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Moana Movie Review (2016) | One of Disney’s Finest

A ravishing hoot! Moana movie is a fantastic animation that doesn’t stop at anything to give you what you came for. It’s a non-stop joyride. It bides by cool contemporary vibes when it comes to cracking up conversations, alongside weaving an ancient fanciful tale of Gods and Humans to teach us so many valuable lessons. This Disney movie delves into rhythmic notes a couple of times (music is amazing by the way), chips in classy slapstick humour, and mesmerizes you with its amazing animation. The level of detailing its animators touch is highly commendable.

Inner Workings Short Film

Even before the movie begins we get to see a beautiful short called Inner Workings directed by Leo Matsuda. It scales the story of a man named Paul whose real life decisions are marionettes to his internal organs. So there is a brain, a heart, lungs, a stomach and a bladder that steer Paul into choosing his purpose.

paul's brain in inner workings short film

The Sean Lurie short will beam you up instantly as it has that ounce of exciting humour that will crack you up. Also, Inner Workings is a gorgeous lesson per se rolled up in its jesty bits. Do pay attention!

Metaphor in Moana

The tale of Moana is quite relatable if you try to look at the figurative side of it. It’s as if watching elements of our own world take form into a tribal mythical story. It is all woven by extant human emotional conundrum, that tries to show us how some dreams are tied down by people who stop us from flying.

It also expounds how life throws rocks at you in an attempt to steer you away, but despite all the punishing atrocities we gotta learn to sway with it. Pitfalls should not be the end of your pursuit. The flick inspires you take a stand, not to be dependent on someone to get something done, rather do it yourself.

To fight for what you believe in, to chase your dreams, to keep persistently trying and to never lose hope. And it does all of that effortlessly with the help of two stunning characters created for the movie namely Maui voiced by Dwayne Johnson and Moana voiced by Auli’i Cravalho.

Plot of Moana movie (Spoilers Ahead)

Its plot being dipped in fantasy starts with Moana’s grandmother giving a backdrop to some children about the Goddess Te Fiti. The Goddess had a heart that could create life itself. It was stolen by a demigod Maui but in a fight with Te Ka, the lava monster, it had disappeared into the ocean. Moana, who was chosen by the ocean (Yes! it can high five you and stuff), was the one who discovers the pounamu stone at a quite young age. That entire sequence is so cute that it would make you want to cuddle everything in it.

still of baby Moana in Moana movie

Growing up she forgets all about the stone, and gets lost in the humdrum of a life her parents wishes for her. But then one day, confronted by Gramma Tala she finally decides to venture out in the sea. To fulfil Tala’s dying wish and also to save her tribe from a sure-shot drought, she seeks Maui the demigod asking him to restore the rock to Te Fiti’s heart. What follows is their relentless comic sojourn to achieve the one Herculean goal that would reinstate balance in their lives.

Before I forget! Watch out for that dumb rooster called HeiHei. The cock is messed up in the head.

You can pre-order Moana from here:

Music in Moana movie

Moana entails musical elements that gets mocked by at one point by Maui who says:

If you are gonna start singing, I am gonna throw up.

It goes on to show the genius of its creators. They were well aware of how some people are averse to the inclusion of too many songs, and so they were careful enough not to turn it into a musical. It doesn’t leave its fun enclave even when things seem to escalate at certain points. So, even after a song gets over, there is something funny lurking at the corner to make you smile.

“I Am Moana” sung by Rachel House and Auli’i Cravalho is one of the most powerful and inspiring songs in the movie. Followed by “How Far I’ll Go” another beautiful venture sung by the protagonist herself. “Shiny” by Jemaine Clement literally breathed a crab alive. Tamatoa will be remembered for days to come.

Beats on “We Know the Way” will have you up on your feet. It’s that gorgeous a song!  Opetaia Foa’i and Lin-Manuel Miranda together just take it up to another level.

Downsides

Moana movie was well edited and wrapped up in its remarkable story-line. Not for a second do you feel its pace deteriorating. One of the drawbacks the movie has is that it is way too much imaginative, which takes away its plausibility. You almost blurt out thinking how can a tattoo move around on a body? Or how can an Ocean have a brain of its own? Or how can an Island move? But with the touch of divine, you have to settle with the fact that anything is possible in an illusory turn of events.

