Moana

Vampire Owl: I have heard that the name Moana means ocean.

Vampire Bat: This movie is all about ocean.

Vampire Owl: I have even heard that Moana is a Polynesian sea god.

Vampire Bat: What do you know about sea gods?

Vampire Owl: They do not interest me. I am no person of the sea.

Vampire Bat: But we will watch this Oscar nominated movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, this is also for The Rock. I am looking forward to what he is cooking again.

Vampire Bat: He cooks really well, as we have seen in Hercules and The Fast and the Furious series.

Vampire Owl: Lets see if this one is worth the Vampire Oscars.

Vampire Bat: I am already prepared to nominate this one.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with sweet puffs].

What is the movie about? :: The famous demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) steals the heart of the island goddess Te Fiti, which seems to be the key to all life. But he is attacked on the way by a lava demon Te Ka, resulting in him losing his magical fish hook which gives him his powers, and the same also leaves him stranded at an unknown location. This is how the legend goes, and for the Polynesian island of Motunui, this is a common tale that the children are told. They are also forbidden from going beyond a certain point into the sea. Tui (Temuera Morrison), the chief of the island has the opinion that the island has all that they need, and that they should stick to the land. Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), the daughter of the chief is someone who really wants to explore, but she is also prevented from doing the same.

So, what happens next? :: Soon, the food becomes scarce, as the landscape seems to be dying. There is almost no good fruit to eat, and not much of fish to be caught. Still, sailing beyond the reef remains an act prevented from happening. But Moana’s grandmother Tala (Rachel House), who is supposed to be just a crazy old woman, leads her to a secret cave which shows them that they used to be explorers who traveled through the sea to find new islands. After Maui stole the heart of Te Fiti, the journeys had stopped though, with monsters wandering around the ocean. With Te Ka’s lava and ashes spreading through the islands, there is only one hope – to get the heart to where it really belongs, with the help of Maui. Can she find and persuade the demigod in time to save the islands from the darkness that is spreading?

The defence of Moana :: The big advantage of this movie is that how well it connects and works for both children and the adults. It is the main characters that steal the show in this movie too, with Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson creating the big impact – the latter is a lot funny, closely followed only by the pet that gets into the boat with Moana. The bond between the two leading characters is emotional as well as cute, as you will notice right from the first time they meet. Moana is surely one or more steps ahead of the other animated characters of the same type. The movie nicely uses the Polynesian myth, and it is great to see more and more gods who are parts of different culture, especially those rather unknown. The songs are interesting, just like the simple heroine who keeps making an impact along with her partner in sailing. All the characters and the world look really nice.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing that is entirely new about its tale though, and with its source in the myth, we see the heroine who goes beyond the limitations that are imposed on her. The movie could have also used its beautiful world to an even better effect – we know that we love this world, and it is certain that we need more of it. After all, the scope is limitless with a world full of islands awaiting exploration. The message could have also been even more direct, with the wander lust and the need for adventure to be getting a better spot over mythology. The twist about the demon doesn’t go on to be that effective either. This one doesn’t have that much of flaws to make the viewer wonder, and there is nothing much to complain related to this adventure!

Soul exploration :: The movie’s main message is to search for the unknown, explore, and find new places. Moana goes through faith, belief and hope, and the courage and determination that is required to keep them all there. There is no longer the need for the heroine to chase love, and without romance, the focus is on all adventure and the clear objective that is to be gained for the common good. With sea making the call, and caught up on an island, there is always the need to go out there, and to be with the rest of the world. There are dangers that stay ahead, but it is up to us to go far beyond all of them with the strength that is gained from the experience that is added on the way. We are all caught with one thing or the other, and it seems so difficult in this world with the restrictions and the so called duties that come to us at one point or the other, but we need to go on.

How it finishes :: There is one thing that we can be sure about, after watching Moana. It is that the flick is surely better than the eventual winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature after being a tough contendor – Zootopia. I guess that the judgment went in favour of the cuter one this time; animals get to win over humans. I would consider this one to be better than the last two years’ winners Inside Out and Big Hero 6. The best animated movies of the year rarely get to be the best in the academy awards section, do they? There are only a few exceptions like Frozen. Toy Story 3 won when there was How to Train Your Dragon; Rango won when there was Kung Fu Panda 2; Big Hero 6 won when How to Train Your Dragon 2 was existing; Brave won when Rise of the Guardians was there. Well, Moana also has its list of accolades received – lets try watching it again and again!

Release date: 23rd November 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker
Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk, Oscar Kightley, Troy Polamalu, Puanani Cravalho

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Men in Black III

mib3 (5)

What is MiB3? :: It is the third movie in the Men in Black series which comes as quite a surprise as the first movie released in 1997 and the second in 2002; now with fifteen years gone after the first movie and ten years passed after the second, one would easily think that the series based on Lowell Cunningham’s The Men in Black comic book series might have been done and can return only as a reboot or a perfect remake. But what happened in 2012 was indeed surprising as the alien-dealing protectors of the Earth has returned once again – five years between the first two movies, and ten between the second and the third, and Mathematics doesn’t favour a fourth, but I am not the one who would believe in numbers. One thing about which we can be sure as long as this series is considered, and it is that the movie was a hit even before it was released – I would have been surprised otherwise, and the men dressed in black has scope for even more sequels.

