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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Evil coconut pirates? Check! Stupid rooster sidekick? Check! Dwayne Johnson trying to sing? Check! Sharkhead magic-mess? Check! The key ingredients for a funny story with pretty Hawaiian setting are in place, Moana does hardly set a wrong step. The songs are enjoyable if you enjoy this kind of Broadway formula, with the title character’s song “I am Moana” actually rather memorable in its theme tune-ishness. The story of the stubborn almost-princess-girl ignoring the rules and finding her true destiny is nowhere near original, but then again, what is? She is gorgeous and courageous and she defies establishment, and that’s what counts in uplifting films aimed at kids these days. The mission she has to accomplish is easy to be forgotten sometimes and fades into a McGuffin background noise, at least until she actually arrives where she is supposed to arrive and faces a Lava Monster that reminds her of what’s at stake. What stands out is one character and one song, however: The Shiny Crab is weird and creepy and amazing on a level that reminded me of “Tommy” and its age of psychedelia more than anything… do not care whether this does in any way related to the young target group, the Crab ROCKED!

And the rest of the film? Moving from set piece to set piece, some of which less exciting (finding Maui), some more (Coconut! Pirates!). The imagery can be absolutely stunning, such as when Moana sees the reflection of her ancestors as voyagers in a dream-like sequence, or when granny’s tattoo comes to life. The craftsmanship involved here is fantastic. As things are, this must be a key contender for the 2017 Oscar race, and it should be able to keep up with competing “Zootopia” and the slightly more interesting “Kubo and the Two Strings”.


The first thing to note (as it comes up at the very beginning of this yet-another-Marvel-sub-franchise) is that I love Tilda Swinton, and I love Mads Mikkelsen to pieces! Seeing either of them in the role of martial-artsy super witchmasters is, however, wrong on all levels (more wrong for Mikkelsen, for some reason, don’t ask me why). I know, it’s great to cash in on the brainless machinery that produces superhero franchises these days, but I feel very uncomfortable watching them touch this. It’s a bit like walking into your parents’ bedroom and seeing, you know… just saying… On the bright side, this is not as bad as other recent comic book adaptations, I have to say. There were some attempts at humour (albeit sometimes force-fed into the plot, see Mr Wong), there were some fun references to greater pieces of art (Groundhog Day, most notably, but also Inception’s fluent approach to city architecture and The Matrix’s, well, matrixness). I am sure diehard comic book fans felt obliged to shout hooray at the expected cameos. That whole universe with witches and wizards sitting next to the Avengers universe of superheroes, however, looks quite stale and unnecessary. While the authors made the best to set up a large parallel franchise, I do not believe there is plenty of potential to tell interesting stories. It is too generic, and the interesting cast members are now gone (one must assume). What’s left is Benedict Cumberbatch, but to be honest, if I want to see somebody wearing Littlefinger’s dress, I would much prefer this to be Aidan Gillen). Cumberbatch has been moved from interesting actor to mannered mainstream commodity, and has never been a reason for me to watch anything to begin with.

Hence: Not my piece of cake…

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