The flick also, at times, feel too much rushed. When you are trying to wrap your head around one thing, it shoots past into another frame. But mind you, leaving its precursor doesn’t make it less awesome.

Also, there is always that point where someone is having a song in their mouth. And you might sometimes end up reacting like Maui, “Here we go again!” But if you try to really listen you will see its captivating charm that will wipe out any indifference.

The Final Verdict

Moana movie is everything you wish to see in an animated movie. It is non-stop fun, retains a beautiful story and has outstanding music to top everything off.

Check out the trailer of Moana here:

Pete’s Dragon Review (2016) | A Beautiful Retelling of Petes Dragon 1977

Pete’s Dragon is a beautifully revived and embellished idea that had gone lost in humdrums of life. Disney digs up a lost tale, primps, preens and touches it and lo! It turns green. Green’s a pun-wink of course.

DIRECTION OF PETE’S DRAGON

Enchanting direction! The depth of David Lowery’s direction is simply mind-boggling. His images speak of a winsome quiet, a rare calmness that allows you to feel the warmth of every scene that he tries to show. It is not rushed and retains plentiful focus. It allows you to feast on the magnificence of his settings.

He manages to whisk it beautifully with Elliott‘s, the Dragon’s puppy like demenaour. His ideas can be read through his frames, those that canter on the strides of “What would be the next possible course of action?” He does a fine blend of what is plausible and whimsical and manages to elicit a stunning feat that looks good both in imagination and theory.

PETES DRAGON CAST

Pete’s Dragon brings in the vanguard Oakes Fegley of the Fort Bliss fame, cashes in on his forever seeking eyes. He makes his character quite endearing to watch with that sad comportment he carries. We see him in that mood often throughout the movie, and the yen in his eyes to be home, the longing in his eyes as he looks up searching for Elliott, will have you feel sorry for him on numerous occasions.

still of Oakes Fegley in Petes Dragon movie

Bryce Dallas Howard’s gargantuan affairs continue as she finds herself wrapped in the totem of another reptilian movie right after she did Jurassic World last year. She plays Grace, the lady who tries to help the lost boy in the woods. Her’s is quite a relatable character something you would love to do any day – care for a child who has no whereabouts of his family or, for that to matter, life itself.

Karl Urban as Gavin brings home that nefarious element to the Dragon tale, claiming his pointless right over what he finds and captures. His is a comprehensible role, that you can put a pin to, and get along with, given the circumstances.

Wes Bentley could be found so much engaged in his acting, that you don’t find him doing much in the movie. Robert Redford as Meacham has Dragon glories to share, and his thoughtful comportment will have you listening to him just as kids listened to him in rapt attention. Oona Laurence plays Natalie quite convincingly too, and supports Pete right from the moment she finds him.

THE GREEN FRIENDLY DRAGON ELLIOTT

still of Elliott and Pete in Petes Dragon movie

Last but not the least: The Dragon Elliott. If you have a thing for dogs, you are going to fall for it instantly. Elliot’s acts are just like a dog’s, with its postural manners, playful acts, seeking eyes; everything is going to put it into a contour of an adorable puppy. Its disappearing act comes straight from the 1977 movie, which Disney decided to go with. There are sporadic moments of tranquility when the green dragon flies to show nature at its true flair to Pete. Those images leave you with a sense of contentment. Love Elliott has is unconditional. But it becomes ungainly thoughtful too.

PIECES TO WATCH OUT FOR (SPOILERS FLYING AHEAD)

If you are in the right rhythm of the movie, there are some instances there that you cannot certainly miss. Like the time Pete ends up in town only to storm away in his rare window of opportunity. You can read him well in those fleeting instances where he is cornered by a pacifying Grace, as he howls, nay, wails in pain. That yelp is meant for Elliott but gets lost in thin air. It is so impactful that it will definitely hurl you towards a whirlwind of sympathy for the poor child.

