Moana - Another Disney Princess Movie

Moana - Another Disney Princess Movie

Moana turns a familiar story into something different thanks to diversity in filmmaking.

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What's the children's animated film equivalent of "nuts and bolts thriller"?

This movie dissipoints me because they promised that the movie was to be animated in the style of Paperman:

Nope same old Cartoon Stylelized CG animation.

But is there a disabled non-cis-tri-gendered pyrofox from the forestplanet? Otherwise it's probably not diverse enough.

Joking aside, the demi god from the trailer looked like an interesting character. I like Disney movies a lot, so I'm looking forwards to it.

Smilomaniac:
But is there a disabled non-cis-tri-gendered pyrofox from the forestplanet? Otherwise it's probably not diverse enough.

Joking aside, the demi god from the trailer looked like an interesting character. I like Disney movies a lot, so I'm looking forwards to it.

I love that line. I may have to use it in the future, if you don't mind. And while I don't doubt the movie is good and trust Marter pretty much when it comes to movies, I just want to mention the way 'diversity' is talked about when it comes to movies and games. Taking a generic story and having a 'diverse" cast or story won't make it better for it if it's there just to check off the right boxes so people don't complain about racism. While I definitely don't think that's true in this case, I still think we have a ways to go. Anyone remember Remember Me? That was hyped to the moon and back for having a black female lead but the game itself was the definition of mediocre, but conversely you have Telltale's The Walking Dead, and those games kick unrelenting amounts of ass. What I want is for more critics and reviewers to be like Marter and mention diversity in media but not beat people over the head with it and cover for bad movies/games just because the lead isn't a straight white guy. I couldn't care less who or what the lead character is so long as they're interesting and the story is good. And nothing pisses me off more than something that's crappy and yet uses PC dogma as a way to shield itself from criticism (see also Gone Home).

I enjoyed Moana, but I don't think it was as good as, say, Frozen.

One of the things I noticed very early on is that Maui has much more of a character arc than the titular character, Moana, does. To be fair, Moana 'does' have an arc, but it's very simple and almost basic while Maui actually grows from reprehensible braggart to humbled hero.

http://www.cinemablend.com/news/1587820/moana-originally-focused-on-the-rocks-character-heres-why-disney-changed-it

Originally, the directors wanted Maui to be the protagonist but changed it in production (to be fair, lots of movies/stories change focus during production), but even in the final product, it feels much more of Maui's story than Moana's.

Even Maui's song is pretty much one of the best, if not the best, in the movie.

But, you're right on one thing, Marter. Shiny is an AWFUL song; just awful.

LysanderNemoinis:

I love that line. I may have to use it in the future, if you don't mind. And while I don't doubt the movie is good and trust Marter pretty much when it comes to movies, I just want to mention the way 'diversity' is talked about when it comes to movies and games. Taking a generic story and having a 'diverse" cast or story won't make it better for it if it's there just to check off the right boxes so people don't complain about racism. While I definitely don't think that's true in this case, I still think we have a ways to go. Anyone remember Remember Me? That was hyped to the moon and back for having a black female lead but the game itself was the definition of mediocre, but conversely you have Telltale's The Walking Dead, and those games kick unrelenting amounts of ass. What I want is for more critics and reviewers to be like Marter and mention diversity in media but not beat people over the head with it and cover for bad movies/games just because the lead isn't a straight white guy. I couldn't care less who or what the lead character is so long as they're interesting and the story is good. And nothing pisses me off more than something that's crappy and yet uses PC dogma as a way to shield itself from criticism (see also Gone Home).


^
It's from there :)

I re-watched "The Golden Child" from the 80's yesterday, which has a black male lead (Eddie Murphy) along with a co-lead asian woman who puts him to shame in all physical aspects as well as wisdom. Diversity in media hasn't been a problem for a long ass time.

Lack of diversity isn't even a thing, it's just white guilt manifested by know-it-all teenagers who have learned how to shout loud enough for the mainstream media to listen, because no one bothered to discipline them or teach them about respect or humility.
Even if there were an issue, a call for diversity in movies and games just breeds token characters with no depth or meaning behind them. The disadvantages outweigh the benefits, when the mainstream thinks it's alright to belittle, bully and accuse anyone who disagrees with them with terrible labels.

Basically my point is, that there's rarely a reason to ever bring up diversity, in reviews or anywhere else. It's fine, no matter what the cast is, as long as it makes sense for the setting and background.

Moana sounds like the perfect stripper or porn name.

Dreiko:
Moana sounds like the perfect stripper or porn name.

Well, they did have to change the name in Italy precisely because they have a famous pornstar named Moana. So yes, it is.

