Author Topic: Moana  (Read 400 times)

1SO

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Moana
« on: November 24, 2016, 02:42:27 PM »
Didn't think I'd have to open a Spoiler thread, but Moana has an odd disjointed quality I wasn't expecting and I wonder how the film developed over the years. For example, the story takes a while to get going and the songs are okay, but not as good as I expected or hoped for. Then I read in the end credits that the songs are not exclusively by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina are also credited. The third song is "We Know The Way" and it's wedged into the story, yet it's such a robust opener I wonder if it was originally intended to be the start of the film.

I hate Tamatoa the giant crab and as much as I think the world needs more Glam Rock, his song "Shiny" is terrible. Jemaine Clement is the right casting choice for playing a Glam Rock crab, but the sequence adds nothing to the film but padding. Even the trippy animation is unfortunate, and these are the directors who did the great "Friends on the Other Side". The soundtrack doesn't officially list who's responsible for the music and lyrics, leaving me to wonder if Bret Mckenzie was involved at one point.

The coconut monsters were mostly Fury Road, but the moment where one of them accidentally gets hit with a blow dart and it cuts to three of them, one of whom pretends to hide his dart gun is pure Minions. I really hate Minions.

Now about that ending...
The first battle with the lava monster ended on a confusing note. I thought they had made it through the reef. It wasn't clear geographically where they were. There's a shot of them riding a giant wave sideways and then it is over.
The finale owes a LOT to Miyazaki. Not too surprising, but it was like the master himself wrote the last five pages, or that Lasseter just took his favorite moments from Mononoke and Castle in the Sky and jammed them in. It adds up since the Lava Monster moves like the cursed boar from the opening of Mononoke.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 02:46:10 PM by 1SO »

Totoro

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Re: Moana
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2016, 02:49:50 AM »
Random observations:

-That ocean made things pretty convenient whenever the story demanded it.

-The way Tamatoa is animated, Jermaine Clement's voice work, that David Bowie tribute "Shiny" = One of the funniest things non-Pixar Disney has done in YEARS.

-The other favorite part was when she had the flashback to the elders traveling across the sea. "We Know the Way" should be the song that wins the Oscar. Lin's vocals = Heaven.

-"How Far I'll Go", despite being catchy, fell pretty flat for me. It's pretty much "Go the Distance" from Hercules but without as much depth of emotion. Also, I feel like the actress singing it was belting far too much, felt a little strained. Not horrible by any means though.

-"You're Welcome" was fun and catchy. The Rock can sing. Not bad either.

-I pretty much forgot the rest of the songs.

-Wish they justified Maui coming back a little more. Sure, that was bound to happen, but it seems just way too convenient after such a dark parting.

-That said, I thought the character of Maui was pretty awesome, had more layers than I expected. Loved how annoyed he was by Moana - she had to work for his approval and friendship. I wanted a bit more of his arc. I know it's pretty standard for a character to say the exact right thing at the exact right time, but in exchange, it made him a bit more shallow than I thought.

-After the thoroughly bland/boring plasticine animation in FROZEN, the work here is truly inspired, frequently gorgeous - I even gasped with joy when Tamatoa lit up in the dark.

-All things considered, this is a huge improvement over FROZEN and, amongst the three Disney animated films of the year, quite easily the best.

-But I still prefer MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA & KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS as far as 2016 animated releases go.

1SO

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Re: Moana
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2016, 09:04:06 AM »
-That ocean made things pretty convenient whenever the story demanded it.

-"How Far I'll Go", despite being catchy, fell pretty flat for me. It's pretty much "Go the Distance" from Hercules but without as much depth of emotion. Also, I feel like the actress singing it was belting far too much, felt a little strained. Not horrible by any means though.

-Wish they justified Maui coming back a little more. Sure, that was bound to happen, but it seems just way too convenient after such a dark parting.

-That said, I thought the character of Maui was pretty awesome, had more layers than I expected. Loved how annoyed he was by Moana - she had to work for his approval and friendship. I wanted a bit more of his arc. I know it's pretty standard for a character to say the exact right thing at the exact right time, but in exchange, it made him a bit more shallow than I thought.
Agree about all this. It's interesting how much of Gaston is in the character of Maui - His sidekick is essentially himself - but it's adjusted enough so that this is part of what makes him likable.


-The way Tamatoa is animated, Jermaine Clement's voice work, that David Bowie tribute "Shiny" = One of the funniest things non-Pixar Disney has done in YEARS.
A sharp difference of opinion. The animation on Tamatoa is a pale re-tread of Dr. Facilier working his voodoo at the end of "Friends On the Other Side", which may be why I didn't like it here. The character and even the song is fine as a Flight of the Conchords moment, but the scene comes in from another studio. It doesn't elevate Moana, it pulls away from it.

