Friday, June 30, 2017

3 Short Paragraphs: Moana

2016, Ron Clements & John Musker (Aladdin, Treasure Planet) -- download/Netflix

A co-worker has an animated GIF of Maui yelling "You're Welcome!", which he tosses at me every time I thank him for doing a good job. He knows it will spin off the song as an earworm in my head for the rest of the day. But thankgawds, something came along to replace "Let It Go" in the collective lexicon. Maui's song is bloody catchy, and I love the segment it is used in, as he dances around Moana explaining just how great he is, in a weird 3D animated on top of retro 2D animation backgrounds scene that harkens back to humans being green-screened onto animation. Brilliant.

P.S. The coworker regularly does good work.

I love this movie. It's not a Disney princess movie, and yet it is, despite Moana's protestations. She may be the chieftain's daughter but she ain't no princess. And she doesn't need any rescuing. Moana sees the plight of her people and heads into the open sea to seek the aid of demi-god Maui, to return the heart of Te Fiti, the island goddess from whom he stole. So, a guy was a jerk and its going to take a teenage girl to fix it. Good message.

But the message is not what makes this movie so charming. The two leads do. Auli'i Cravalho is incredible, her voice acting not only spot on, her little giggles and shocked sounds so genuine, but she lives the character. She is the character. Meanwhile Maui is a massive, super-deformed demi-god version of a person, bigger than life and played perfectly by The Rock.  Dwayne plays both cherubic and heroic perfectly. And doesn't sing half bad either. The movie is about how these two play off each other, how a teenage girl influences and eventually surpasses a hundreds of years old demi-god. That is what faeries tales should always be about.