Moana or, why sometimes a simple story is the best kind of story
Yeah, I finally watched Moana last week. And what an adventure it was, just getting to the cinema with the buses being late and getting their stops mixed up…The type that makes for a long, agonising, lung-burning, foot-hurting, RUNNING kind of story. But I digress! I made it on time for the movie and in the end that is all that matters. But what of the film itself?
The trailer had looked really promising and I was going in not with the highest of expectations but certainly hyped. Aaaaaand promptly got the scare of my life when the customary short started playing and I thought I had walked in on the wrong screening. Mercifully a kid a few seats over panicked over the same thing and his mother reassured as both that we were, in fact, in the right place. Now, I’ll try to keep the SPOILERS to a minimum here but you have been warned nonetheless!
The story is the basic, coming-of-age narrative that Disney seems to be particularly fond of, interspersed with some pretty awesome (and catchy as hell songs!). It was awesome to see the song lyrics being incorporated in the narrative and the dialogue too. I don’t know, maybe it’s the movies I’ve watched lately but in quite a few of them the songs felt a bit…I don’t know…shoehorned… (Love is an Open Door, I’m looking at you!) Not here though! And I also liked how the two main songs (other than Maui’s solo) got a couple reprises. It helped tie the plot together and show the progression of the character(s) through the three acts.
Animation was obviously gorgeous and damn if I don’t want to go swimming in that paradise island (Motunui, which apparently a real place in New Zealand…huh!) with it’s white-golden sand, the crystal clear waters and the absolute lack of anything even resembling a jelly fish -shudder-. I also liked the great variation in the character designs but I swear if I hear one more person calling the titular heroine chubby I will break something!
-Quick tangent here just to get this off my chest. Skip below to avoid the rant and return to the movie fangirling-
No, buddy, she is not chubby. Like, at all. She’s a teenager (I think they mentioned she’s 15), with a healthy, athletic body, which, considering what we see of the lifestyle at Motunui is perfectly understandable. Now she doesn’t have a corset-shaped body figure or prominent cheekbones. And that is a good thing! And maybe her legs do not rival those of a ballet dancer but they can certainly carry her through all the running and swimming and climbing and wayfinding she does during the movie. Come on guys, we went through this whole thing when Brave came out! And remember the backlash when Disney published an image of Merida that was more in line with the figures of the Classic and Renaissance era princesses?
The point is, teenage girls, unless they do some really intensive athletic or dancing regime, will not be as willowy as the heroine of a Gothic romance. And yes, I know this could be considered a generalisation and yes, I have met girls who ate half their body weight daily and still remained thin, but let us go with the common denominator for a moment. It’s puberty. It puts the body through a major roller-coaster and not just because of the raging hormones. So it’s no surprise that the so-desired harmony of body analogies will be a bit of a pipe dream until the body decides what it actually wants to look like.
So what’s wrong with having role models for girls (and boys, you can’t imagine how GLAD I was that Maui, as the main male character, was not drawn like frigging Superman) that come in all shapes and, why not? sizes? Moana is a badass because of her actions and her character, not because she’d be able to fit in a size 6 dress. And to people who see this as encouraging girls to be chubby, well….
You’re an idiot
It’s not your body, it’s not your concern
Some people are just naturally built that way
I’d rather see a little girl or even a teenager, heck an adult be what you call chubby and happy and self-confident rather than thin and eternally worried about putting on weight
No one’s body is here to adhere to your standards of the norm or aesthetically pleasing, so kindly keep your comments to yourself and well out of earshot of young people at an extremely impressionate and formative age in terms of self-perception.
-End of tangent, back to our usual content-
Since we’re on the subject of characters anyway let me sum up my views on that real quick. Moana’s conflict with her parents, mainly her dad, had shades of Ariel’s conflict with King Triton in the Little Mermaid. Only here, and I take this as a sign of how much more developed kids’ films have become, we are given perfectly legitimate reasons for her father’s stance. True, Moana needs to break through her family’s fears in order to become her own person but there is a huge difference between “All humans are evil because I said so” and “ Do not go SPOILERS beyond the reef because I know from experience that that is dangerous”. Also yay for both parents being alive and involved! But my favourite supporting character had to be grandmother Tala! She is exactly the type of crazy old lady I aspire to be sixty years from now. Again, in her relationship with Moana there were shades of grandmother Willow and Pocahontas and -in a non-Disney context- Iroh and Zuko (any A:tLA fans?) She was wise but not on-the-nose about it and most importantly she guided her granddaughter without forcing her down a path necessarily, and I think that was what ultimately gave Moana the confidence boost she needed to start becoming her own person, keeping what she needed from her childhood and its familiarity and shedding what she had outgrown to make way for new experiences.
Maui was a delight and not in small part due to his voice actor’s (Dwayne Johnson) occasional deadpan delivery. At times he skirted meta-awareness and 4th wall breaking territory, which I felt was a bit out of place in a kids’ film but got a few chuckles out of the adults in the audience. I read some people describing as a comic relief character but I honestly didn’t get that vibe from him. Yes, his redemption arc takes the backseat at times (after it’s not his movie) and he is undeniably funny at times, but if you actually look beyond the magic tattoos and snark, his story is actually really dark. Not gonna say more here because we’re keeping this SPOILERS-lite but what little was told and/or hinted of his backstory on the film has me wanting to dig up an anthology of Polynesian myths and get myself sucked in.