The way the song and style of music come from out of nowhere also reminds me of Chris Cooper rapping in The Muppets - songs by Bret Mckenzie - but again, the meta-film acknowledges what a strange gear change that is so it works within the film. Going to be interesting to read other opinions on this.

BTW, "One of the funniest things non-Pixar Disney has done in YEARS." I would put that label on Shark Head. I love that the joke is made, but they keep it going through the entire scene

(Also funnier than Jermaine Clement's voice work, Idris Elba as a walrus.)


-The other favorite part was when she had the flashback to the elders traveling across the sea. "We Know the Way" should be the song that wins the Oscar. Lin's vocals = Heaven.
I was so disappointed to realize Lin's part was only a guest vocal cameo. And don't you agree this should've been the opening song? Also, should've been longer.


-"You're Welcome" was fun and catchy. The Rock can sing. Not bad either.
Still stuck in my head. I had a moment where I thought, "The Rock is going to sing?" but he puts his energy into it and it makes Maui to this film what The Genie is to Aladdin.


-After the thoroughly bland/boring plasticine animation in FROZEN, the work here is truly inspired, frequently gorgeous - I even gasped with joy when Tamatoa lit up in the dark.
Musker and Clements are great at mixing animation styles, and I'm happy to see them still doing it with computers. Though story-wise they're right down Disney's middle, they guide the animators to moments of great artistry. That said, I think Zootopia is the better film this year.

There's one animation element that's more of a problem here, it's the skin texture. I get that Disney wants the films to still look animated and not fall into the uncanny valley, but because there's more skin here, you notice how plastic the humans look. But hey, the big eyes didn't bother me as much as usual.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 09:22:03 AM by 1SO »

Totoro

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Re: Moana
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2016, 05:16:13 PM »
Yeah, I think Disney hit a wall with TANGLED as far as human character models go. All the human characters feel like variations on that, except, maybe WRECK-IT RALPH? I wish they continued the route WRECK-IT RALPH went, pushing the stylization of characters rather than the graphics. I don't know what it is exactly - is it the really the skin? I guess so. I think they personally should experiment with character sizes more. I liked how big and curvy Maui was. I feel like they could definitely be doing more with the style.

I thought "We Know the Way" was implemented great, fit with the narrative quite well. I damn near teared up. It's kind of like HERCULES meeting Zeus moment (actually, this film has a LOT in common with HERCULES now that I think of it). Yes, I wish it was longer.

"Friends on the Other Side" is terrific, I found this to be a comedic retread of it, though even then, I feel "Friends on the Other Side" is more of a "Be Prepared" or "Poor Unfortunate Souls" song because it's a "I want/I can provide" song for the villain. "Shiny", yes, I will admit, doesn't have much of a point plot-wise (other than detailing Maui's plight which was... slight), but I still had a blast with it... Then again, the hook was kind of a dumb macguffin since it can be destroyed (???) like, WHAT?! Eh, it hurts the story more than anything. I CONCEDE TO YOUR POINT.  ;D (But not Idris Elba over Jermaine Clement.)

I didn't care much for Shark Head. Different strokes.

1SO

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Re: Moana
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2016, 05:42:59 PM »
Even as I wrote "Shark Head" I thought, maybe it was just me. Not everyone is going to find Shark Head as funny as I did, but I loved that they wouldn't walk away from it. I CONCEDE to you on Shark Head.

Zootopia > Moana > Finding Dory

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Re: Moana
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 11:01:00 PM »
This film reminded me of Hercules in a number of ways, obviously both are heroes journeys where the central character is kind of way more generic and less compelling than the cast around them, but in both films I found plenty to relate to each titular character (probably because of how they are written to be generic and easily recognizable archetypes), and the general structure has each going from trial to trial until the final confrontation where you have to look inside yourself to become the hero you always knew you were. One could even relate the crab sequence to the hydra fight, I would think, and I actually really liked the blend of animation styles.

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Re: Moana
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2016, 06:37:27 AM »
I hate Tamatoa the giant crab and as much as I think the world needs more Glam Rock, his song "Shiny" is terrible. Jemaine Clement is the right casting choice for playing a Glam Rock crab, but the sequence adds nothing to the film but padding. Even the trippy animation is unfortunate, and these are the directors who did the great "Friends on the Other Side". The soundtrack doesn't officially list who's responsible for the music and lyrics, leaving me to wonder if Bret Mckenzie was involved at one point.

The coconut monsters were mostly Fury Road, but the moment where one of them accidentally gets hit with a blow dart and it cuts to three of them, one of whom pretends to hide his dart gun is pure Minions. I really hate Minions.

This so much. I hate the crab and his entire sequence too and I totally saw Mad Max there.

I like Minions though. And am meh on Friends on the Other Side.
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Moana
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2016, 06:38:27 AM »
This film reminded me of Hercules in a number of ways, obviously both are heroes journeys where the central character is kind of way more generic and less compelling than the cast around them, but in both films I found plenty to relate to each titular character (probably because of how they are written to be generic and easily recognizable archetypes), and the general structure has each going from trial to trial until the final confrontation where you have to look inside yourself to become the hero you always knew you were. One could even relate the crab sequence to the hydra fight, I would think, and I actually really liked the blend of animation styles.