Please tell me that in the end she does NOT move this stone on her own because she has "found her inner strength".

Smilomaniac:
Lack of diversity isn't even a thing, it's just white guilt manifested by know-it-all teenagers who have learned how to shout loud enough for the mainstream media to listen, because no one bothered to discipline them or teach them about respect or humility.

How--- charmingly put. I'd also like to point out I'm in my thirties, and I see a lack of diversity in many forms. So did someone not "discipline" me enough about "respect" and "humility"? For who and about what, might I ask?

Some people see the issue everywhere, which isn't exactly helpful. But denying there might be problems to address seems oddly absolutist.

The disadvantages outweigh the benefits, when the mainstream thinks it's alright to belittle, bully and accuse anyone who disagrees with them with terrible labels.

It seems the "mainstream" is pretty much now Brexit and Trump in the UK and US, respectively. I trust you'll keep an eye on the new mainstream's behaviour just as keenly.

Basically my point is, that there's rarely a reason to ever bring up diversity, in reviews or anywhere else.

Well, I respectfully disagree, and feel it's often telling when people bridle at the mere mention of the idea of working towards diversity being a constructive/productive thing (as what can be harmed by having more perspectives, more people with voices, and more role models for all kinds of people, etc).

As for the film itself: eh, I think I'll just rewatch Frozen if I want a slice of more interesting Disney fare. Plus, I seem to be one of the few people on the planet who finds The 'Dwayne Johnson' Rock mind numbingly bland and lacking in charisma to the point that he becomes a reason to avoid a film...

If it's on TV in the future I probably won't turn over, though, as some of the visuals look pretty good.

Oh boy. I can see this becoming a hot topic.

It's kind of moot, since Moana doesn't come out until Boxing Day over here, but it's a film I've been looking forward to. That said, the idea of it being a pillar of diversity never entered my mind. Granted, I'm a straight white male who's never been discriminated against for any of those things, but when I first saw trailers for the film, my mind was hardly on the subject of "a Polynesian female lead? How diverse!" More "huh, this looks like a character I could be emotionally invested in in what looks like a pretty fun film." When does a need for diversity become tokenism?

It's similar to Frozen. I think it's a pretty good film with pretty good characters, with pretty good character development. The idea of it being representative of LGBT individuals (with Elsa "coming out") was a concept that never reached me until after the film had run its course. That interpretation is perfectly valid, and hardly messes with my own enjoyment of the film, but I have to ask, is Frozen well liked because of inclusionism? Or is it well liked because it's genuinely good?

Maybe it's always been this way, but I can't remember the Disney Princess Movies being quite this bland back in the ninties. Tangled was a bit bland, Frozen was beyond generic, and Moana looks to be more of the same. That while Big Hero 6 and Zootopia were teeming with creative visuals.

Maybe I've just outgrown the whole Disney Princess shtick.

Hawki:
It's similar to Frozen. I think it's a pretty good film with pretty good characters, with pretty good character development. The idea of it being representative of LGBT individuals (with Elsa "coming out") was a concept that never reached me until after the film had run its course. That interpretation is perfectly valid, and hardly messes with my own enjoyment of the film, but I have to ask, is Frozen well liked because of inclusionism? Or is it well liked because it's genuinely good?

I don't think comparing Moana and Frozen is particularly useful at all, at least on that - LGBT - count.

I like the idea of a queer reading of Frozen, at least sentimentally and emotionally. But when you look at how magic's being used in it, it all rather breaks down. Elsa is 'the only gay mage in the village', so what's magic supposed to represent? Orientation, or internalised guilt? If the former, she really is the only gay in the village which is the direct opposite of an inclusive narrative, and if the latter than why do her powers still work at the end when she's learnt to accept who she is?

It's generally considered the trader is gay, so does he have powers? And if so, what the hell kind of wacky inclusive narrative is that which makes queer identity synonymous with incredibly destructive powers that they need to control lest they doom an entire realm?

If you're looking for actual evidence in the film to corroborate a reading ("Conceal it, don't feel it. Don't let it show" seems very persuasive, but the actual thematic use of magic is not), then with Frozen there's simply not enough which coheres, and not enough details to tie any loose ends together. So I'd say magic ultimately doesn't represent or symbolise anything in Frozen - it's just magic in a fantasy world.

I feel the writers wanted to have a film where people could project all kinds of things onto, but to make any of them 'work' you have to hammer square pegs into round holes. So the only thing that marks it as inclusive/progressive is its rather feminist rejection of having the female lead/queen defined by male need/love as well as the depiction of positive sorority.

