think is Frozen's greatest fault, the fact that it abandons the musical genre in the third act. And this movie certainly sports some absolutely stunningly gorgeous visuals.

    That said, Frozen has this thing beat in just about every other regard. Frozen's powerful songs are far more powerful than any of Moana's, and certainly more memorable at that (I am almost certain we aren't going to be hearing anyone going around singing the songs from this thing the way we did from Frozen, or even other Disney musical classics like Aladdin, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast), and it's themes and messages dig far deeper, and at least for me personally, resonate on a far more emotional level than anything in Moana, which comes across as fairly basic in comparison. To further with my earlier point regarding its humor, that's really all I could think throughout, was that Frozen already covered this, and, seeing as Frozen was essentially a deconstruction of the genre, the jokes worked far more effectively there as well, feeling, as you said, out of place in this movie.

    Basically, I feel that, if we were to compare this year's Disney animation releases to last year's Pixar releases, Moana is to The Good Dinosaur as Zootopia is to Inside Out. Moana was definitely good overall and certainly had its fair share of stirring moments throughout, but on the whole feels a bit lacking, much like The Good Dinosaur last year, where as like Inside Out, Zootopia was rich in intelligent and emotional depth, and instantly struck a chord with me, where I knew that I had just watched something truly special.
    Last edited by TGM; 11-25-2016 at 12:40 AM.

  5. #5
    I hated the chicken. but the rest of the movie is pretty lovely and charming. Fun. sweet. etc.

  6. #6
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    I was also reminded of The Lego Movie every single time they brought up Moana being the "chosen one", and it really drove home just how that movie poking fun at that trope has pretty much made it impossible to do that sorta thing anymore and be expected to take it too seriously.

    But I dunno, I don't wanna trash on this movie too much, because it is really good. And I can definitely see where you're coming from with the comparisons to Kubo, Henry, and considering how much you liked that one, I can totally see why this one would connect with you in such a similar vein. The thing is that my own experiences with the two movies is also similar, where I found myself very much in search for something to latch onto to really connect with the film on a deeper level with both films, and wound up coming up a bit short in the end.

  7. #7
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Decided to flesh out my thoughts and post a full review on the blog: http://cwiddop.blogspot.com/2016/11/...mparisons.html

  8. #8
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Here's the definitive opinion: this is way better than Frozen, but not better than Tangled.

    You're welcome.
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  9. #9
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    Here's the definitive opinion: this is way better than Frozen, but not better than Tangled.

    You're welcome.
    Nope.

    Frozen > Tangled > Moana

  10. #10
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Really TGM? You and I tend to agree on a lot of things but Frozen is super bad from a story perspective.

    Off the top of your head, no cheating, describe the antagonist's plan.

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  11. #11
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    Really TGM? You and I tend to agree on a lot of things but Frozen is super bad from a story perspective.

    Off the top of your head, no cheating, describe the antagonist's plan.
    Han's plan was to marry his way into power, being the youngest of several siblings and farthest from being in line to attain power within his own house, and intended to steal the crown from Anna and Elsa and remove them from the equation, so there was no one standing in the way of his reign.

    And no, I didn't cheat, I genuinely adore the movie.

    I actually think Frozen is a movie incredibly rich in thematic and emotional depth, and is a movie that only grows far more brilliant the longer it resonates. In fact, it's the movie I've probably written about the most on my blog, as more and more revelations about it have come to mind, and it's among the absolute most relatable movies for me on a personal level I've ever seen in my life.

    For reference, and at the risk of embarrassing myself, here are just a handful of the posts I've written where I tend to discuss the movie in depth:

    http://cwiddop.blogspot.com/2015/03/frozen-fever.html (when discussing the prospect of Frozen 2 about halfway in)
    http://cwiddop.blogspot.com/2013/12/...s-of-2013.html (#2 spot)
    http://cwiddop.blogspot.com/2013/12/frozen.html
    http://cwiddop.blogspot.com/2014/07/...mpilation.html

    And there's also my Moana review posted above, where I also discuss Frozen quite a bit there as well.

