Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

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Summary: Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. I love Emily Blunt and I think she did a great job as Mary Poppins. I always saw her as a character who is there to help you when you need it, not to do the work for you. She’s the kind of person who will allow you to try to make the mistake, make the effort before she steps in. It’s important life lessons. I love her snarky and “chilly” comebacks and how vain she is. She looks at her reflection whenever she can. I mean do you girl lol. She is very loving though which is clearly shown in how she handles the children. I also loved the moments where it’s clear she’s sad or emotional about what’s happening. There’s a scene where Michael is yelling at his children, her facial expression was a bit sad. I think Emily Blunt had a lot of fun in this role. I think she was a great choice to pick up where Julie Andrews’ left off. She was energetic when she needed to be, she was stern/firm and her facial expressions and her affected kind of posh tone of voice was great!
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack. Is there anything this guy can’t do!? Jack is a cockney lamplighter and he’s basically the Bert of this film. Jack is extremely likable, he’s a nice and sweet guy who helps whenever he can. I like his childlike energy whenever he’s with the kids but he’s still an adult because he has his role in the world, but he takes great pleasure in it. He has his community and he’s proud of it. I also like that he’s basically ride-or-die with Mary Poppins lol. Must have gotten those tips from Bert lol. LMM was fun to watch. I knew he’d be fine, but I was curious because I’ve only really known him from his work behind the camera more so than in front of it. But the camera loves him and it’s clear he loves the camera. I think Jack could have been annoying, but he manages not to do that.
  • Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks. He is working as a part-time teller at his father’s bank. He is a struggling artist who was recently widowed. He’s very sad at the start of the film, where he really doesn’t know what to do or how to handle life without his wife. His song “Conversation” really talks about that and it’s a sad song and I think Ben Whishaw does a good job in the role. I think he’s a great emotional actor anyway. He has a lot of great moments in the film. He has basically walked in his father’s footsteps but in a different way. Mr. Banks wanted his kids to grow up, but Michael’s kids have already done that and he’s just too in his head to realize they didn’t need to do that, or at least shouldn’t have too.
  • Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks. Jane isn’t as prominent in the film, but she is Michael’s big sister, so she would have to be included. She has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is a labor organizer. Her main issue is that she seems to have forgotten her own life due to her need to help others all the time. Jane is so willing to help her brother that she even forgoes going to work because he needed her more. That’s love right there! But she’s forgotten herself. I always find Emily Mortimer sweet to watch on-screen. She’s likable and she looks like a grown-up Jane (more than Whishaw looks like an adult Michael lol).
The Children. We get three kids this time. There were times where I felt that it might have been too much to have three but thinking about it, it wasn’t detrimental to the film and the three kids worked well together.
  • Pixie Davies as Annabel Banks. She is one of the twins along with John and she has grown up exponentially in the last year after their mother’s deaths that she is a little adult. It seems like she’s the older twin because she seems to call the shots and even takes the lead most of the time. She will also do anything for her brothers, shown by the many times she has gone after Georgie without hesitation. She also has the idea to sell their mother’s bowl to help pay for the house. Pixie Davies is cute and fine in her role. She is likable, which is hard sometimes when you have kids who are acting like grownups because of situations that require them to be. Usually they’re annoying, but she’s not.
  • Nathanael Saleh as John Banks. Very similar to Annabel’s character just in boy form lol. I do think he’s the younger twin, but he also is on the same wavelength as Annabel when it comes to acting like an adult. We see them taking care of their father as he seems to be forgetful of adulting due to his grief. They’ve taken it rather well for a pair of 10-year-olds. I’m assuming their 10-12. Nathanael Selah is adorable lol and likable.
  • Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks. He is the youngest Banks child and the one who is the most like a child. The others often look or run after him because of whatever he might get himself into. He’s super cute. Also, a likable kid.
Musical Numbers. The big thing that sells this movie besides Mary Poppins is the musical numbers. There are a lot of numbers in here that are sweet, grand and fun to watch. “The Place Where Lost Things Go”, is a great song, it’s basically a lullaby and it’s very sweet, it really helps the movie come to its conclusion towards the end. “Can You Imagine That?” was a fun song in the bathtub, “A Cover is Not the Book” was also fun, and I loved that they allowed Lin Manuel-Miranda to rap. Lastly, the “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is the Lamplighters song led by Jack and it was fun to watch.
Sweet Message. I think there are a few messages going on here, but the two that stand out is “don’t forget what it’s like to be a child”, which is like the first film. Secondly, I would say “family” is also a major part of the film. Michael is so stricken with grief that his children must grow up quickly to make up for the loss of their mother, not to mention, he’s so preoccupied with being a grownup, that he forgets that the important moments are with his children. As for “family”, it goes hand in hand with the first message as Michael needs to get his head together for his kids. I think that’s always important. As for Jane, it’s more like a “live your life” as she seems to help Michael a lot, which is good, but she seems to forget herself in the process, which is why her little side plot, while conventional, was cute.