Moana herself was a pleasure of a main character. She was a teenager and that included the attitude, the sass, and the irrepressible need to question any and all authority figures, but also the insecurity that comes with being too young to be trusted to make all your decisions by yourself but also old enough to be expected to begin to do so. I can think of quite a few 20-somethings who can relate. She is stubborn to a fault but she is also deeply compassionate. She longs for independence but at the same time freely acknowledges that she needs the guidance of those more experienced than her when faced with an unfamiliar situation.
Really, the only thing the film lacked in my opinion was a clear villain. The Kakamora appeared early on and, to borrow Moana’s line, were “kinda cute”, so no way they’d be our Big Bad. I’ll give them that though. Not since the third Pirates of the Caribbean film have a seen a boat of such bizarre design.
Tamatoa was creepy (like keep everyone you cherish away from him-creepy), a legit threat towards both Maui and Moana and even got the movie’s villain song slot! He appears in the second act of the film and I half-expected him to show up during the climax too, but… I don’t know, maybe I’ve been conditioned to expect whoever sings the “It’s great being evil” tune in a Disney flick to show up for the climax.
Of course when the villain you actually build up throughout the story, Te Ka, looks like this:
maybe they felt that two villains, the fate of the world (sort off) and the characters’ own baggage would make for a too crowded and maybe even overwhelming third act. I have some issues with classifying Te Ka as the main villain, mainly due to how the conflict is ultimately resolved, but in terms of being a fiery demon of death and destruction…. Boy, did the animation department deliver!
I don’t have much else to say other than, go watch. Drag the kids along if you have any laying around. Like all good Disney movies this is one for the entire family!
My boys came back with the perfect comeback, as always😍 I’m so proud of them omg they did such a great job💓
This song is amazing😱 And I’m really proud of Hoshi because he wrote this incredible song🙈
Seventeen always meet my expectations ♡
Can’t wait to see their performance on Friday😱 ᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠᅠ
▪ #seventeen #vernon #hoshi #dino #dk #seokmin #seungkwan #joshua #jeonghan #scoups #minghao #the8 #wonwoo #woozi #jun #mingyu #hansol #exo #exok #exom #bts #bangtanboys #got7 #onedirection #monstax #infinite #ikon ▪
Reggie Watts’ Joyfully Rambunctious “Spatial” Is Now Streaming on Netflix
Pretty much everything you could want out of a Reggie Watts comedy special is included in Spatial.
Stand-up, amazing improvised songs, a bizarre, faux sitcom that co-stars Kate Berlant and Rory Scovel, and tap dancing is just some of what’s in store for your eyes and ears in watching this new hour from Watts. You expect this joyful, carefree vibe from Reggie and he delivers it in spades in what is his sharpest, tightest special to date.
what makes me the most sad about this whole thing is the fact that Seventeen's sales and weekly awards are genuinely gonna suffer from this... I still don't know much but if these fan sites are as big as people have said, it's going to hurt Seventeen a lot since they don't know what's happening and they don't have the power to make it stop either. I just want the best for them and I really want them to win before Bigbang comeback.
Many of the fansites stated they will still support them from afar! Support is support, as bleak as this situation may be we just gotta pull through. As an int fan my power is weak I’m sorry but have infinite hope in all the k-fans!
This comeback is amazing because the songs were so meticulously done and most importantly Seventeen produces songs for a general population so it’ll also attract a wider audience!
(I actually haven’t heard much about Big Bang’s album comeback yet since YG announced it. Any VIPs got any updates? I know they’re slated to perform at gayo)
@the-name-is-goldilocks and I decided to do a “could-be-weekly-but-probably-won’t-be” Song Spectacular! Each week a new theme, this week: Panic! at the Disco. So here is Folkin’ Around, done more or less seriously… Look up Goldie’s video when she posts it later, because she’s amazing and she’s gonna rock her own song!! [link to be added later on.]
An Interview with Thistle Group, a.k.a. Claire Mahoney
THISTLE GROUP is comprised of Claire
Mahoney, an Auckland, New Zealand-based musical unit of one. I heard her
amazing two-song demo on the Stabbies Bandcamp page, and was immediately zonked out
to this crude, experimental, multi-dimensional musical lunarscape that’s alternately lulling,
jarring and transfixing. Or at least her music inspired me to imagine I was.
Granted, her output to date is
the equivalent of one (long) 45rpm single, yet both tracks have been favorites on
Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio, and enough of a mystery wrapped in the proverbial
riddle that it made sense to go directly to the source to try and piece it all out. I sent Ms. Mahoney a
set of questions this month, and she was kind enough to let us all in on how
she creates her music.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: On the Thistle Group tape there’s some
very pleasant, lo-fidelity layering that connects different parts of the
songs/pieces together, which is then interrupted by jarring guitar and vocals.