And as to your last question: do you really think the Frozen phenomenon could've occurred just off the back of its perceived inclusivity? Was that why so many kids around the world demanded either the film itself or Let It Go be played on a loop? It was hugely successful and is well liked simply because it was fun, well made, and had more going on for it thematically and narratively than most Disney films, or most mainstream films in general.

Smilomaniac:

Basically my point is, that there's rarely a reason to ever bring up diversity, in reviews or anywhere else. It's fine, no matter what the cast is, as long as it makes sense for the setting and background.

In this case, I think it actually works. Still, in this case it's not about diversity of actors or characters. It's about trying a setting/culture that hasn't been tried before, which gives the movie some novelty at the very least. Then again, perhaps "novelty" is the more appropriate word for this movie, rather than "diversity".

Darth Rosenberg:
How--- charmingly put. I'd also like to point out I'm in my thirties, and I see a lack of diversity in many forms. So did someone not "discipline" me enough about "respect" and "humility"? For who and about what, might I ask?

Some people see the issue everywhere, which isn't exactly helpful. But denying there might be problems to address seems oddly absolutist.

Hey, if you're a minority where ever you live and can only relate to a small sub-set of characters, then fine; Write until your fingers bleed to see some change or better yet, go set an example and be the change you want to see.

If you're not, then you're speaking on behalf of others and assuming that a significant enough amount of people have any issue at all with diversity.

Darth Rosenberg:
It seems the "mainstream" is pretty much now Brexit and Trump in the UK and US, respectively. I trust you'll keep an eye on the new mainstream's behaviour just as keenly.

Honestly, the mainstream is just too lazy to vote. The majority will still be, for better or worse, a huge pile of do-gooders who want to do the right thing, without ever knowing why.
At the moment, both news, academia and politicians are still heavily in favor of liberal values and that won't change for a long time. The changes you are seeing are despite of the mainstream and a pushback.

Darth Rosenberg:
Well, I respectfully disagree, and feel it's often telling when people bridle at the mere mention of the idea of working towards diversity being a constructive/productive thing (as what can be harmed by having more perspectives, more people with voices, and more role models for all kinds of people, etc).

Like I said, we've had diversity for a long, long time. Do you want the NBA to start making quotas for white people so white kids have role models to grow up to, if they want to be basketball players? Or is it conceivable that skin color and background doesn't have to mean anything, and they can still be just as good a role model for any kid?
Before you say you personally don't want quotas, just remember that this is actively being pushed for in several western governments more and more for each year that goes by, and this is in the most important places in the world where nothing but skill and competence should (but obviously doesn't) count. This is "diversity" in all it's glory, an overhyped ridiculous idea that has little to no meaning in the real world.

I understand your position just fine, it's a neat and "good" concept, it's just that I've rejected it as nothing but sentimental values.
Let artists, content creators and so on do their thing and enjoy their labor for what it is. There's no reason to butt in and be some sort of busybody, to lecture everyone else about something they've most likely already considered.

I would just like to say, it feels so incredibly wrong to see the words "Dwayne Johnson" used as anything but bookends for "The Rock". It's like "A Pimp Named Slickback", you need to say the whole thing.

Burnouts3s3:

This isn't even a recent development. Look at all those shows where the father is a buffoon and irresponsible but fun and the Mom is the down to earth one. (Everyone Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, The Simpsons, Fairly Odd Parents etc). Gravity Falls is one of the only ones I can think of off the top of my head that flips that dynamic. So seeing this in Moana is just a continuation of decades worth of entertainment and not just a trend from the last five years.

Smilomaniac:

Darth Rosenberg:
How--- charmingly put. I'd also like to point out I'm in my thirties, and I see a lack of diversity in many forms. So did someone not "discipline" me enough about "respect" and "humility"? For who and about what, might I ask?

Some people see the issue everywhere, which isn't exactly helpful. But denying there might be problems to address seems oddly absolutist.

Hey, if you're a minority where ever you live and can only relate to a small sub-set of characters, then fine; Write until your fingers bleed to see some change or better yet, go set an example and be the change you want to see.

Ah, the old "if you don't like it, you should write something better" argument. It's a bad argument.

If you're not, then you're speaking on behalf of others and assuming that a significant enough amount of people have any issue at all with diversity.

Whereas conversely, you saying that diversity just teenage white guilt isn't at all a case of you speaking on anyone else's behalf? We know what minorities think because they tell people what they think. The fact that I agree with what they say and repeat it doesn't mean I have stolen their thunder. Speaking up for someone isn't the same as speaking for them.

Darth Rosenberg:
Well, I respectfully disagree, and feel it's often telling when people bridle at the mere mention of the idea of working towards diversity being a constructive/productive thing (as what can be harmed by having more perspectives, more people with voices, and more role models for all kinds of people, etc).