Fun and Enjoyment. This film does have a brighter color palate than the first film, which works for not only 2018 but for the 1930’s London they’ve created. I think there are a lot of sequences in this film that are spectacle and so much fun to watch. Like I mentioned before, three of the musical numbers really stood out to me (not counting the Lullaby song), “Can You Imagine That?” in the bathtub was cute; “A Cover Is Not the Book” while in the china bowl was what I’d consider the BIG number and I thought it delivered. Probably one of the best musical numbers of the film. Lastly, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is the like the “Step in Time” number from the first as it’s a Jack led number with his Lamplighters and it was fun as well.
Beautiful Costumes. Sandy Powell does the costume work here and it’s so beautiful. You have probably seen her other works like The Favourite. But her work is soooo good, particularly on Mary Poppins and Jane’s characters. The other characters also had nice costumes that fit in the time, the attention to details in the kid’s clothes and even their looks whenever they went on their adventures were great to look at it. However, I loved all of Mary Poppins’ looks.
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This blue coat is everything. I loved her hat as well. Every time they zoomed in on her shoes, I was like “Oh so pretty!” I also love the red coat she wears later. When they go into the china world, they’re wearing clothes that look made of china and it’s so lovely. I mean, the white dress Mary Poppins wears in the chalk drawing is iconic but I liked the pink dress.
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Great costumes!!! The attention to detail were great. The film is set in the 30’s so it’s clear that the costumes reflect that and while Mary’s look has updated, you know it’s supposed to still be the same character we know and love from Julie Andrew’s portrayal. The silhouette is essentially the same with some updates to her look, like the fringed cape. Either way, it’s lovely.
Cinematography/Visual Effects. It is a beautiful movie. It has a very clear and almost bright look to it compared to the darker/grittier look of the first one, especially while in London. All the musical numbers have these grand CGI experiences with these bright colors and it really helps it feel magical in those moments.
Cons:
Musical Numbers. Yes, I know it’s here as well as in the pros BUT there are so many songs and musical numbers in this film it feels bloated and you get fatigued quickly. It seemed like this film had way more songs than in the first, I checked and the first had I think at least two more performed numbers, but for some reason (and I am a musical person, this never happens), I started to get a little annoyed at how much they sang everything. I also think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they weren’t as ear-catching as they may have wanted them to be. I don’t really remember what any of them sounded like. None really stood out in terms of the songs afterwards. I think that’s the problem. They just don’t stand out.
Falls Flat. Another big issue I had was the ending. We have something we’re building up to with them losing their house, but it doesn’t seem to me that the movie remembers that throughout the film. It’s great that Mary Poppins has returned but did she really need to? I mean, sure, she helped the kids be kids again and gave help here and there but it’s not the quite the same punch as it is in the first with Mr. Banks trying to make Michael be a man too early. The tension isn’t there. I just didn’t feel a satisfying conclusion in this movie. It’s like things happen to make the movie move forward but it didn’t really have anything to do with the main plot of them losing their house. Ya know? Mary Poppins even says, “I’m here to look after the Banks children” and when the child says “Us??” She says, “oh yes you too.” But she was talking about Jane and Michael, but she never really does anything with them. I guess it was through the children and then whole thing with Jane and Jack.
Overall, I really enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns. I think it was a fun movie with a great cast with good chemistry with each other who loved their characters and who had a great deal of fun. Emily Blunt steals the show as Mary Poppins. LMM does a great job with Jack and the kids are all enjoyable as well. Ben Whishaw is also a standout as he holds a lot of the emotional weight in the film. The musical numbers are fun to watch with energetic music and the visuals for this film are outstanding. THE COSTUMES! *dies* It has a sweet message and I think it’s a great bit of entertainment. Now, I do think the songs, while the numbers were fun, the songs weren’t (with a few exceptions) standouts. It seemed like there were too many in such short spans of time that it began to feel annoying and the film bloated. I also don’t think it lives up to the magic it wanted to inspire. It falls flat for me and I’m not left feeling like the story was worth telling. But I think it’s worth the watch to see Mary Poppins live on again.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Mary Poppins Returns? Is this your introduction to Mary Poppins? If so, what’s the matter with you! Watch the first one! What are your thoughts. Comment below and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading!

