Disney movie review: Moana

I could have just used Ken Levine’s review and edited it down.

The family attended a Sunday matinee of the new Disney movie Moana.  It was showing several places, but we will always opt for our favored venue, the Spectrum 8 in Albany.

I noted that it reviewed well. After I saw it, I was struggling with my feelings about it. I’ve pushed back against the reductivist that all the Disney princesses are, ethnicity aside, largely clones of each other.

The good:
This movie, fortunately, avoided even a hint of romance
Use of an original tale from Polynesian mythology
The opening, which I found fascinating
A very specific bit of girl power/rebellion that I rather enjoyed
Some funny coconut villains, although they reminded me of certain little characters in a Star Wars movie
A couple of good songs, including one by a villain, called Shiny – I LOVE the Disney villain songs – and You’re Welcome sung by The Rock Dwayne Johnson as the demigod Maui, who is not bad in the role
Maui’s tattoos, which may be my favorite character
The post-credit scene was funny

The not-so-good:
Why do the two main characters, both have names that start with M, Moana, and Maui? Maybe it’s authentic, but it was confusing to some
Someone has studied just how alike almost all of the Disney princesses are, the girl in Brave excepted, with the same large eyes
The character that dies (doesn’t that ALWAYS happen?) reminds me of that wise tree in Pocahontas
A stupid animal that specifically reminded me of the none-too-bright creature in Finding Dory
Most of the other songs, co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, were OK, but I don’t much remember them – here they are
The story resolution reminded me of another Disney short

Actually, I could have just used Ken Levine’s review and edited it down.

Auli’i Cravalho is quite good as Moana, and the other voice actors were fine. It looks good like a decent Disney movie should, and maybe I shouldn’t state that as a given. In fact, the water scenes look GREAT.

But this is the most damning bit: The Daughter asked The Wife to check the time. I told The Wife that I thought the movie was nice but inessential, and she agreed.

If you’ve never seen a Disney film, you will be in awe of this. If you have seen several, and I have, you’ll likely enjoy it well enough, even as you may have a sense of deja vu. Or maybe, like SamuraiFrog, you’ll really enjoy it.

The preceding seven-minute short, Inner Workings, addresses how the body parts – the heart, the stomach – rebel against the responsible man’s brain. Man just wants to have fun v. do the responsible thing.

It reminded me a little of Inside Out with its internal struggle. It was pleasant, but I wasn’t drawn in as much as other Disney shorts. I liked it well enough, especially the ending, which actually happens in the closing credits. Here’s the Inner Workings trailer.

Right on! for the genericized noun

They are not capitalizing Coke because, in part of the country, coke could be a 7-Up or “diet dr. pepper.”

wordbrandsThis newspaper writer I’ve met notes: “MS Word kept capitalizing ‘laundromat.’ I checked, and Webster’s agrees. Westinghouse copyrighted it back in 1947. But. . . . really?” This led to this interesting discussion about all the words that, once upon a time, were capitalized because they were brand names but are not now:

App Store, Aspirin, Catseye, Cellophane, Dopp kit [I had to look this up, even though I’ve had one!], Dry ice, Escalator, Heroin, Kerosene, Lanolin, Linoleum, Mimeograph, Primal Therapy, Thermos, Touch-tone, Videotape, Yo-Yo, and Zipper.

And Dumpster. I mean, what else would you CALL that thing? According to this article: “The alternatives recommended by AP (‘trash bin’ and ‘trash container’) are too vague. And the Times definition (‘trash hauling bin’) is too clunky.” I totally agree. So you’re SUPPOSED to Capitalize it, according to the style books, but almost no one does, except spellcheckers. As someone noted about the Dumpster people, “They really got the hold on it. my goal in life is to invent a thing that’s way more popularly known by what I named it than by what it is.”

And the correspondents seemed to get feisty on this branding topic: not capitalizing Kleenex, or Xerox, or Coke because, in part of the country, coke could be a 7-Up or “diet dr. pepper.” Of course, you always have to worry about autocorrect.

You know who gets REALLY fussy about these: The National Association of Realtors. It’s their members who are known as Realtors, and if you are listing houses in the US, and don’t belong to the association, you are NOT a Realtor.

BoingBoing complained about the irritating mid-word capitalization of brand names such as ProQuest or iPhone and PayPal; I would describe that annoying incaps trend, stealing the phrase, as corporate graffiti.

But I draw the line at the lower case for initialization such as ZIP code; ZIP means Zone Improvement Plan.
Logos’ hidden images.

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