Like I said, we've had diversity for a long, long time. Do you want the NBA to start making quotas for white people so white kids have role models to grow up to, if they want to be basketball players? Or is it conceivable that skin color and background doesn't have to mean anything, and they can still be just as good a role model for any kid?
Before you say you personally don't want quotas, just remember that this is actively being pushed for in several western governments more and more for each year that goes by, and this is in the most important places in the world where nothing but skill and competence should (but obviously doesn't) count. This is "diversity" in all it's glory, an overhyped ridiculous idea that has little to no meaning in the real world.

This is a peculiar argument to unpack. The question I always ask of people who have a problem with affirmative action policies is whether they also complain about poorer people being entitled to benefits, or the physically disabled being provided with wheelchair access? If they don't, then they are obviously happy to accept the philosophy of affirmative action in those areas, but only get annoyed when it comes to looking at race in a similar way.

I understand your position just fine, it's a neat and "good" concept, it's just that I've rejected it as nothing but sentimental values.
Let artists, content creators and so on do their thing and enjoy their labor for what it is. There's no reason to butt in and be some sort of busybody, to lecture everyone else about something they've most likely already considered.

They did. They made a movie called Moana, and you are complaining in the comment section about diversity.

I rather enjoyed this movie. The soundtrack was actually pretty good, excluding the villain song "Shiny" which was pretty cringeworthy and a break in tone. Maui seemed to get more of a character arc. Moana seemed to only need to get past her bluster and insincere belief in her worthiness due to having been "chosen" and she was good to go. Her heroic BSOD was so short lived you could kind of tell they were just ticking a box in "The Hero's Journey" with that scene. She didn't really seem to have to earn her way back, she simply changed her mind twice in literally less than five minutes and all was good again. From a writing standpoint i really can't otherwise complain.

You know, there was a chance that at one point they were developing this movie from the standpoint of "diversity for diversity's sake." But in making the focus not on Maui but on the quest to restore travel between the islands and the navigation methods used to do so this movie served a real purpose.

The Polynesians were pretty badass. It takes balls of hard shiny bright brass to to set out across the pacific in nothing but an oversized canoe retrofitted as a catamaran some deckhands and food and absolutely no instruments. No compass, no sextant, just the sun and stars. If even a few people dig past the fluffy story here to see the truth behind all these island folk getting to where they were when the Europeans found them this movie has done great good.

Spoilers abound:

Just saw it and...ugh. I did not like it. The beginning was too long. 4 songs before anything even happens, and when finally the two are together, they go fight some crab kinda, then go resolve the movie. There is no real growth or flow. I liked when Maui was like "WTF doesnt the ocean just fix everything" cause thats a good point...which they dont answer. Just pointing out your plot holes doesnt negate them being massive plot holes.

And ok, Disney songs...be good again. Just having the protagonist sing a shitty pop song 10 times doesnt count, nor does singing songs because you need to sing. Watch Beauty and the Beast if you want to know how to motivate a song, or Aladdin. Songs were usually at crucial plot points that actually added to the story.

The first song I supposed wanted to be like Little Town but wasnt. Hercules now that I think of it also used songs well.

And maybe show Maui rethinking bailing, instead of showing Moana giving up and just having Maui Deus Ex back in.

I was hoping the film would be more adventurous. I thought it was going to be alot of Moana and Maui traveling the seas fighting monsters and seeing strange things. They clearly build up this world of monsters, and we get...a giant crab and some coconut people.

I have not seen Frozone or Tangela but I saw this movie because there was nothing else in the theater and I was positively impressed. The Rock singing You're Welcome has been on repeat far too many times already and the crab that sings like Bowie is insane! I really liked the movie and I'm now wondering if I should go back and watch the other 2...

also "if you wear a dress and have an animal friend, you're a princess" line is by far the fumiest line in the whole movie.

I re-watched "The Golden Child" from the 80's yesterday, which has a black male lead (Eddie Murphy) along with a co-lead asian woman who puts him to shame in all physical aspects as well as wisdom. Diversity in media hasn't been a problem for a long ass time.

'I saw a film made in the 80's with coloured people in it QED racism doesn't exist.'

Lack of diversity isn't even a thing, it's just white guilt manifested by know-it-all teenagers who have learned how to shout loud enough for the mainstream media to listen, because no one bothered to discipline them or teach them about respect or humility.

'I am old and know no actual teenagers.'