 

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Oscars 2017 Recap

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So the 2017 Academy Awards! Just like last year, my friend and I tried to watch as many as we could. A lot of them, I saw before the nominations were announced so there some headway regardless. So this piece, is just for me to recap what happened Sunday night, or at least some of the more memorable things. I will also put the winners here as well.
Also, I tried to get all of my reviews up before the Oscars, but between work, school and me being tired, it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, so I have some movie reviews coming up in the next few days. Hopefully they will go in this order, but we’ll see. There are also some book reviews in there.
Captain Fantastic, Collateral Beauty, John Wick: Chapter 2, Get Out, Moonlight, and Rock Dog. 
Kong: Skull Island should be coming some time this week as well.
Oscars 2017 Winners!
Best Picture: Moonlight
Actor in a Leading Role: Casey Affleck- Manchester by the Sea
Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone- La La Land
Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali- Moonlight
Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis- Fences
Animated Feature Film: Zootopia
Cinematography: La La Land
Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Directing: La La Land
Documentary (Feature): O.J. Made in America
Documentary (Short Subject): The White Helmets
Film Editing: Hacksaw Ridge
Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Makeup and Hairstyling: Suicide Squad
Music (Original Score): La La Land
Music (Original Song): “City of Stars” from La La Land
Production Design: La La Land
Short Film (Animated): Piper
Short Film (Live Action): Sing
Sound Editing: Arrival
Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge
Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Moonlight
Writing (Original Screenplay): Manchester by the Sea
Memorable Moments
The Red Carpet is always amazing. It’s so fun to see what people decide to wear. I know people don’t always pay attention to the guys, but there was some dapper men dressed up last night. Some of my favorite looks.
      Viola Davis                                    Hailee Steinfeld                                Brie Larson
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Emma Stone                             Taraji P. Henson                         Dev Patel
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Janelle Monae                         Kirsten Dunst                   Octavia Spencer
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Mahershala Ali                        Riz Ahmed                         John Legend & Chrissy Teigan
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I mean, I think there were others I liked, but off the top of my head, these are the ones I remembered. Now here are the ones I was like… meh.
     Dakota Johnson                            Jessica Biel
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This next picture… I liked her dress… but the winner of the night was her hair. I think Halle Berry usually looks great on the red carpet. I’m not a fan of her acting most times but she can show up on the carpet. However, I don’t know what happened with her hair here. It looked like it was going to take flight. Twitter was ablaze with comments, it was hilarious.
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Jimmy Kimmel. I don’t know. I mean, there were definitely times where I enjoyed him. The Hunger Games like tribute air drop things were cute. There was a joke he made about Moonlight in the beginning “All of the movies are sad this year, a lot of them have no happy endings unless you count the middle of Moonlight” or something like that, that made me cackle. But he was inconsistent, at least in his humor (but humor is subjective ya know).
I didn’t particularly like the Tour Bus thing. I mean, it was cute, I enjoyed how some of the people were reacting, but after a while, it started to be a bit too long. I know I would have been embarrassed after being walking around a movie lot, or being on a tour bus for a while. I mean, I would want to meet people whose work I admire while looking nice.
Lin Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho perform “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.
So I loved this performance. It was so great. The video is below for your viewing pleasure. I did want Lin-Manuel Miranda to win and get his EGOT, I love the movie, I love the song. I wish he would have won but at least we got to see this performance because Auli’i Cravalho is a professional and I think she has a bright future ahead of her.
The Best Picture Flub
You can watch the awkwardness below. So, it’s no surprise that I quite enjoyed La La Land. It was my favorite of the year last year, at least I kept going back and forth with that and Zootopia. I even gave it a 5/5 which I still stand by, going over it again, I would recognize a couple more “cons” but I wouldn’t change my score. With that said, I don’t think it’s Best Picture worthy. I wouldn’t have voted for it, especially after I saw Moonlight. So, I was rooting for Moonlight to win most of the awards it was nominated for: Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
I thought it was strange how Warren Beatty kept pausing and looking around when he was supposed to be calling the winner. Faye Dunaway laughed and was urging him to say the winner. I thought “what is he doing?”, then he showed her the card and she shouted “La La Land!” and I went “NO! BOOO!” and of course Twitter exploded, as did some of my friends on Facebook. Someone immediately said “F*** right off” (that cracked me up). I was already looking for the gif from Get Out where the “maid” said “no, no, no”. I wasn’t listening to the speeches until Jordan Horowitz (Producer from La La Land) interrupted and said it was a mistake. I sat up so quickly “Are they serious?” “What’s going on?” “This isn’t funny.” I watched as Horowitz said it was a mistake, snatched the card away from Warren Beatty (I mean, chill out lol), and showed us the card. It sure enough said Moonlight. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even react the way I wanted to initially. Mr. Beatty explained what happened and I feel bad for him, but I think he also should have said something when he was confused, instead after Faye Dunaway read the card (which she also should have looked more closely), he just let the crew of La La Land come up. It was strange. I do feel bad for everyone involved. That’s harsh but YAY FOR MOONLIGHT! Much more deserving.
