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Thursday, May 4, 2017


Moana is more than the sum of its parts.  When you break it down into its parts, it's just a bunch of overused tropes -- the parents of the heroine tell her to 'settle', and she doesn't like that.  The exact same thing that happened in Zootopia, or the Little Mermaid for that matter.  There's a talking crab just like in the Little Mermaid.  There's a dumb animal sidekick mascot, just like every Disney movie.  There's songs and dances and it's all in CG.  Okay.  So why is Moana so deeply moving?

Moana has more in common with Apollo 13 than other Disney films.  That's what it is at its heart.  It celebrates the brave pioneers, the explorers, the people who were willing to brave the horizon in order to find more.  For these Polynesians, the ocean was the final frontier.  And they are amazing for having settled every last corner of the world, long before the Europeans ever 'discovered' it.

The song that encapsulates that pioneer spirit is fantastic.  It's deeply moving.  It's exactly right.  The lyrics are spot on.  We don't want to settle with what we've always had.  There's so much more out there than this.

Moana relies on her skills as a sailor to overcome a dark god that magic items are no match for.  Because in the end a human's strength is their intellect, not some stupid super power.  It's her intelligence, insight, and courage that wins the day, not brute force.  That's how you overcome nature, you use finesse.

Moana's beautiful in a distinctly exotic way.  I love it.  She's a champion of her people, not just one more princess in a long line of Disney princesses.

The perils of the sea are not downplayed.  Moana gets into real trouble, just like the real Polynesians must have every time they dared to search for new islands over hundreds or thousands of miles of open sea.  The fact that she can overcome these perils is a testament to the human spirit.

I love how Moana talks about a people, and a culture, that no previous movie has ever addressed.  It may be a small and insignificant detail of human history that a few islands in the Pacific were settled by a small population of fishermen.  But even these people have a right to a moment of your time, right?  Everybody has a story to tell.

Moana's a gem.  It may be navigating in familiar waters, but it arrives at a wholly new destination.

Meanwhile, Sum of All Fears was too boring and unrealistic to merit watching.  I guess without Harrison Ford, Jack Ryan movies just aren't interesting in the least.

Now that all the new movies are out of the way, all that's left is to finish my rewatch of Firefly by rewatching Serenity.  It was a fun haul though, in order of quality, it goes:

1.  Logan
2.  Moana
3.  Suicide Squad
4.  Dr. Strange

The rest were unwatchable.  But these four are all must-see movies now sitting pretty in my hall of fame.

Meanwhile, the House finally repealed Obamacare.  Since I never got health care, and also never paid their stupid individual mandate penalty, this was just one more 'your existence is illegal' crime I was breaking.  But now thankfully that individual mandate will no longer exist, and I can go back to being a free man again.  What a ludicrous world we live in, where if you don't buy expensive things you can't afford you're an enemy of the state.  Vinland wouldn't have stupid health care systems, either.  You would be given a citizen's dividend, and then use the money however you please.  If you want health care, you can buy health care with it.  If you'd rather just die when your natural lifespan's time is up, you can use the money to feed your kids or build a house.  Instead of a mandate forcing you to buy stuff with money you don't have, we would give you money to buy what you truly desire, and let you set your own course in life.

At least now America is slightly less hellish for me than it was the day before.  All thanks to my voting for Trump.  He promised he'd repeal Obamacare, and now he has.  Keep it up, Trump!  You're the best President since Eisenhower, and I'm proud to have put you in that chair.

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