What reminded me most of Hercules were the tattoos, whose animation was reminiscent of the Greek amphorae.
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Teproc

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Re: Moana
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2016, 06:43:28 AM »
I liked it all. Was skeptic about the crab and the song, but it ended up working, thanks to the quality of the animation... but then I haven't seen Princess and the Frog, so I couldn't compare it to that. Not the best part, but pretty good.

The Minions Pirates were fine, I guess they're the most forgettable thing about the film but it was a fun sequence in the moment.

"You're Welcome" is stuck in my head and I love it.

One weird thing is that Moana dreams about her island getting destroyed just before the whole crab thing and that... goes nowhere. I thought there might be some conflict between her journey and the need to help her people, or that it was some kind of prophetic dream and they'd have to go back to the island afterwards... but nope, and it isn't even brought up again ? Weird.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2016, 06:45:13 AM by Teproc »

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Re: Moana
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2016, 06:51:17 AM »
Is the main character called Moana in the US version of the movie ? I watched it in English and the title was Vaiana, which turned out to be what everyone called her. The word Moana did not make a single appearance. I am perplexed.

-That ocean made things pretty convenient whenever the story demanded it.

-"How Far I'll Go", despite being catchy, fell pretty flat for me. It's pretty much "Go the Distance" from Hercules but without as much depth of emotion. Also, I feel like the actress singing it was belting far too much, felt a little strained. Not horrible by any means though.

-Wish they justified Maui coming back a little more. Sure, that was bound to happen, but it seems just way too convenient after such a dark parting.

-That said, I thought the character of Maui was pretty awesome, had more layers than I expected. Loved how annoyed he was by Moana - she had to work for his approval and friendship. I wanted a bit more of his arc. I know it's pretty standard for a character to say the exact right thing at the exact right time, but in exchange, it made him a bit more shallow than I thought.
Agree about all this. It's interesting how much of Gaston is in the character of Maui - His sidekick is essentially himself - but it's adjusted enough so that this is part of what makes him likable.


-The way Tamatoa is animated, Jermaine Clement's voice work, that David Bowie tribute "Shiny" = One of the funniest things non-Pixar Disney has done in YEARS.
A sharp difference of opinion. The animation on Tamatoa is a pale re-tread of Dr. Facilier working his voodoo at the end of "Friends On the Other Side", which may be why I didn't like it here. The character and even the song is fine as a Flight of the Conchords moment, but the scene comes in from another studio. It doesn't elevate Moana, it pulls away from it.

The way the song and style of music come from out of nowhere also reminds me of Chris Cooper rapping in The Muppets - songs by Bret Mckenzie - but again, the meta-film acknowledges what a strange gear change that is so it works within the film. Going to be interesting to read other opinions on this.

BTW, "One of the funniest things non-Pixar Disney has done in YEARS." I would put that label on Shark Head. I love that the joke is made, but they keep it going through the entire scene

(Also funnier than Jermaine Clement's voice work, Idris Elba as a walrus.)


-The other favorite part was when she had the flashback to the elders traveling across the sea. "We Know the Way" should be the song that wins the Oscar. Lin's vocals = Heaven.
I was so disappointed to realize Lin's part was only a guest vocal cameo. And don't you agree this should've been the opening song? Also, should've been longer.


-"You're Welcome" was fun and catchy. The Rock can sing. Not bad either.
Still stuck in my head. I had a moment where I thought, "The Rock is going to sing?" but he puts his energy into it and it makes Maui to this film what The Genie is to Aladdin.


-After the thoroughly bland/boring plasticine animation in FROZEN, the work here is truly inspired, frequently gorgeous - I even gasped with joy when Tamatoa lit up in the dark.
Musker and Clements are great at mixing animation styles, and I'm happy to see them still doing it with computers. Though story-wise they're right down Disney's middle, they guide the animators to moments of great artistry. That said, I think Zootopia is the better film this year.

There's one animation element that's more of a problem here, it's the skin texture. I get that Disney wants the films to still look animated and not fall into the uncanny valley, but because there's more skin here, you notice how plastic the humans look. But hey, the big eyes didn't bother me as much as usual.

The Ancestors' song was great and I could have used more of it.

I did not recognise The Rock in Maui but his voice work was great. The character is pretty good and gives life to the movie that makes it much more entertaining. I could have used a scene of him deciding to come back but perhaps that would have felt too obligatory. The tattoo sidekick gimmick is fun at first but much too overused in the movie. His You're Welcome song is second only to the Ancestors' and fantastic.

The movie would have been better with more songs, more lyrics by Miranda, and more of his singing. Perhaps even a full character.

I will repeat these and other points in my review.
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