Moana (2016)

The movie official website is here.

If you are getting tired of skinny and almost impossible stick figure of Disney princess, then this movie is for you. Moana (Auli’I Cravalho) is a Polynesian girl, daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) and his wife Sina (Nicole Scherzinger). Since childhood, Moana has a bound with nature, and mostly the ocean. Unfortunately her father told her to stay away from the ocean since he has childhood fear that the ocean ever killed his bestfriend. Called by her intuition and her grandmother Tala’s last words to return the heart of Te Fiti (mother of islands, somehow being another name for Mother Nature), Moana sails over the ocean to find Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and return Te Fiti’s heart to save her homeland. She, alongside her dimwitted chicken Heihei (voiced by Alan Tudyk), encounters Maui, a Hercules wannabe demigod who has his tattoo of his mini himself as conscience. Maui firstly refused to help Moana returns the heart of Te Fiti, but after Moana helps him to defeat Kakamora (a horde of evil coconut pirate) and regain his giant fish hook from the hand of Tamatoa (a giant coconut crab voiced by Jermaine Clement), he agrees to help. However, they should defeat Maui’s long archenemy Te Ka (a lava monster), in order to return Te Fiti’s heart.

8.9/10. Oh, don’t get me wrong. This movie is a Disney Princess Movie, and I love Disney Princesses (I even watched Frozen for almost ten times from the release). I love their idea of a curvy, brown skinned, black curly haired Disney Princess who finally fought for what she is meant to be. I love the story, the beautiful view, the entertaining humor (if it can make me laugh, then trust me, it’s funny and will make you laugh too) and also the whole adventure tense of this movie, and the smooth animation. I love how Moana’s hair flows with the wind, how her every emotion can be felt in her moves and big eyes, and how she teases Maui. I also fall in love with the arrangement of the soundtracks, though it seems a little bit unfulfilling like its predecessor Let It Go from Frozen (2013). Auli’I Cravalho is also a good singer. I almost instantly hate the other version of How Far I’ll Go sang by Alessia Cara at the credit title since I love Cravalho voice and her version.

However, if Auli’I Cravalho is successfully voiced Moana with her strong willing, Dwayne Johnson, on the other side, somehow feels not to blended so well with the whole movie. I don’t know. For me it just felt like he’s just put there to portray the well-built muscular demigod for his real body, not for the character. Maybe you can argue for female deliberation of being Chief of The Tribe, but that wasn’t a problem for me so I won’t talk about it. This movie is also talked about restoring the heart of Mother Nature, so this clear message should be your tools to educate them to keep the environment healthy and safe, in order not to make any more disastrous catastrophe on this earth. 

Please notice that this movie is PG or BO in Indonesian. The whole adventure is fun, but maybe the idea of Coconut Pirates, scavengers and lava monster could give nightmares to your child. So please advice them well and be wise in advising your children.


Allied (2016)

Check the official movie site here.

Allied is a latest movie from Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump (1994), Cast Away (2000), Flight (2012)) that tells the story of Canadian Wing commander Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) with the background of WWII warfare. One day, he is sent to Casablanca to kill German Ambassador in Casablanca, Morocco. He is covered as a French native phosphate miner named Maurice Bener, and assisted by a beautiful and smart French resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), that acted as his wife, Christine. To simplify all, they finally successfully kills the German Ambassador, fall in love with each other, and Max brings Marianne to London and marries her. Max commutes to office work while Marianne stays at home with their infant daughter Anna. Their life would be perfect if there is no suspicion that Marianne is actually German spy. Max denies it, defends his wife position, but his superior orders him to send a bait message to prove if Marianne is a spy or not. Full of doubt, Max has no choice but to follow the order while trying to get information about Marianne himself. 

7.5/10. At first, I was thinking that this movie reminds me of the classic Casablanca  (1942). The city, two people in love, mentionin Paris, and well, it just made me feel like deja vu. The first scene where Max Vatan is landing to Moroccan desert with parachutes would probably make James Bond jealous.The rest is the plot. Robert Zemeckis, for me, is always making the smart move for his movies, and this movie is no exception. The plot is, well, after you watch some gruesome views of WWII movies, later maybe with Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, this movie is satisfyingly beautiful. It’s woven with fine structure that will make you keep guessing on what would happen next, wait patiently for the climax like you have itch and promise yourself you will not leave your seat until the end, and finally kick you with tearful ending. The scene, the views of every scenes, and mostly the fashion wore by Mr. Pitt and Ms. Cotillard will trap you in thinking that you want to make your next dress as vintage as theirs! Haha.