My thoughts on Awards Given
I didn’t get the chance to see everything that won but I saw a nice majority and a lot of the awards I agree with.
I do think La La Land was deserving in their Cinematography and Music (Original Score) wins. I don’t think they should have won Best Director or Production Design (I think I missed something but I’m not sure what it is). I’m still salty about that Original Song though.
Moonlight won for Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and it also should have won for Best Directing (I will definitely go into that when I post my review).
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them rightfully won for Costume Design and should have also won for Production Design. Yay for a Harry Potter film to win an Oscar, it was a long time coming.
Suicide Squad won for Makeup and Hairstyling. I’m legit cackling and rolling my eyes because now that film can call it self an Oscar winner but I mean, one of the things it did right was the look of the characters. So, I guess it can have that.
Zootopia rightfully won for Best Animated Feature Film because it’s amazing. I would have been okay if any of the nominees won because I liked them all, but Zootopia is the better film out of the options (though I think Kubo and the Two Strings was the biggest contender).
  • I saw someone say on Twitter that Zootopia was the Crash of Animated Films and that actually made me upset. I don’t agree. I saw Crash once, a long time ago and I thought it was preachy and tried to do too much, there was some good stuff in it but it felt forceful (not to mention, no one really wanted it to win). However, Zootopia was very clever in how they handled the topics presented, it’s a very two tones film, very layered. It can be watched as a kid’s movie, no worries in the world, it’s cute, it’s colorful, fun and the characters are all likable. Crash was not like that. On the other hand, it also had a lot of deep undertones, talking about racial and gender equality among other things. I remember seeing it for the first time and going “okay cute movie” then it turned into “wow… Disney, that’s deep.” So I disagree with that statement so much.
Casey Affleck vs Denzel Washington for Actor in a Leading Role.
So I saw both films, I think Manchester by the Sea was a great movie as was Fences. I thought both actors did great jobs in their roles, and I think it’s easy to see why Denzel wanted that award so much, August Wilson is important to him, that play is important to him and I personally think he should have won. It seemed to me that Casey Affleck thought the same thing due to his reaction to winning. I’m sure he was grateful for the win, but he seemed so flustered that his head was down almost the entire time. Both films are a lot to take in and both performances were nuanced in their own way but I thought Denzel Washington was stronger. I knew it was going to be between the two of them but it was interesting to see what happened.
Emma Stone for Actress in a Leading Role.
I don’t really have a problem with this only because La La Land was the only film I saw in the Actress in a Leading Role category. I wanted to see the others, but I didn’t get the chance unfortunately. I thought Ruth Negga had a chance from what I heard of her performance (plus, it would have been nice to see all Actor awards held by black people but ya know), but I wasn’t upset by this because of that fact. I may feel differently once I see the other films (like how I was upset at Jennifer Lawrence beating out Quvenzhané Wallis that one year) but can’t say about it for now. Besides, I thought Emma Stone did very well in La La Land, she was the star of that film. Just make smart after Oscar choices Emma. I’ll still like you though regardless.
Actor and Actress in Supporting Roles.
Viola Davis in Fences
Oh my goodness, so deserving. I still feel like she should have been nominated for Actress in a Leading Role and I think she should win for that but who knows if they would have picked her over Emma Stone in that category. Her speech was amazing. She is amazing. That dress was amazing. VIOLA!!! She is the only black woman to have an Emmy, Oscar and Tony all for acting. A coworker said that now Beyonce just needs to sample Viola’s speech in a song so Viola can get her Grammy and have her EGOT lol. I agree! She can do no wrong to me, she is amazing. I also know she had me all the way stressed out on that “How To Get Away with Murder” finale though. I need answers Viola.
Mahershala Ali in Moonlight.
I don’t want to talk about this much here as I’m going to do a review for the film, but this dude is amazing. First thing I saw him in was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 and (unfortunately) which I didn’t realize he was in those. He was a standout in Free State of Jones and then of course “Luke Cage” where he was also a standout (scary dude), he was in Kicks (which was one of my favorite movies last year) and then this film. He deserves all the awards. His speech was also very well done. He seems so likable, and he is fine. I can’t wait to see what else he’s going to do.
So that’s my Oscars 2017 Recap. Stay tuned for my Captain Fantastic movie review!