How did you put all of it together, and what can you say about the overall
sound & feel you were looking to put out there?
Claire Mahoney: The tape was recorded live from one of the
first gigs I played solo. I started making up vague songs from tape loops that
a friend and I had made for another project and then playing around with them,
often slowing them down and layering guitar and vocals over the top.
I enjoy the wonkiness
of overlapping the same loops to create texture and working with everything
falling in and out of time. I see the vocals as adding another texture and use
them as an instrument for layering. I try to create movement and contrast by
using the warmth of tape loops and fragile vocals with a harsher guitar butting
in and breaking it all up. The use of repetition is also an important element
for creating an overall sound. Music that I respond to and influences me often
uses repetition and is very simple/primitive in its form.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: When you play live as Thistle Group, what
are you packing – simply tapes and a guitar, or is there more that you’re able
to do as a solo performer?
Claire Mahoney: I primarily use a reel to reel with tape
loops which forms the structure that I build upon. Sometimes I’ll just use that
with some vocals over the top, or play the same songs with a guitar or keyboard
and some walkmans. I’m used to working with limitations and I don’t like to
over complicating things. It’s also important that it’s able to be adaptable as
I hardly own any of my own gear so I’m constantly trying to put something
together with what I can find at the time.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: What’s the response been to you as a solo
live performer to date?
Claire Mahoney: A friend described the last set I played as
feeling like trying to get out of a deep medieval well. I think that’s the best
response and most accurate description so far. It always feels like it’s on the
verge of falling apart at any moment and sometimes it does. I’m interested in
playing with the notion of failure and navigating a space between something
working or not and being okay with it.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: Does Thistle Group/Claire Mahoney
collaborate with anyone else under that name, or plan to?
Claire Mahoney: I’ve always seen Thistle Group as a
primarily solo project but not exclusively. My sister Louise and I played a
very off the cuff show together a few months back under Thistle Group. I was
tired of playing the same set and I hadn’t had any time to practice so we
quickly threw something together using the same songs but really fucking with
them. Lou’s got incredible stage presence and one that I find quite
unpredictable in a really great way.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: Tell us a bit about the groups you’re in
and/or have been in previously; which are still active, and which have been
documented with vinyl, tapes, online downloads etc.
Claire Mahoney: I moved back to Auckland at the end of 2011
and soon after startedIt Hurts with
Angeline Chirnside and Beth Ducklingmonster. We were active 2012-2014 and put
out a couple of tapes, one on Angeline’s labe Clean Teeth and the other on
Albert’s Basement. There’s also a 7” on Soft Abuse. Before that I hadn’t really
played or anything apart from having a few jams with friends.
The last few years (until recently) I
played drums in Olympus with my pals Pat Kraus and Stefan Neville. Those two
had been doing Olympus for years and had put out a record but it really only became a live band when I
joined. It was very casual, we played live maybe a handful of times and often
did weirdo covers of our own solo stuff.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: Your music’s ended up on Stabbies, who
chronicle some pretty intense and interesting juxtapositions of New Zealand
experimental and rock-based music. Would love your thoughts on their role in
your “scene” and for musicians like yourself.
Claire Mahoney: Stefan has been on board since I started
playing with It Hurts. He recorded us numerous times and was always very
supportive of what we were doing. When I decided to release the Thistle Group
tape he offered to put it on the stabbies bandcamp.
Stabbies has become
active again recently with heaps of great stuff going up on the bandcamp page.
Lots of it is old material/ friends but he’s just put out a new 7” by Ben
Holmes which I highly recommend.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: How much of an ongoing concern is Thistle
Group? Are you planning on making music under that name repeatedly, from here
on, or was this year’s tape a one-shot deal? If it’s not, where are you taking
Thistle Group in the months to come?
Claire Mahoney: I’m slow and do things in my own time when
they fit in. I’ve got a bunch of songs that are piling up that I’m going to
record over the NZ summer when I get some time off. I’m also planning to do
some touring in Japan and maybe Europe in the first half of 2017.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: It’s always a bit of a stretch to ask
someone how much their art is “informed” by their surroundings, but I guess
some people are and some aren’t. How does Auckland and its environs come into
play for you – and/or how does greater New Zealand?
Claire Mahoney: I’m lucky to have some supportive friends
here in Auckland. It’s a small scene but most of the time I don’t feel like
that’s a problem as we have a larger community all over the world that we’re in
touch with. Auckland is where I grew up, it’s my Tūrangawaewae.
I can see two volcanoes from my bedroom window and the sea is close by, those
things are important to me.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: Why “Thistle Group”?
Claire Mahoney: The name Thistle Group came from something
I reading about a group of female artists who had gone under the name Thistle.
The writer referred to them as the ‘thistle group’ and for some reason that
name stuck with me and felt right for a solo project.
Dynamite Hemorrhage: What does Claire Mahoney do in her
Claire Mahoney: I’m terrible with a routine so I can only
think of what’s been happening today. That’s involved changing my car tyre with
my elderly neighbour giving instructions, going to work for a few hours and
finishing some plan drawings, coming home and having a nap, then spending some
time in the garden this evening.