Now we get into the bad news.Zemeckis, again, is popular with getting the best of his actor and this movie is not exception too. Brad Pitt is fine as Max Vatan, cold, trim and well-built commander at work but also a loving husband and father at home. You can almost understand all his emotion here, from loving to angry, to the heartbroken and devastated man at the ending scene. Marion Cotillard is brilliant as Marianne Beausejour, beautiful, stylish, seducing and drives the moods all over the movie. However, their charisma seems to overcome with one another. They were lack of chemistry, so cold for a supposed-to-be-passionate lover, and mostly feels like they were just acting to finish the movie. I don’t know their lack of chemistry is due to avert the rumor of being together and leads to Angelina Jolie’s file for divorce, or maybe they were just not getting the chemistry with each other. 

Oh. This movie is rated R in Indonesia due to sex scenes and gruesome violences. So, please don’t bring your child and teenage under 17 years old tp watch this movie. 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Check the official website here.

So where should I start? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a prequel of Harry Potter series (2001 – 2011) and tells us about the story of Newt Scamander (played by the fantastic himself Eddie Redmayne), a magizoologist who, seems to arrive in New York City in the wrong time. The US, New York in particular, is on cautiousness situation since the No-Maj (American terms for Muggles) are felt threatened by Gellert Grindelwald, the previous Dark Prince before Voldemort. Their wary leads to the development of The New Salem Philanthropic Society or The Second Salem, leads by the terrific Madame Barebone (Samantha Morton) who wants to banish all witches from US. On his first arrival in New York, Scamander firstly encountered a No-Maj Baker named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). Their first encounters and Scamander’s accident that makes him lost some of his “fantastic beasts” took the interest of Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, a former auror of MACUSA (American Ministry of Magic). Tina then tried to report Scamander to Department of Magical Security, head by the ambitious Percival Graves (yes, you’re right, played by the handsome Colin Farrell). Graves denied Tina’s report so Tina has to deal with Scamander herself. By time, they, alongside Queenie (played by A Fine Frenzy’s vocalist Alison Sudol) and Kowalski, figured out that one of the member of The New Salem, Credence Barebone (played by the next “The Flash” Ezra Miller), has the extremely uncontrollable super power called The Obscurus that potentially starts the war between Magical Society and the real world.

8.2/10. Honestly I don’t know the story of the book, never read it either, and I just watch it for Eddie Redmayne (has a secret crush on his volatility). I also don’t expect too much for any spinoffs, for more or less they usually don’t be as good as the original series, and this movie is not an exception. The starting action where Scamander steps out on your screen, meets Kowalski and finally get into his suitcase and shows off some of his magical creatures is THE BEST PART OF THE MOVIE. After that, you can eat your popcorn, sip on your cokes and just watch it without feeling any more tense. If every Harry Potter movie almost gives you a climatic ending battles, or more revealing truths, don’t expect too much from this movie. This movie is just a beginning, where they are just introducing the new characters and set up for a new curiosity, which a little useless in my opinion. There’s a little surprise at the end of the movie, where Scamander reveals the truth about Percival Graves, but if you already read all the recent news about this movie, it will be no longer a surprise. 

So for me, this movie is just about starting a new series, with handsome (potential) villain (how can you resist the persona of both Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp? Oops!), without any thrilling tense of fantasy film. I just hope the sequel will give me more thrills than this one. Eddie Redmayne is quite expressive, looks like a brilliant zoologist who used to deal with a lot of magical creatures, but clearly this role isn’t his best performance after his Oscar Winning role in The Theory of Everything  (2014) and Oscar Nominating role in The Danish Girl  (2015). Dan Fogler’s awkward hilarity keeps this movie alive, and Ezra Miller still cannot steal the screen after all. I don’t know his future in being The Flash, but I just expect that he will come out of his shell and show us some stellar performances. This movie is also introducing us to the new villain Gellert Grindelwald, the former friend and lover of Albus Dumbledore that has been written in Rita Skeeter’s the Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore and seemingly involved in the death of Dumbledore’s sister Ariana. And there is also an introduction to Newt’s past lover, Leta Lestrange, that seems to be the aunt of, you know, Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy.

Oh and the stars of this movie? The beasts!! They are REALLY fantastic, and they steal the screen! Just a little pathetic to know that a star-studded movie’s real star are created through CGIs, and not a real character.