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Moana (2016) Review

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First of all, when this movie was announced two years ago (I think), I was excited. I saw some designs of Moana and I immediately got even more excited because it seemed like the care going into this film was going to be extreme in a good way. Then they announced Dwayne Johnson’s character and design which I thought was cool, then when they casted for Moana, I was even more excited because not only is she an actual teenager but she is a person of color!! Then, as I fell down the Hamilton rabbit hole, I realized that Lin-Manuel Miranda was collaborating on the music which got me even more excited… so I was a bundle of excitement.
Summary: In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
Auli’i Cravalho as Moana. This is her first film but she comes off like a pro in her voice acting. So the voice acting for Moana is wonderful, we don’t really know how old Moana is but it’s safe to say she is a teenager, a curious, adventurous teenager and Cravalho is able to maintain this strength in the character even if she’s unsure. When she’s being forceful especially towards Maui, you can hear the nerves as she is trying to be strong. You can hear her emotion, her sadness, her happiness and excitement. Her struggle within herself with her duties back home but her love for the sea is so evident in her voice that she pulls you right into the character. Moana herself is a well written heroine, she reminded me of Mulan in terms of her actions but I think she stands on her own as a Disney heroine (notice I didn’t say princess). She is the daughter of the chief, which makes her the heir to their tribe and she must prepare to take on her role but her spirit is called to the sea and she struggles with that. I think that is handled so well with her character and the way it is pulled together… oh yeah.
Dwayne Johnson as Maui. I love Dwayne Johnson and he is so funny with this character. His voice is so smooth but it also comes off condescending and arrogant at times which is perfect for this character. When Maui sings, you can tell that Johnson had a great time recording, it shows in the song. He clearly had a great time with his character overall. Now Maui as a character, was partly not what I was expecting, I should have known though because it’s Disney. The way he’s portrayed in the trailers and what not, I had a different idea of him compared to what was on screen, which was fine. I liked it. I think his arc is pretty great.
Rachel House as Grandma Tala. She was great, she is Moana’s grandmother (obviously) and the town’s crazy person. While everyone does their duties, she’s down at the water hulaing. She teaches Moana to love the sea, she already does, but Grandma Tala helps her fully realize it. That’s all I’ll say on her because her presence must be experienced in the film.
The Ocean. The ocean is it’s own character. It chose Moana to break the curse and the way it helps her… I love it.
Secondary Characters. Chief Tui, Sina, HeiHei and Tamatoa are the other characters in the film. They’re secondary but their parts are pretty important. Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) is Moana’s father and while he is the usual Disney father character, I like how his reasons for the way he is is shown in the film, to give both us and Moana a better understanding of him. Sina (Nicole Scherzinger) is her mother, which of course is amazing in itself that she has both of her parents lol, but she’s great and supportive and there is a scene with her during Moana’s reprise song (I think) and it made me emotional. HeiHei (Alan Tudyk) he’s a chicken lol, or more a rooster, and he’s comic relief in a lot of ways. Tamatoa (Jemaine Clement) without giving anything away about him in this review, he’s great, kind of scary but great lol.
The Music. Disney always does great with the music. Mark Mancina (the score), Lin-Manuel Miranda (songs) and Opetaia Foa’i (songs) did the music in this film and OH MY GOODNESS I CAN’T EVEN TAKE IT! I bought the soundtrack before I saw the film, I didn’t listen to the entire thing but what I did listen to I already loved. The songs are both in English and the Tokelauan language (a Polynesian language). When the film starts and the Disney logo comes on screen the first song immediately begins and I got chills. The entire score is magnificent but the standout songs are: Where You Are, How Far I’ll Go (sung by Moana), You’re Welcome (sung by Maui), and We Know the Way and I think any of these songs will be chosen for an Oscar contender. Miranda wrote the lyrics for Maui and Moana’s songs and I think it’s easy to tell that he did. Opetaia Foa’i is part of an Oceanic music group which helps in that the music is very heavy in Polynesian culture.
The animation and designs. Disney as per usual has great graphics but I love how they’re depicted here. First of all, Moana herself is animated realistically. She is thicker than all of the previous heroines, she has muscle and she looks Polynesian. Her hair is very realistic, I read they used a different type of program to make her hair more realistic which it is, it’s long and thick and when it gets wet, it actually gets wet and deflates lol. Cracked me up in thinking of my own hair and how it does that. Her clothes are also great and practical, I read that they designed her clothing to give her movement and to be able to do physical stunts. Pays off. Maui looks like Dwayne Johnson. His body is based off of him, I mean to an extent lol. I love his tattoos and how they are literally part of his character and not just to be there. The way her island tribe looks is so beautiful. There is another character, I don’t want to give it away but the design on her is so beautiful that when she’s on screen, it’s breathtaking. The villain’s look as well is pretty amazing.
