Matt's Movie Watching World

Opinion of the Week (Nov. 27 ‒ Dec. 3, 2016)

Review: Moana (2016) <7+

This was a good Disney movie to look forward to for a while. It's more about an ancient culture than about an imaginary setting that many Disney movies recently have been about. That culture is the south Pacific and Polynesia, and it feels good that Disney picked this location for its setting for the first time. I like the character design and that we can see the Disney style in the appearance of the movie, as well as the Disney feeling of magic that exists in the setting, that of Polynesian myth/legend, with a demigod character who can shape-shift into various animals with the help of a large magical fish hook, and also with magical sea and monster effects. Unfortunately, this movie and its plot as a whole didn't entertain me or make me laugh or feel inspired or emotional like other recent Disney movies have. Some aspects of the movie had moderate quality. The story line isn't too long or too short, but plot elements pull in different directions in a way that feels like the action is taking place later in the story than it should. The movie is an hour and 47 minutes long, which is longer than the average animated movie length, which is okay. It's a musical, and the songs are fine, but it's not as memorable as the average Disney musical. I like that there are quite a few non-human characters in this movie, including, to start with, a pig and a chicken; this feels like Disney to me. But these two animals don't have names that are clearly spoken to the audience, and the pig doesn't come along with Moana on her adventure. The chicken does, and this is a mentally handicapped chicken who provides a few laughs, but it doesn't do anything else that's deeply interesting. I'm not a big fan of tattoos, but they're more culturally acceptable in the Polynesian setting that the movie takes place in than in the America I live in, and there's something I love about the animated Maui tattoo character on Maui's skin; this feels like Disney to me. And I hope everyone who sees this movie realizes and never forgets that in this movie, the ocean itself is a character, my favorite character in this movie, a character who thinks and chooses and makes its own twists and turns; this feels like Disney to me. And then there are also some little coconut pirates, a giant crab character, and a lava monster, all that have their varying degrees of interesting-ness and Disney-ness. My wish is that there were more monsters, not all too scary-looking for the kids, but enough to keep things moving at an action-steady pace, and I realize that's a hard balance to keep. So it all adds up to a moderate movie to Disney standards. This is the 200th Disney movie I've seen, and this is the 50th feature that I've seen from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Coincidentally, as of this typing, it right now falls in the middle of both of those lists from best to worst, #100 out of the 200, and #25 out of the 50.


How to make the most of Matt's Movie Watching World

1: Come visit this page, the Facebook page, and the Twitter page whenever you feel like it. I recommend that you visit often. You decide what qualifies as "often." See what movies I have seen recently, which ones I have added to my list, and which ones I have added reviews for since the last time you visited.
2: Familiarize yourself with my system of rating movies. I rate movies on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best. I also add + and - signs to many of my ratings, similar to grading systems in school. Most movies I watch get a 7 or 8, while 10's and ratings less than 5 are rare. I think of this as being because I'm often too optimistic to think most movies deserve less than 5, and I'm too realistic to think most movies deserve higher than 9. Sometimes I feel like I rate movies on a scale from 6 to 9, 9 being pretty good. I encourage you to use the same or similar system when you rate your own movies.
3: When my "last movie watched" section says "in theater," that means that that movie is the most recent movie I have seen in the theater. When it says "for first time," that means it's the most recent movie I have added to my list. If the last movie I watched, the last movie I added to my list, and the last movie I saw in the theater are three different movies, then three different movies would appear on the page. If two of those movies are the same, then two movies appear. If one movie counts as all three, then only one movie appears.
4: Understand that I like a lot of Disney, animated, and family movies. I like a good number of superhero movies, comedies, sci-fi, and fantasy movies. I watch and like other movies too, but accept that I think these kids' movies and other varieties are some of the best movies ever made.
5: Understand that I haven't seen every movie. I've seen a lot of movies, and I've heard of a great deal more movies, but I'm only one person. I do other things besides watch movies sometimes, so to save time and money, I have to pick and choose which ones I care enough to watch. And some movies I could have seen earlier I see later instead.
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7: Whenever you think about a movie, whether I've seen it or not, think to yourself, "I wonder if Matt/MMWW has seen that movie," or "I wonder what Matt/MMWW thinks about that movie." Come to the page, click on the movies list and/or reviews chart, type ctrl-F or command-F (find) to search for the movies you're interested in, see what I think, and if you've seen the movie, compare your thoughts to my thoughts. There will be some ways we agree, and there may be some ways we disagree, and both are okay. If I haven't posted on Facebook recently about a specific movie, feel free to type something directly on my Facebook wall.
8: If you feel like watching a movie, but don't know which one to watch, come to my page, click on the movies list, and look over my top 100 favorite movies, marked in yellow, and watch a movie you haven’t seen before. To expand, feel free to look over my top 200 or 300, not marked in yellow. Look over anything I give an 8 or higher, or 7+ or 7. Obviously, the ones closer to the top of the list I tend to recommend more than the ones under them. If you're looking for a recent movie, playing in the theaters or recently released on home video, type ctrl-F or command-F (find) and look for this year or last year. Watch a movie or a few movies that are high on the list.
9: Look over my list and find out movies you have seen and enjoy that are not on my list. Try to analyze my list, reviews, and opinions to figure out what movies I might be likely to enjoy. Post on my Facebook page your recommendations. If I like a recommendation, and if I like a movie you've recommended, then you'll know you've contributed a little to Matt's Movie Watching World.
10: If you're an everyday visitor, look at my Quote of the Day. Try to guess what movie each line and character come from, then drag your cursor over the empty space in the box to see if you’re right. (Hint: The Princess Bride, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Forrest Gump, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl are my most quoted movies.) Have fun with this even if you’re not an everyday visitor.
11: If you miss out on seeing my reviews and other opinions featured as Opinion of the Week, or simply have a curiosity about what I've written about in the past, look over my Opinion of the Week archive on Facebook.
12: Look at my Gunnther Awards page to see what I think about the best in various categories for every year (or at least the last 30 years). Do this especially during awards season.
13: I always have a box on my page that counts down to my most-anticipated movie being released sometime less than 9 months away. This countdown number changes every day, but I don't change what movie I'm counting down to more than 2 or 3 times a year, so don't expect a new movie countdown often, unless the number has been pretty low recently.
14: Films and movies are essentially the same thing, but films are for reviewing and studying, and movies are for watching and enjoying.
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I review and study films. I watch and enjoy movies.

This is my world. Thanks for visiting.