The Setting :: Men in Black (M.I.B) is a top-secret non-government agency that deals with extraterrestrial alien invasions, connections and refugees. It keeps the details of all the aliens who come to Earth and helps those who wishes to make a living on the planet, and at the same time fights any possible alien invasions or other kind of threats to the planet (May be they know about Superman’s presence too). The agency operates from an underground base of operations about which not even any of the world governments or spies are aware of. MIB agents use certain kind of devices called neuralyzers to wipe out the memories of the witnesses who have seen or felt any kind of alien presence, and thus keep their secret alive and away from being noticed. Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Will Smith) are the top operatives for this organization and our protagonists once again, with another adventure which comes from outside Earth.

What is it about? :: Boris the Animal, the last of the alien species called Boglodites which consumed all planets in their path, escapes from a prison in moon. He is seeking vengeance on Agent K, who had shot and separated his left arm and imprisoned him in the year 1969. It is seen that one day, K just vanishes and there is no clue about him – it is as if only J remembers that he existed. He finds out that J died in 1969 and Boris the Animal as well as the whole species of Boglodites remain free and ready attack Earth. As it was K who came up with a shield to safeguard Earth and annihilated the Boglodites, it is found out tht Boris went back in time to murder K and thus make sure that he kept his left arm as well as his freedom, along with his race with all the power. Now J has to travel back in time at a time when time-travel is illegal and thus risky, and stop the current age Boris from uniting with the Boris of 1969 and killing K as well as saving Earth from the invasion.

The defence of MiB3 :: Well, this third movie of the series is almost as good as its predecessors, just trailing by may be a few points. It has a lot of fun, and works right as an action comedy. There are also the good special effects an nice CGI, even as there is nothing spectacular, nor there is the need for much. It is one of the best alien comedies too, and as a movie which doesn’t take itself seriously, it scores correctly. It also has a good number of aliens in store, not that you haven’t seen them already, but for those who might have not, and also for those who might have forgotten these two gentlemen in black, there was that “setting” section. Its combination of science fiction with comedy and the introduction of time travel makes it a fine combination of things. There are also those gadgets which looks interesting even if they belong to 1969 which is more of our 2069 in one way or the other. Like it, because even Batman comes only in black, or as they say in that Lego Trailer, very very dark grey.

The claws of flaw :: There is usually a curse associated with the third movie of the series, as they might not be the best of the franchise – I expect such things to happen in case of another sequel to Taken, and it has already happened with Blade 3, Alien 3, Species 3, Jaws 3 and a lot of other movies which you might recollect with a few seconds of thinking. Don’t think like that, for this one survives. But after waiting this long, does this get any better? The answer would be no. And does this offer anything new other than time-travel added? Once again a big no. Couldn’t they have come up with something other than time-travel for this third movie? I did think about it with no answers. There is no new addition or interesting stuff to suit the age, and there are moments when one wonders which direction this is going. Add Alice Eve’s hairstyle to an alien world – thats shocking indeed. The characters of Boris and Griffin were a little less interesting compared to the potential they had.

Performers of the Soul :: Will Smith has another one in his pocket, and a lot of us remember him as Agent J. He goes through the movie with ease, just like the previous movies of the series. Tommy Lee Jones is fine with the time when he is there, as his younger version is played by Josh Brolin who perfects the character. So, there are obviously three of them this time, and joining them is the present version of Agent O (Emma Thompson) and the lady’s 1969 version played by Alice Eve whose hairstyle shocks us to that extent that we wonder if she is actually an alien. But they are both good at what they have been doing in the movie, especially our older version. Jemaine Clement as Boris the Animal is good, but not that awesome a villain as one was expecting. Michael Stuhlbarg’s Griffin add more funny dimensions, but there was scope for more with that character. There is also that twist in the end in which all the cast do a wonderful job.

How it finishes :: Men in Black 3 tries to extend the range of the series, and is successful in it. But with the lack of innovation and repetitive stuff, one has to wonder how far the franchise can stay alive. There is always the Will Smith factor to save it though. He doesn’t seem to age much, and he has the energy in him to bring more out of Agent J. May be one of the later movies in the series can come up with our favourite moment in an alien movie history, and as Griffin says, “unless this is the one where…” – as long as there is scope for aliens, there is hope. This one had no particular aim or reason for existing in an year in which The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises were always supposed to rule and become the movies of the year, along with a Hobbit and a Bond dropping in. It does finish tenth in the list of highest grossing movies of the year, but I would rather be surprised that it grossed more than the movies like Prometheus, Dredd and John Carter by a big margin. For now, it is yes for Men in Black 4.

Release date: 25th May 2012
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader, David Rasche, Emma Thompson, Alice Eve

mibiii copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.