Moana and Maui’s relationship. I love great friendships and these two have such a great relationship in the film. They first meet and she’s trying to get him to face his mistakes and help her but he’s pretty selfish. They end up having a kind of antagonist relationship but it grows and I love it.
The emotions. This movie made me cry the entire time. There are moments for emotions but I think I was emotional because I was overwhelmed.
The Culture. It’s easy to tell there was a lot of research that went into this film. The way they speak about navigation, how it’s portrayed, the culture of Moana’s people themselves, the religious aspects (especially evident in Moana’s faith in the ocean)… it’s prevalent and I think it helps encourage viewers to learn more about Polynesia and the Pacific Islands. No we did not see this culture with Lilo and Stitch, different island, different people. They’re all Pacific Islanders but the cultures have differences. Research.
The story. Outside of the underlying ideas being the same, I think the execution of it and the twists are pretty nice. I like how Moana’s reasons for leaving are layered. The island is dying, the food is now scarce and she tries to get past the reef of their island to find more fish, but something happens that scares her. However, her grandmother helps her find her way and a new mission begins. She must still save her island but it’s bigger than that now too.
Cons.
Certain cliche tropes. The idea of the heroine leaving home to save her people has been done before, the idea of the heroine being torn between duty and something she loves has been done before, the thing she loves is forbidden because of something happening in the past… all of these tropes have been done before and aren’t original. Her father doesn’t want her to go out past the safety of their lagoon and she obviously goes anyway after discovering something about her people’s past which turns into that trope of the parent realizing they were wrong.
The villain. This is here not really because the villain is a bad villain but… perhaps not a villain at all? I mean, I called it but ya know.
Fun Facts:
There are three actors from Hamilton in the film, Christopher Jackson who originated George Washington does the singing voice for Chief Tui. Phillipa Soo who originated Eliza Schuyler is in the film and Jordan Fisher who has taken over for Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton on Broadway sings the pop version of “You’re Welcome” in the credits.
Auli’i Cravalho just so happens to look like Moana, she was designed before Cravalho was casted.
Maui was designed after Dwayne Johnson. He was the only person they wanted for him and reached out to Johnson directly.
Overall: I looove Moana. The first five minutes I was in tears because I was overwhelmed with the film. I think a lot of has to do with the fact that they took such care in this film, with the culture, the designs, the music. It was a lot and I loved it. I love that this heroine of color was so strong and realistic. I identified a lot with her. The music was beautiful and helps amplifies the film, the characters are all interesting and lovable. I think this is one of Disney’s best in a very long time. I enjoyed it more than Frozen and (edited here)I really liked it but not more than Zootopia. I think Zootopia is a complex film and Moana, while amazing, sticks to a lot of themes we’ve seen.
Regardless, Moana is a great family friendly film. I think if you love Disney, you’ll love this film. It’s beautifully handled. Go see it.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
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My Love For Hamilton

So I’m sure by now everyone has heard of Hamilton, or at least know of it. Even if you have absolutely no idea what it is, you probably heard the name.
So for those of you that don’t know.
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The Background:
Hamilton: An American Musical (full title) is a Broadway musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It was inspired by the biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. From what I read, Lin-Manuel said he needed something thick to read while on vacation, he picked up this biography and it gripped him. Alexander Hamilton spoke to him.
The show currently runs on Broadway and in Chicago and unless I sell both my kidneys and a lung, I will never see the show on Broadway (especially now since the Original Broadway Cast has/is moving on). The Original Cast is amazing, there are a few videos on YouTube of them performing at the White House, shows just how awesome sauce they are outside of a recorded album. They sound the same!! At least to my ears through computer speakers.
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The Cast Album is the entire show. The show is sung throughout, similar to Les Miserables so luckily, you can “watch” the entire show just by listening to the album. Trust me, it’s worth it. It’s amazing.
The Obsession Begins: I cannot even begin to explain that amazingness that is this album. When it began to rise, I heard of it, I heard that it was remarkable (everyone was talking about it) and that it told Alexander Hamilton’s story (who at the time, I knew was the dude on the $10, was the Treasury Secretary and was ultimately killed by Aaron Burr in a duel) using Hip Hop and Rap as it’s storytelling basis. Already, that sounded interesting but I didn’t listen to it yet. Eventually, I got the album, but still didn’t listen to it. It wasn’t until maybe a week or so later that I decided to listen to it on the way home after dropping my older sister off at her house, which was about a thirty minute drive.
