a little Moana (2016) Review

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Growing up I was always enamoured by the aesthetic and art of Lilo and Stitch, there was never a Disney film quite like it. Lilo and Nani stood out as characters with their unique beauty and personalities. Admittedly a flaw of Disney female characters is they do tend to conform to western beauty standards of thin, hourglass figure with skin as pale as winter snow (no offence, Snow White!). The lovely Nani in Lilo and Stitch was definitely a good turn in direction for female character design and one of the first things I fell in love with in Moana was the character design because it brought me back to how much I adored Lilo and Stitch.

The list of what I loved in Moana is exceedingly long, and I imagine if I was to see it again I would find more and more little details that I absolutely adore. Moana’s character design for a start was gorgeous and she has definitely hit top spot of favourite female characters. She has so much personality and curiosity. Right from the start when ‘crazy grandma’ – Grandma Tala is telling the young babies of Motunui the story of demigod Maui and the heart of Te Fiti, you instantly spot Moana’s unique charm as she is the adorable baby sat at the front taking everything in with intrigue. The beginning sequence of baby Moana wandering off on her own and looking after the little turtle back to shore made me fall in love with her as a character. Boy, do I want a kid with that kind of adoration for her environment. I was literally squee-ing into my hands watching that whole sequence as not only was it adorable, but it made me excited to see the rest of the story. The art also put it right out there, that you could be damn sure the rest of the film was going to be stunning.

The soundtrack was an absolute dream, to be blunt. Every time a musical piece started up, a smile instantly lit up on my face. ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen might as well be forgotten and dead because ‘How Far I’ll Go’ is absolutely beautiful. I’m going to be listening it to weeks at this rate, so if you ever see me on public transport trying my best not to dramatically dance? I’m probably listening to that. Maui’s solo ‘You’re Welcome’ also brought a grin to my face, which leads me to one of the other good points of this film. I absolutely loved the Rock playing Maui, he played the character so well and really brought Maui to life. As well as Auli’i Cravalho playing Moana. It really surprised me to learn that Auli’i hasn’t been in anything else and didn’t even think of auditioning for her? I’m so glad she did because I couldn’t imagine Moana with any other voice!

The other characters stood out as well, despite Moana and Maui being the mains. I loved Moana’s grandma and thought her little parts in songs were really sweet, they even gave me goosebumps. The mascot characters were hilarious too and didn’t get old, although I would of loved to have seen more of Moana’s pet pig Pua.

Would I recommend Moana for all ages? Of course! Maybe I am biased because of my eternal love for Disney musical films and awesome female characters but I think Moana is my favourite film for 2016. It has such a good message that you should follow your dreams but not forget your roots or where you come from. I would definitely take my nieces to see it because I think they would equally fall in love with Moana and Maui. There are some parts in the underwater world thing, when Moana and Maui seek out Maui’s hook, where the ‘evil creatures’ seem quite spooky because of the ‘bioluminescence’ style colouring but aside from that the film is so amazing for both children humour and adult humour alike.

If you’re looking for a lovely film to see this weekend with your partner, family, friends or even just taking yourself to see a film, I definitely recommend Moana for a heart-warming, inspiring tale with humour and an amazing soundtrack!

Have you seen it already?

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Captain America: Civil War Review

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The other day me and my boyfriend Will had a date night and got to finally watch the long awaited first Marvel hit of the year – Captain America: Civil War. Admittedly, I hadn’t been hugely vamped up for this film as much as other Marvel fans are, however I can admit that those fans were not wrong for being excited as I absolutely loved every minute of Civil War. This post will start including important stories when I post the word ‘Spoiler’, so let’s start with the stuff everyone can hear.

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First of all, I would recommend watching the first two Captain America films before Civil War. Both films give you all of Steve Roger’s backstory so you understand his motives in this film, as well as stories of important characters Bucky Barnes, Peggy Carter and the Agents of Shield. I personally don’t think you’d need to see the first Avengers film, but the second Avengers film – Age of Ultron; would be worth watching as it introduces you to some of the characters in the film and how the character Vision becomes a thing. Another point is, much like this year’s Batman Vs Superman, I personally wouldn’t recommend taking young children to see Civil War. I work at a cinema and have been seeing parents take very young children, and it is allowed because of the 12A rating however there are some scenes that I personally think wouldn’t go past me as a kid. Considering the film is sold as a rivalry between Captain America and Iron Man, there is of course TONS of fight scenes. Although I think the part of the film I think is a bit out there for children to see, is a particular scene where the film’s antagonist tortures another villain by basically hanging him upside down and lowering him into water – the characters are obviously sold as villains and not characters to look up to, but the scene goes on for a few minutes and some parents might find it too dark for young children.

