Saturday, April 22, 2017

Phil sees MOANA in 2D from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures - April 22, 2017

Family movies are often referred to kids movies due to the fact that they're aimed specifically for kids. While that's a generic definition of that, it's whole heartily false. As a forty-something adult, I enjoy in what they bring. They're extremely fun to watch, have interesting characters, are set is some fantastic world and lastly, more importantly, they remind us that life is magical and anything is possible. It's the inner child in every adult that begs to be let out once in a while, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I feel it's a healthy expression. Case in point, my recent viewing of the new Disney movie MOANA, which is one of their best films in a long time.

The film's official synopsis: Moana Waialiki is a sea voyaging enthusiast and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators. When her island's fishermen can't catch any fish and the crops fail, she learns that the demigod Maui caused the blight by stealing the heart of the goddess, Te Fiti. The only way to heal the island is to persuade Maui to return Te Fiti's heart, so Moana sets off on an epic journey across the Pacific. The film is based on stories from Polynesian mythology.

You can always count on Disney to bring in the fun with their characters. Voice over actress Auli'i Cravalho is perfect as our heroine and adventurer Moana. She brings strength, naivety, self assurance and that spirit of adventure to her character. The man himself Mr. Dwayne Johnson brings the laughter and fun as Maui, the mystical God who teams up with Moana to fulfill her quest. Now I have to admit that Johnson has become one of my favorite actors in Hollywood right now. Mainly because he's really good actor. And by doing voice over work for this movie, ot proves that he's a very talented individual. Guiding Moana on her journey is Gramma Tala, voiced by the talented  Rachel House. If you don't know her name yet, you better get acquainted with her work. She's been several amazing films like WHALE RIDER, EAGLE VS. SHARK and has appeared in television shows like Hope and Wire, Soul Mates and the Wolf Creek mini series.

What I really enjoyed about the movie is that it takes us back to when were we younger; to a time when were optimistic, full of life, always looking for adventure and not being scared of it because it sounded like fun to us. Now that I'm older, I don't feel as adventurous because I'm now wiser, smarter and I don't feel like I have the time or energy to do anything (yes kids, getting old does suck). But I can still remember what those emotions feel like, and at times it makes me feel young again. That's what's fun about kids movies: they make you feel young. And there's nothing wrong with that!

The other factor I enjoyed was that it touches upon adult themes; such as responsibility, destiny, life and death. However it's told in a way that children can understand. These are very important life lessons to learn, even though we wish we could ignore them. Unfortunately, we cannot and therefore, it's a part of life that we must accept. That's also what I enjoy about kids movies; there's a lot of life lessons that are shown throughout the frames of the movie and that's a smart thing to address.

Directors John Musker and Ron Clements did several months of research for the film. They immersed themselves in the Polynesian culture and mythology of the its people. They really tried to make the film respectful to the culture and I think they did a damn good job. So two big thumbs up to Musker and Clements on a job well done. And on a side note, this is the first Polynesian-themed Disney animated feature film since 2002's LILO & STITCH. About damn time we got another Polynesian movie Disney! What took you so damn long, huh?

MOANA is a superior family film that will be watched for generations to come! It full of laughs, adventure, fun and once again shows that with a little bit of self-confidence, there's nothing we can't do! So kids, I say to you all is this: Go out there and make this world a better place! And make sure your folks take you to see this movie!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

MOANA is still playing in selected theaters nationwide. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you. The movie is also available on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as digital download, on demand, iTunes and other streaming services.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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