“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot…”
*bobs head to music and kind of starts snapping along*
“Pardon me, are you Aaron Burr sir?… Talk less, smile more… I’m John Laurens in the place to be… Lafayette the Lancelot of the revolutionary set… I’m Hercules Mulligan up in it, lovin’ it, yes I heard ya mother say ‘come again'” 
*Okay now*
“I am not throwing my shot… a bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionist, give a position show me where the AMMUNITION IS!…Rise up, when you’re living on your knees, you rise up… I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.”
*This is dope, deep and I think I’m in love.*
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“A toast to the groom…intelligent eyes in a hunger pang frame…it’s the feeling of freedom of seeing the light it’s Ben Franklin with a key and kite, you see it right?… I’m a girl in a world in which my only job is to marry rich…I know my sister like I know my own mind, you will never find anyone as trusting or as kind… may you always be satisfied!”
*O.O. and replays song. O.O replays song*
So I pretty much replayed Satisfied like three times on the way back home, then I believe I got all the way to…Ten Duel Commandments. So I started listening to it little by little because it’s long, I actually finished the last six or seven songs while on break at work and it’s so beautiful. I reacted to words being exchanged, to insults and such good and tight lyrics. I sobbed.
hamilton-large_trans2oueflmhzzhjcyuvn_gr-bvmxc2g6irfbtwdjolshwgThe emotional trilogy that is Blow Us All Away, Stay Alive Reprise, and Quiet Uptown kills me every time. But basically, you see? I also wrote those lyrics out, I did not look them up. Ever since that day I finished the entire thing, I listened to it constantly, I played the first three songs for my parents but we didn’t get a chance to really get into it.
The Fangirling: I took to Tumblr and of course the fans are there and while I am a fan, I don’t dabble in certain fan things such as: writing fan fiction (but I do read good ones), fan art, nor do I have an Instagram or Snap Chat to follow these amazing actors. I’m not knocking those that do, trust me, I appreciate ya’ll for then sharing it on Tumblr.
I made it my business to know the lyrics, I don’t necessarily listen to or like rap music (it depends on the music, the artist and the lyrics) but this right here, I can get behind this because it incorporates so many different types of music. I mean Thomas Jefferson’s introduction song What Did I Miss? is heavily jazzy as his character is supposed to be a full generation ahead of Hamilton and the others who are fully hip hop people.
I was at work after maybe a week of listening to it, of constantly playing Satisfied, I was mouthing the lyrics while at work (I work in a public library) and my boss walks by me, stops and says “Are you talking to yourself?” I laughed awkwardly “No, I have a Hamilton song stuck in my head.” “Oh have you seen it yet?” “What? No, I would have to sell my entire life to see it right now.” “Well…” yeah pretty much lol, then a Children’s librarian, who was nearby, came up and asked which song I had in my head and I told her and ever since then we’ve been Hamilton buddies.
hamilton-2-largeI love Hamilton so much that when I go to sleep, I am more or less thinking of a song, or maybe a culmination of songs and when I wake up, same thing. It’s a problem that I don’t find a problem haha.
The Hamilton’s America documentary was also amazing and I’m making a request of Lin and the powers that be. Please please please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put out the recording of the original Broadway cast, I know you have it, you said it was recorded with proper sound, lights etc and I NEED IT, so give it to the Lord of the Rings treatment. The actual show, with the documentary attached, as well as any other raw footage that wasn’t included in the documentary (let’s be real, the documentary lacked a lot of Anthony Ramos, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Okieriete Onaodowan and Phillipa Soo) and I will relish all of it lol.
I have the Hamilton 2017 calendar, Hamilton: The Revolution book written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and… Ron Chernow’s book. So lol judge me if you like but if you have never heard this magnificence, do it, I dare you. You may not become obsessed, but you be impressed.
The little details that Miranda puts into this show is just amazing. 
  • People of Color. This show casts people of color!!! It does seem odd that people of color are playing the Founding Fathers of America who are most definitely Caucasian BUT it works due to the music and lyrics.
  • The Women Rapping. Angelica Schuyler is Hamilton’s sister in law and in her song Satisfied (which is my favorite song out of 46 favorites) she raps. She is the only woman in the show to rap. Miranda uses rap as a way to show off a character’s intelligence. Hamilton does these long amazing, syllabic raps and Angelica turns around and does the same in her song, showing that she is on his intellectual level. Basically.
    • Eliza Schuyler is Hamilton’s wife (she is a precious saint) and while she doesn’t rap, she does beat box in the Act II, which to me shows that while she may not be able to understand everything Alexander does on an intellectual level, she’s his backbone as usually people beatbox to support rap.
  • Actors Double Characters. Basically, some actors portray two characters in the show. In Alexander Hamilton, the very first song, you already get a hint at that. They sing those lines as both characters.