    And for further reference on just precisely what it is that makes the movie stand out for myself and others who love it, I'd also refer you to these fantastic video essays:





    It's a movie where I fully acknowledge that it has glaring flaws, sure. Yet, it's an instance where I honestly think that a lot of the movie's flaws actually add to its overall charm. It's not a perfect movie, and in fact, you could easily point out how broken it is in certain regards. Just like pretty much all of the characters themselves, who are also very flawed, broken people. And yet it's their love for one another despite it all that makes everything work out in the end, just as it is a love for the full package, flaws and all, that really makes the movie's brilliance and its deeper meanings throughout truly shine.

    Now sure, I'm not expecting a lot of people here to agree with my stance that it's the best of that particular lot, since I know the movie wasn't that well liked here. But for me personally, yeah, this was a special sorta movie that really doesn't come around too often, and it's gonna take a lot to top it for me, which Moana came nowhere near. But even looking beyond Frozen (and to actually bring the discussing back to the title movie at hand!), I'd also say Moana is quite a ways from even being as good as Tangled, which, in addition to being an overall solid Disney musical like Moana, bested that movie all the same with far more powerful (and far more earned) emotionally impactful moments, and far more memorable standout music on top of its solid plot and characters.

    But if I were to rank all of the modern Disney stuff from Tangled onwards, I'd personally place them like this:

    Frozen > Tangled = Zootopia > Big Hero 6 = Moana > Wreck-It Ralph (I still haven't seen the 2011 Winnie the Pooh)
    Last edited by TGM; 12-03-2016 at 12:08 AM.

  12. #12
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    I couldn't even tell you if you're correct or not because the plan was completely forgettable.

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  13. #13
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    As usual, I find Disney late-period 3D films (asides from Tangled) a little lacking or overly obvious in purely dramatic mode/storytelling, and this one is plottier than most; the scenes before Moana left the island had me pretty drowsy. However, I do love and think them basically unsurpassed in animation for comedy mode, especially one in the frantic or manic register (Pixar has the heart and creativity), so the combination of Maui and the idiotic chicken is so goddamn delightful to me during the voyage. Speaking of, I am mightily impressed with how The Rock invests Maui with so much of his usual style of charisma, humor and warmth and still stays firmly within the character. This also might be Disney's best bunch of songs since the heyday of their 2D animation; the inspirational songs are good, but I'm taken with the fun and playful "You're Welcome" and "Shiny".

    Still pretty down about feeling like a Pixar fanboy with liking Finding Dory better than both this and Zootopia though, although the latter has Pixar beat in the creativity department this year and is very close (and there are four animated fillms I liked better than Disney and Pixar this year anyway).

    Anyway: Wreck-It Ralph > Tangled > Zootopia > Moana > Frozen = Big Hero 6
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  14. #14
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    I couldn't even tell you if you're correct or not because the plan was completely forgettable.
    To be fair, it's the act of his heel turn and what it represented in the grand scheme of the movie that's more the point, as opposed to what his actual plan was itself.

    Quote Quoting Peng (view post)
    Anyway: Wreck-It Ralph > Tangled > Zootopia > Moana > Frozen = Big Hero 6
    K, I explained away my love for Frozen, now I'm curious what makes Wreck-It Ralph top your rankings.

  15. #15
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    My favorite Disney films by far are The Emperor's New Groove and Wreck-It Ralph, so I think I just prefer them in that mode. But in term of drama musical I just think their 2D animated films feel far better, with the exception of Tangled which I feel is their real throwback to that era, in both execution and sensibility.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  16. #16
    Moderator Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    This movie, like Zootopia, is just good enough to pass the time but leaves me disappointed with what could've been. The constant intrusions of the ocean created some real lame plotting (where basically anytime the story threatened to veer off course, the ocean plops someone back in the boat or back on track or whatever), only a few of the songs landed, and Moana's "chosen one" destiny angle was completely unnecessary. It was enough that she was able to fuse her dual desires of helping her people and voyaging onto the ocean into one firm goal (heart, goddess, mythical journey et cetera).