I loved the direction where the falling of Pete with a thud gets followed up brilliantly by the waking up of the Dragon. You can almost feel their connection. Also, the way the movie begins, with that abysmal tragedy that has been so beautifully shown through Pete’s perspective inside the car. The book that Pete carries “Elliott Gets Lost” literally defines his life, and stays at all times, well complemented by the surreal creature.

The fact that the dragon sneezes a bucketful of mucus instead of fire brings home that elemental twist of humour that is laughable. But he is a dragon after all, and he can only take so much. That monstrous mien in the end is aptly fit and only once, just when things begin to head south. However, Disney doesn’t fail to celebrate Elliott with all the goodies, finding its soul to forgive it in a split second.

MUSIC OF PETES DRAGON

This is where the movie truly scores as well. Not only is the score simply soothing to the ears, but it constantly puts you in a room full of jocularity. It has beautiful songs well edited. Lowery places them in right areas that accentuate the theme of Petes Dragon further. One of the most gorgeous songs that the movie retains is the Petes Dragon Song by Bonnie Prince Billy the lyrics of which you can find here: Lyrics of Dragon Song. It will make you fall for it at once. So soothing and artfully written.

DOWNSIDES OF PETE’S DRAGON

If you pay attention to the CGI of the movie, it fails to touch the levels of culmination you might have had in your head, given today’s heightened age of visual effects. Elliott appears to be more fantastical and imaginary. It doesn’t have that primal realism feel to look at, like all those successful reptilian movies in the past that had so beautifully triumphed in visuals.

still of Elliott from Petes Dragon movie

You can’t also oversee the fact 6 years in the wild, and the child still behaves in normalcy. When he finds a group of people coming, he doesn’t run away in sheer fear, also puts things under clouds of doubt. His reaction on finding new things for the first time in town doesn’t get milked enough. He comes straight from the savage world. But still doesn’t carry that bewilderment gaze whilst running and hopping over things he had forgotten all about. Things like that don’t go overlooked when perceived from a pragmatic vantage.

Screenplay of Pete’s Dragon goes to and fro. At times drops us brilliant lines, then most of the times lets its characters speak from their eyes.

PLOT SHORTCOMINGS

Another downside stays with the plot of Pete’s Dragon. It is something you have been constantly fed when a misunderstood beast story is considered. So you see every bit coming. Pete’s Tale is a clichéd story likes of which we had already seen in the form of The Good Dinosaur that Pixar did last year.

But you can’t shake off its backdrop either. It is very plausible which makes it an interesting fiction. It is quite remarkable how every open end in its story gets conjoined.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Pete’s Dragon is a spectacular retelling of the tale that saw the light for the first time in 1977. It doesn’t go dark being a Disney movie, but subtly skips through that part (in the beginning). Petes Dragon incessantly capers around the happy theme that it intends to walk on. Of course, Lowery’s direction makes it all the way better.

If you don’t delve into the clichéd side of it, you are going to love every bit of it. If you are a kid, there is nothing in the world you would want than being bestowed upon a friendly dragon for a pup.

Petes Dragon carries a stunning amiable tone that is outright perfect for your kid. It goes without saying, it is great for the fanciful whims that lurk inside you. A highly recommended movie for everybody.

Check out the trailer of Pete’s Dragon here:

Alice Through the Looking Glass Review (2016)

Surprisingly good!

If Lewis Carroll would have been alive today he would have given a nod to Alice Through the Looking Glass. Of course not for the reason that they totally changed his book and messed with every single detail to weave something different altogether, but for the mere fact that it is brimming up with an equal fanciful inclination and zeal that Carroll shared.

THE CONCEPT OF TIME

Alice Through the Looking Glass personifies ‘Time’ which is both poetic and enigmatic as Alice embarks on a journey to bring Hatter back to life. Time’s depiction is downright extraordinary and aced superbly by Sacha Baron Cohen. The blue tinge in his eyes and his animated mechanical body help him lip a fantastic creation.

“Time is a thief, and a villain.”