Even if there were an issue, a call for diversity in movies and games just breeds token characters with no depth or meaning behind them. The disadvantages outweigh the benefits, when the mainstream thinks it's alright to belittle, bully and accuse anyone who disagrees with them with terrible labels.

'I have an opinion. I need no facts.'

This is a peculiar argument to unpack. The question I always ask of people who have a problem with affirmative action policies is whether they also complain about poorer people being entitled to benefits, or the physically disabled being provided with wheelchair access? If they don't, then they are obviously happy to accept the philosophy of affirmative action in those areas, but only get annoyed when it comes to looking at race in a similar way.

While your argument is intriguing I would argue the examples are flawed. I support benefits for poor people as I would prefer a fellow human to be clothed, fed and sheltered. I consider this a fairly basic level. Affirmative action goes to several higher levels i.e. preferential treatment in academia and lower barriers to the job market. The two are, in my opinion, too dissimilar to be a good comparison.

The second argument I believe is more tenuous. While I'm willing to accept the premise that being non-white in a predominantly white environment may come with some handicaps (excuse the pun) it would be quite frankly silly to say it is comparable with not actually being able to walk. I feel comfortable in stating that needing a wheelchair and being white puts you at a much lower level on what you can accomplish than if you were an able-bodied black man.

Darth Rosenberg:

Hawki:
It's similar to Frozen. I think it's a pretty good film with pretty good characters, with pretty good character development. The idea of it being representative of LGBT individuals (with Elsa "coming out") was a concept that never reached me until after the film had run its course. That interpretation is perfectly valid, and hardly messes with my own enjoyment of the film, but I have to ask, is Frozen well liked because of inclusionism? Or is it well liked because it's genuinely good?

I don't think comparing Moana and Frozen is particularly useful at all, at least on that - LGBT - count.

I like the idea of a queer reading of Frozen, at least sentimentally and emotionally. But when you look at how magic's being used in it, it all rather breaks down. Elsa is 'the only gay mage in the village', so what's magic supposed to represent? Orientation, or internalised guilt? If the former, she really is the only gay in the village which is the direct opposite of an inclusive narrative, and if the latter than why do her powers still work at the end when she's learnt to accept who she is?

It's generally considered the trader is gay, so does he have powers? And if so, what the hell kind of wacky inclusive narrative is that which makes queer identity synonymous with incredibly destructive powers that they need to control lest they doom an entire realm?

If you're looking for actual evidence in the film to corroborate a reading ("Conceal it, don't feel it. Don't let it show" seems very persuasive, but the actual thematic use of magic is not), then with Frozen there's simply not enough which coheres, and not enough details to tie any loose ends together. So I'd say magic ultimately doesn't represent or symbolise anything in Frozen - it's just magic in a fantasy world.

I feel the writers wanted to have a film where people could project all kinds of things onto, but to make any of them 'work' you have to hammer square pegs into round holes. So the only thing that marks it as inclusive/progressive is its rather feminist rejection of having the female lead/queen defined by male need/love as well as the depiction of positive sorority.

And as to your last question: do you really think the Frozen phenomenon could've occurred just off the back of its perceived inclusivity? Was that why so many kids around the world demanded either the film itself or Let It Go be played on a loop? It was hugely successful and is well liked simply because it was fun, well made, and had more going on for it thematically and narratively than most Disney films, or most mainstream films in general.

Ugh! I know the LGBTQXYZETC populations like to find inspiration in Frozen. But it falls apart on examination, because that's not the message that it was queued up to send. Frozen's underlying subtext is about Mental Illness. About Mental Illness in the family. About how hiding it and shutting it away is bad. In the movie Elsa isn't gay. She's a stand in for Schizophrenia. And this isn't internet theorizing. This is what the director has openly said his intent was. Elsa is Boo Radley. Not Rock Hudson.

As far as Moana... I confess in these reviews I see terms like 'Diversity" and "Culture" thrown around a lot. I don't see anything indicating that Moana is herself an interesting and engaging character. Which seems to be the problem with modern Hollywood movies. The same Diversity push that is demanding that they proliferate with an assortment of female leads, preferably non white, also imposes so many rules and clauses that it prevents them from doing anything fun or onteresting with them. And ultimately prevents them from having any actual character arcs. She can't be an asshole. She can't be a coward. She cant be clumsy or incompetant. Luke Skywalker was a whiny little bitch throughout Star Wars. His first real moment of growing out of that was when he shot down his first Tie Fighter from the Falcon's belly turret. At which point he was taken down a peg by his elders. At least Elsa and Anna had flaws that they had to grow past. I hope I am wrong but everything I have seen about Moana makes me fear she is another Rey. A character everybody projects their wannabe's onto instead of an actual well written well rounded character.

 

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