    Would also be curious to rewatch and see if Moana's choice at the end about [
    ] actually means something in terms of her development, because my memory is that it's appropriately dramatic but doesn't really conclude her emotional journey in the most fitting way. Everything that's happening in the movie feels very schematic. Like the filmmakers recognize that great stories have these elements, and then they worked backwards, instead of deciding which elements and choices best suited the story they wanted to tell - that's a big reason why I dislike the "chosen one" bullshit.

    But good Lord, what a beautiful looking movie. The water, beautiful. The evocations of Hawaiian culture, beautiful. The beasties, beautiful. The showdown with the lava monster feels Miyazaki-ish (-esque?). Moana's opening "I want" song feels stirring at times. The humor with Dumb Chicken worked surprisingly well. The gags with Maui's tattoos are a nice touch, although it begs the question of why Maui doesn't have any nipples. I spent way too much time searching those generous pectorals for nips.

    Girl I went with absolutely hated the crab song and dance number, but I sorta loved it, because it's one of the few times the film went in a really risky and demented direction. Let's face it, Disney has the money and clout to get weird more often than they do, and Jermaine Clement playing a self-obsessed glam crustacean with a Bowie jangle in his voice suggests that there may be another Emperor's New Groove sort of movie in their future.

  17. #17
    Second star to the right [ETM]'s Avatar
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    Jemaine Clement's "Shiny" is one of the absolute highlights of the movie. Basically anything Miranda touched was gold.

  18. #18
    Second star to the right [ETM]'s Avatar
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    Also, I see nipples on Maui clearly:

  19. #19
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    The intrusion of a sentient ocean was the only thing I really disliked about this movie. It raises a lot of questions about her quest that shouldn't be raised.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  20. #20
    Second star to the right [ETM]'s Avatar
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    It's the Eagles argument for the film.

  21. #21
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    I'm the first nay? Sheesh. This was awfully boring. Just a flat protagonist on a generic quest without much in the way of dramatic pull. Good music, but an unengaging story. The decisions she makes in this film are largely devoid of moments that would define her character. What do we know about her? She's determined. And that's about it. When she gets into trouble, she is bailed out by the ocean, by her magical companion, and even a mindless chicken. Most everything is handed to her. The film ends and I still don't feel like I really know her or understand why she's special. I never worried about her or felt remotely concerned that she might not achieve her goal.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  22. #22
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    This is yet another movie that, similar to Doctor Strange, has really not sat well with me at all.

  23. #23
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    One thing that is worth thinking about when considering this movie ... what is Moana's worst moment? What is her low point? And is it really all that bad? It's a hero's journey that forgot to include the 'death and rebirth' stage.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  24. #24
    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    Moana is to The Good Dinosaur as Zootopia is to Inside Out.
    Moana is better than all three of those. Comfortably so, in fact.
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  25. #25
    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    I'm the first nay? Sheesh. This was awfully boring. Just a flat protagonist on a generic quest without much in the way of dramatic pull. Good music, but an unengaging story. The decisions she makes in this film are largely devoid of moments that would define her character. What do we know about her? She's determined. And that's about it. When she gets into trouble, she is bailed out by the ocean, by her magical companion, and even a mindless chicken. Most everything is handed to her. The film ends and I still don't feel like I really know her or understand why she's special. I never worried about her or felt remotely concerned that she might not achieve her goal.
    The film hands all that stuff over to Maui, who is the one who does most of the changing and sacrificing. Moana, on the other hand, is simply someone who has a calling, something that can't be logically explained away, and she explores that, for better or worse. Yeah, she has it pretty easy with the ocean on her side (that is the only thing preventing this from being truly top tier because it kept being used as a convenient out for the filmmakers, and unfortunately the gags it produces doesn't make up for it), but it's hard to blame her for the chicken and Maui, seeing as she keeps the former alive and cajoles the latter into actually being useful. For her, the entire trip is a variation on "Am I crazy for wanting to do this?" which I find more interesting than your typical plotty pinch points and narrative obstacles.

    Overall though, this is fleet and confident, with some excellent direction and voice work, and the songs are better than Frozen by a mile. Plus, it's funny.
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    El
    (1973) 70
    The Day After
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    Duck, You Sucker (1971) 68
    Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) 71
    Noriko’s Dinner Party
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    The Third Murder (2017) 56

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    /Toy Story
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