There are a lot of time references that have been brilliantly thought of and executed nicely. Watch out for that bit when Time is made fun of by Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Thackery, Mallymkun and the rest. The movie packs in the concept of toying with timelines, which happens to be one of my favourite fancies. Unfortunately they fail to make it palpable.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS REVIVING CHARACTERS

You get to hear the voice of Alan Rickman as Absolem which was endearing per se as if he sprang up back from the dead. It was ephemeral but it makes you think of him which was really pleasant. Mia Wasikowska is as outstanding as she was in the prequel. So was Helena Bonham Carter as Iracebeth. Her rampaging confidence is a joy to watch. Also, Andrew Scott has a short cameo, that was actually quite satisfying.

Screenplay is kind of a beautiful literary affair, and will keep you interested throughout. Visually it is gripping. The plot oscillates a little betwixt the real and the virtual but finds a firm grip in both the worlds. Well thought of, I must say. It isn’t really that dark and grim as Tim Burton’s style of movie-making is. But it is still fun.

CURIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD:

The thing that seemed a little out of place in Alice Through the Looking Glass was the huge plot punch on which the whole movie was based upon. If you look at it closely you wonder Alice goes to all that trouble just to make Hatter, who is already mad, happy? Is that it? To answer that you must think from Alice’s perspective. It is this whimsical world she tries to fit in, and petty things that entail in it that matter to her the most. If one was to weave a story out of her life, it would always surround tales with such quaint things, things that matter to Alice, if not to you. Well, if you can’t digest that, a simple – “Hatter was going to die with gloom” should do it.

OTHER DOWNSIDES

Alice Through the Looking Glass isn’t really that serious when trying to skip alongside the time component that it so profusely tries to milk. It will flabbergast you beyond limit, vex you if you try to connect the dots, and elude you as you try to reason with it. At the end of the flick you realize it’s Disney after all. What do you expect?

Eventually, you wonder if Alice Through the Looking Glass even came close to how Lewis had intended his book to be, but to be honest there are more creative juices at play in today’s fantasy scenario. The world is constantly growing. We improvise, don’t we?

The Good Dinosaur Review (2015)

“You are me, and more.”

The Good Dinosaur is an endearing speculation on a winsome possibility.

Disney and Pixar have been bringing the inanimate alive ever since they showed up in the animation arena. Their powerful CGI, splendid landscapes, heartwarming music, top-notch touching plots that complement their melting frames can hardly go unnoticed. It is as if you can feel the reality paint the big screen with their gorgeous animation. The Good Dinosaur is no different except you wish there was more to the story.

Even before the movie begins, we feast on a lovely short called “Sanjay’s Super Team”. It glorifies a subdued Indian animator Sanjay Patel which was a first in the animation world. The story of the short rotates around his childhood shenanigans with a mythical backdrop to it. The gist of the tale is captivating and you almost begin to wonder if children should ever be deprived of a fantastical world they live in.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

The Good Dinosaur score slithers in the background with a brilliant fusion that is downright riveting. The movie begins with the genius of an Apatosaurus family, keeping in mind the what-if-the-meteor-had-never-hit-us circumstance and focuses on how they are trying to earn their livelihood whilst attempting to leave their marks by being good at things.

Arlo is the most relatable creature, a protagonist trying to overcome his fears, whilst endeavouring to leave his mark too. A tragedy befalls him, a shattering one that breaks him to pieces, and flings his life into chaos. He meets an accident, gets lost amidst all the confusion and ends up in a foreign land. About the same time he meets one of the most adorable creatures, Spot, who is like a rabid-human who has lost his family and is wandering at large. Arlo befriends him in a quest to reach home and find his mark doing good to his friend.

The first thing that blows your mind away almost instantly is the level of imagination the creators have. Then you perceive how much work they have put into making their fantasy a reality. The level of details they incorporate whilst making a movie is really commendable. You can see every droplet move, crops dance, animals react and watch water come alive. They make the inanimate breathe, which is simply out of the world. True creators they are!

If you look at the plot, there is really not much to it. The movie being about the dino-era finds similar species to keep you entertained. Story and sub-plots seem to have been built deliberately and almost seem clichéd. The cute, snappy and slapstick humour of the flick however will constantly engage you in fits of laughter. Arlo and Spot are just adorable.

The movie like every other Pixar movie is a lesson per se with brilliant thoughtful liners that escape from the mouths of different creatures. Screenplay is well written, at times however you wish there was more substance to it.