    • Daveed Diggs: Lafayette, who has the fastest raps (also French accent), and Thomas Jefferson who is a completely different character, with a different style.
    • Okieriete Onaodowan: Hercules Mulligan (think Busta Rhymes) and James Madison, who was a sickly dude and completely different.
    • Anthony Ramos: John Laurens (abolitionist) and Philip Hamilton (Alexander’s son), he plays Philip in three stages of his life.
    • Jasmine Cephas-Jones: Peggy Schuyler (the Michelle Williams of the group) and Maria Reynolds.
“We Fought With Him” – sung by Lafayette/Jefferson and Mulligan/Madison
“Me, I died for him”- sung by Laurens/Philip
“Me, I loved him” -sung by Eliza, Angelica, Peggy/Maria
Favorite favorite songs:
  • My Shot- Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), John Laurens (Ramos), Lafayette (Diggs), Mulligan (Onaodowan), Aaron Burr (Odom Jr.), Ensemble.
  • Satisfied- Angelica Schuyler (Goldsberry), Ensemble
  • Wait For It- Aaron Burr (Odom Jr), Ensemble 114733
  • Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)- Entire
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  • What Did I Miss?- Thomas Jefferson(Diggs), Ensemble
  • Take A Break- Alexander Hamilton (Odom Jr.), Philip Hamilton (Ramos), Eliza Hamilton (Soo), Angelica Schuyler (Goldsberry)
  • Say No To This- Aaron Burr (Odom Jr.), Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), Maria Reynolds (Cephas-Jones)
  • Washington On Your Side- Aaron Burr (Odom Jr.), Thomas Jefferson (Diggs), James Madison (Onaodowan)
  • One Last Time- George Washington (Christopher Jackson), Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), Ensemble
  • Burn- Eliza Hamilton nee Schuyler (Soo)
  • Blow Us All Away- Philip Hamilton (Ramos) and Ensemble… I do not play this song on repeat because this song…man.
I mean, I love the entire album but these are the songs that I’ll play on their own before going back to the beginning, or will repeat a few times. You’re probably thinking ‘omg, this girl is crazy’ and that’s fine. I can take that because when you embrace art such as this, it’s hard to let it go. Plus, I do this a lot with things I’m moved by, so Hamilton happens to be the latest thing but I highly doubt it’s a passing phase for me.
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L to R: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, Aaron Burr, Peggy Schuyler, Angelica Schuyler, Eliza Schuyler, Philip Hamilton.(this picture amuses me lol)
What’s To Come: So basically, obviously, I haven’t seen the show but I pretty much follow all of the OBC on Twitter just to keep abreast of what they do as, I’m interested to see what other work they produce. Of course Lin-Manuel Miranda has helped write the music for Disney’s Moana, he’s working on the Mary Poppins’ sequel and I think helping cast the London version of Hamilton and he just looks like he’s finally gotten rest after years of working on this show. Leslie Odom Jr. has put out a Jazz album self titled and I love it, it’s lovely as well as a Christmas Album, also beautiful. Daveed Diggs is working with his group Clppng (Clipping), was on The Get Down, on Black-ish, taken up Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street (That’s gonna be hilarious), Anthony Ramos is leaving the show to move into Spike Lee’s Netflix show She’s Gotta Have It, which I’m super excited for… but just to name a bit of what they’re doing.
So it’s sad they’re gone/leaving but it’s exciting to see what’s to come. I’ve heard snippets from the actors who’ve replaced some of the original cast, and I think they’re amazing too. I haven’t heard anything technically from Hamilton Chicago but I heard some of them outside of the show and WOW. O.O Also, Jordan Fisher (Grease Live!) is replacing Anthony Ramos as Laurens/Philip and I’m excited to start seeing him officially take over.
One thing to know about me, is that when I find something that I like, or an actor/actress I like, I make it my business to see everything they’re in (or listen to if they’re mostly singers and/or on Broadway) because I like to be supportive, especially if they are people of color.
So… lol this is all I have to say, at least right now. I still listen to Hamilton on a daily, maybe not the entire album or anything but I still play a song, or I start going through the album in my head while I’m at work. If I’m going on a long drive then I’ll definitely put my headphones in and play the entire album and sing/rap at the top of my lungs.
I’m super excited for the Hamilton Mixtape. There are four previewed clips available on iTunes, which makes me super super excited. I can’t wait for more to come. Whatever else they all put out, I am there!
Below are just a few gifs from the show. I don’t own them of course but I wanted to share.
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Aaron Burr in Room Where It Happens.
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Original Broadway Cast in Alexander Hamilton.
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Mulligan, Lafayette, Laurens, Hamilton in Story of Tonight (reprise).
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Thomas Jefferson and Dancer in What Did I Miss?