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Ok so, spoilers ahead!

The film dives straight into the action, like most Marvel films, with an awesome scene of the new Avengers, fighting in Sokovia – in the aftermath of Age of Ultron. Unfortunately in this mission, Scarlet Witch – whilst attempting to protect Captain America from a grenade – destroys a building full of innocent people. This whole scene is the leading impetus for the whole film. From this the government declares a United Nations deal to the Avengers which tells them they should sign the deal, make the government aware of their alias and publicly take responsibility for damage that is made. Captain is against this deal, however Tony Stark is very much for it after hearing a woman’s story of how her ambitious, intelligent son was killed in the destruction of the building in Sokovia. Another thing the film lets us see is, the backstory of Tony Stark’s parents. The last time young Tony saw his parents they were going away to travel but apparently never even made it to the airport. It is later then revealed that a Hydra assassin (ooh, I wonder who), stalked down and murdered the Starks in cold blood, to steal a container of super serum from the back of Stark’s car. I very much enjoyed seeing Iron Man’s motives behind why he is very much for the United Nations deal, as I really enjoy Tony Stark as a character. I think he has a lot of personality and I like how in the Iron Man films and Age of Ultron it shows us Tony’s anxiety and PTSD. He’s a complex character and I’m glad the film gave us the reasons behind his choices because I was worried it wouldn’t be obvious and it’d just be seen as ‘Iron Man being a bit of a dick’ towards Captain America.

The film does make you realise both sides have valid points. Steve Roger’s is also in fear of the safety of his long lost friend Bucky Barnes. Bucky was basically captured by Hydra(an evil company that parallel Nazis, they are main villains in both previous Captain America films), and brainwashed heavily by them so they could use him as their assassin. He has killed a LOT of people whilst he was working as the ‘Winter Soldier’, but his childhood friend Steve Rogers was able to get through to the Bucky deep inside and this film furthers Captain America trying to save Bucky. The film shows us flashbacks to Bucky’s torture which is really heartbreaking to watch. In present day of the film Bucky is living in hiding (as they do in a Marvel film, wearing a cap because that makes them look nothing like them – apparently), but is noticeably highly anxious and nervous because of his ‘Winter Soldier’ actions. It’s quite precious to see how Bucky is slowly remembering who Steve Rogers is and how he tells Steve he doesn’t want to kill anymore.

Other characters that pop up in the film include Black Panther, Spiderman and Antman. I actually haven’t got round to watching last year’s Antman but this film definitely sold him to me. Paul Rudd has so much wit and charm, his introductory scene in the film made me laugh and how he acted meeting the Captain. Black Panther and Spiderman are the main new additions to this film and definitely stole the show. Black Panther was a brilliant character and has made me so excited to watch his stand alone film because I think his independent story will be super interesting. He also has a scene at the end with the antagonist of the film, where he stops the villain from shooting himself and getting out of this. It’s very badass and unexpected and I think it fits T’Challa’s character so well. T’Challa is played amazingly by Chadwick Boseman who gives the character a lot of emotion and he is the character on Iron Man’s side you really cheer on because he is trying to avenge his father. Spiderman is also new, because this is Marvel’s new spiderman. He is the perfect Spiderman with his cocky, chatty personality and I loved his interactions with Tony Stark and his interactions on the battlefield. I also long for future scenes between him and Captain America, because despite them being on different sides of the ‘war’, they had quite an amusing moment when fighting and I am impressed by Spiderman’s moves that actually managed to stagger Steve pretty well.

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Some other stand out points of this film to me included:

  • Black Widow is back like I wanted her. Age of Ultron did Black Widow’s character terribly, in my honest opinion compared to her character in Winter Soldier. In Civil War she is full of badass moves and is strong and amazing. Scarlet Witch also brings it to the table too, I love all the scenes with her in it – fighting or not. Elizabeth Olsen is an incredible actress and I low-key have a crush on her.
  • The Vision in everyday clothes trying to cook. Enough Said.
  • Bucky’s ‘activation’ brainwash words are very intriguing. Are they code for something? Or just random words? I wonder if this’ll be cleared up later on in other films.
  • Where is Nick Fury.
  • A lovely send off for Peggy Carter that got me teary-eyed. As soon as Steve receives the text saying ‘she’s passed in her sleep’, it instantly hit me who it was about and I inaudibly mouthed ‘no Peggy my baby’ in the cinema.
  • Let’s talk about that amazing chase scene between Captain America, Bucky, Falcon, Black Panther and the police. My favourite part of that was when Bucky stole that motorcycle. The intense cinematography and sound effects made it so badass.
  • The ending was a bit fast paced for me to be honest. The final stand off between Captain, Iron Man and Bucky had me on the edge of my seat and I was genuinely in fear Captain would kill Iron Man as he basically had his shield half way through the reactor in his chest. The cold hearted way Captain chucked down his shield when Tony called out saying ‘you don’t deserve that. My dad made it for you.’ was thrilling and I honestly wasn’t expecting that to be the last scene between them. However not long after it is shown Tony receiving an apology letter from Steve. It felt a bit half-arsed considering the fight that just happened but I guess they needed to wrap up fast.
  • Bucky is back in the freezer. I wasn’t expecting that either after the whole film and chase down for Bucky. Will he be awoken in Infinity War or before that? If Bucky was to get a stand alone film would that be his chance to wake up and remove more of his brainwashed side before Infinity War?
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Vision looking dapper

All in all I rate Civil War a definite 4.5/5!

Thanks for reading,

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2016 Films: Zootopia

(WARNING: Spoilers to the film will be in this post)

I’m a BIG fan of Disney films. You could tell me all the problematic things about Disney and their capitalist plans etc but honestly, when I walk into the Disney store and see the life size Stitch stuffed toys and the new Star Wars lightsabers and the mugs – oh my god the ADORABLE mugs – I just want absolutely everything.

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I didn’t catch the earlier Disney film out this year, which was The Good Dinosaur, but I made it my goal to see Zootopia (or named Zootropolis over here), as it looked so bright and bubbly. You can sense the aura of adorableness and good humour just from all the promotion and merchandise. The lead character of animated film Zootopia is a wee bunny named Judy Hopps. The film introduces Judy when she is just a young bunny and she performs with confidence in her school project discussing how prey and predators now live in peace and animals can be whatever they want. Judy announces her dreams to become a police officer and even though her parents and a bully try and put down her ideas, she doesn’t give up. You are shown a great training montage as Judy goes through Police Academy with a group of huge predators. Judy manages to use her strength to come top of her class, and honestly during this whole beginning part I was cheering her on. I fell in love with her character and the message the film was setting up. I could sense the underlying ‘adult’ message the film was trying to send off, which is that it targets bigotry in our society. Throughout the masterpiece, certain attitudes call towards the typical behaviours of sexism and racism we see in everyday life. There was tons of scenarios for characters I’m sure everybody will experience growing up and I’m glad certain scenarios can teach kids that they do not make you any weaker or different than everybody else; whether you’re female or male, white or POC.

An example, and beware spoilers, that I found interesting was Nick Wilde’s backstory. He advises Judy never let anybody see her struggle, after a small stand off with Judy and her Police superiors(who, unfortunately because of her being a small bunny, do not see her aspirations to help out on the force as seriously) which leaves Judy a bit shaken. Nick then opens up and tells her how as a kid he wanted to be part of a rangers group. A bit reminiscent of say Brownies or Scouts. It shows a young, enthusiastic Nick with his mumma fox in front of a mirror getting in his uniform and when he goes to the meeting, the other members(who are all ‘prey’ animals) turn on him and terrorize him because he is a ‘predator’. They pin him down and put a muzzle on him, which then leads baby Nick to run out into the street and break down in tears. This scene was very real and reminded me of how a lot of young boys can be bullied into these situations because kids are told all boys should not ‘show weakness’ and that crying or struggling is ‘weak’. Judy eventually warms up to Nick and together they become very close until a small hiccup where Judy publicly announces that ‘predators have a biological trait that makes them aggressive’, she groups predator animals under the term ‘them’ and this really hurts Nick because he thought Judy trusted him and believed in him.

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Obviously I won’t spoil the whole movie here but it was absolutely heartwarming when Judy finally apologized to Nick and they solved the case together and stuck by each other despite their differences and even learnt that they’d make an amazing cop duo. The whole film has small scenarios and moments that are important to both adults and children and I thought they were all very interesting and endearing. I am extremely proud of this film and honestly I recommend everyone thinking of going to see a film at the cinemas should go check it out!

Thanks for reading,

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