A delightful movie about a thoughtful wonderful what-if!

Tomorrowland Review (2015)

Bird soars!

Disney’s fast paced sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland is an entertaining package. With a great fantastical story in its vanguard, the flick unfurls into a beauty thanks to powerful performances by Clooney, Hugh Laurie and the brilliant Britt Robertson. What constantly gallops the story is its mystery quotient that unfolds gorgeously with luster, amazement and pizzazz. Britt lets you see everything with her eyes of awe as you sit on her saddle to perceive the beauty of an unseen futuristic world that is not only downright advanced but marvelous too.

Tomorrowland is something we have always dreamt of. A place where limits of the mundane don’t bind us. We are free to choose our profession and use ideas to build something beautiful without inhibitions from stuff that bring us down – malice, regulations and confinements.

As a kid, I have always wanted to split open the world’s mystery and walk, with open arms, into the magical dimension of what-ifs. The possibility of the existence of different dimensions in our own has always beamed me up. The part that follows Britt discovering the pin that shows her Tomorrowland is an excellent reflection of our childhood fantasies. How many times have I dreamt of finding something that took me away from all this! Also the frames that follow Britt literally globe-trotting to see the future are visually majestic.

This movie skims the surface of dimensions, portals, and time travel subtly, without prodding into it like pros. This could be counted as a con to the movie. However, it being a Disney flick the specifics can be overlooked. Also, at times you feel the profundity factor missing from the movie, but not for once does the cast drop its guard. Excellent performances I would say buffed up everything, not to mention the concept that keeps you riveted.

Kabooms happening in the middle of the light and the crowd not caring, people disappearing without people noticing, not capturing the world’s reactions are some of the instants that would make you think out loud, “Really?” The dark is completely absent from the movie. There is no time where people sit and brood for a while about the happenings. Even the animation sometimes looks…well really animated. But that was the kind of movie it was supposed to be. A Disney movie!

Screenplay is great, with the majority of the melodrama brought in to play by the animate Athena, and Frank taking things up from there. Hugh Laurie as Nix is exceptional with his villainy touch. His reflection on mankind’s recklessness was really something.

Overall a good movie! Worth a watch!

Cinderella Review (2015)

What a beautiful and enchanting movie!

Haven’t we all grown up hearing this gorgeous alluring fairy tale of Cinderella? So much that we know it by heart. Even today if someone rushes in promising to narrate the tale in his own words, we are still willing to fill up the screen with impatient eyes. Kenneth does no different. He takes this fascinating story of a poor creature and lets it thrive on its own narration. All he does is add a flower hither and thither to elevate the grandeur of an already great tale, and he doesn’t lag behind in imparting pizzazz.

Just like any brilliant Diegesis, Cinderella runs with a narrative. The voice over is well complemented by an apt drama wore superbly by great actors like Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Stellan Skarsgard. Lily James does justice to Cinderella but at times I did feel like something amiss, probably a much needed intensity to her character. Little bit of humour keeps the story upbeat. Helena does a Depp here as the Fairy Godmother. The clichéd bit she pounds on becomes abrupt for a while, and it seemed for a moment thereon the movie was headed towards a disaster, but boy does everything hold up nice! We don’t return to magic again and it becomes perfectly digestible after that.

What I really liked about Kenneth’s direction was that he didn’t take away the magic bit and let it breathe like a fairy tale. If you throw in some rationality into the filmmaking equation, the flick wouldn’t be what it set out to become in the first place. There are moral values strewn all across the movie like Gus Gus giving up on his favorite thing, a thing about kindness and courage, and despite every cruelty shown eventually Ella forgiving her stepmother. It all just seems so morally right and meaningful.

There is nothing dark here though. Just a great movie for kids, teenagers, people who want to watch a nice pleasant film for a change and of course for those who love happy endings. Brannagh’s love for the classics is worth praising. Just wish him all the best for his future endeavours. On a GOT note, Robb Stark looks alive and really dashing 😉

Disney plays Frozen Fever before the movie and it was downright adorable. Watch out for those Snowgies! We have yet another bunch of Olaf minions in the making. Oooh I am so excited!