Am I still allowed to say Happy New Year this far into January? I don’t know. The etiquette, like most etiquette, eludes me.
Normally at the end of the year I do a roundup of the whole year’s blogposts, but this year I didn’t. I meant to, but instead spent a large chunk of the festive season here:
And watching baboons do this:
Which left no time for either festive recommendations or end of year reflections. I would do it now, but it feels a bit late and I can’t be bothered.
So instead let me recommend something which might make you happy:
I think Moana is just amazing. Easily my favourite film of last year. And this year so far, I guess.
All I want when I go to the cinema is to enjoy the film. If I’m not enjoying the film my brain starts to analyse why it’s not grabbing me:
“Oh, there isn’t a protagonist, there’s just a bunch of people milling around.”
“None of these characters want to be in the movie, they don’t want anything except to be left alone. I hope they hurry up and achieve their goal so I can go home too.”
“Hang on, when those people killed her mother she thought they were bastards, but when the other people killed her father (who she apparently loved more) she decides they’re the good guys?”
And so on.
Moana has none of those problems, it’s just beautiful in every possible sense of the word.
The characters have clear and concise goals with clear and concise reasons why they can’t achieve them without fundamentally changing who they are. And those reasons are good! They’re the kind of reasons we’d all be conflicted about.
The locations are just stunning, the animation is incredible, the songs are superb. I mean, listen to them:
Everything works, everything gels together.
There are no moments where characters suddenly change their minds and do completely the opposite of what they’ve just done for no other reason than the plot demands it.
There’s no sudden monologue-ing from the villain who’s just murdered everyone else but somehow intuits that this person is the protagonist of the movie he doesn’t know he’s in and deserves a bit of a chat.
Nor is there a sudden culling of characters immediately after (not before or during to add tension and a sense of ‘oh fuck they’re not going to make it!’) they’ve completed their allotted task because no one can think of anything else for them to do and it’s less work to just bump them off.
Moana is one of those films where the mechanics of it are so Swiss-watch perfect I didn’t even notice them until well after the film has finished and I was on my way home.
I found it so joyful and life affirming and magnificent that merely thinking about it brings a smile to my face.
Obviously after this kind of build up you’ll think it’s terrible … but I loved it and can’t recommend it enough.
If you’re feeling a touch of the January blues then you could do far worse than heading on down to your local cinema and giving it a go.
It’s reminded me of the kind of films I want to write, maybe not in content but in terms of the emotional effect it’s had on me. Hopefully that inspiration will stay with me for the year ahead.
So Happy New Moana Year to you and may you always know the way.