Thursday, May 25, 2017

Stormy Weather

Started the day with my first work shift in over a week and a half. It was raining when I headed out to the Acme. Thankfully, it had started to slow down even by the time I arrived. I had just finished rounding up the carts when it started up again. Spent the rest of the morning inside. I did get some returns and most of the bathrooms done before my break. Good thing. The rain had caused some flooding, and several people called out. I was stuck in the registers for the last hour of my shift. It was busy with frustrating people and absolutely no fun.

I hurried home as quickly as possible the moment I finished. Had Apple-Cinnamon Muffins for lunch while watching the first of two Backyardigans hour-long episodes, "Super Secret Super Spy." Pablo is the Bond-type secret agent who likes his apple juice shaken and his cars filled with gadgets. He's assigned by Ms. T (Tasha) to find three containers and keep them away from The Lady In Pink (Uniqua) and her hench-moose (Tyrone). If she gets her feelers on them, it could be a recipe for disaster! Pablo's fellow agent Austin does his best to help.

Spent the next couple of hours working on my story. Vader tries to question Leia and Henry at the dinner, but he gets nothing out of them. Not to mention, they make it quite clear from their hand-holding and dreamy expressions that they're crazy about each other. Their love-sick stares remind Vader entirely too much of how it was for him and Padme, years ago.

Vader finally has them brought to his chambers upstairs. He strips Henry's shirt off and whips his back until he screams. Leia is forced to watch. While they do have a tender moment while she tends to Henry's scarred back, it doesn't last. First Charles and the battered Cedric is tossed in with them, then Langdon shows up with Vader and his men. They reveal that they're trying to lure Luke there...and he and Rusty are already on their way. While Cedric fusses over Rusty leading Luke into danger, Henry attacks Langdon. It takes all of Langdon's men to hold him back.

Broke around 6:30 to make leftovers for dinner. Watched Moana as I ate. The title character is the prin...chief's daughter of a Polynesian island, where the people live happily and haven't left in decades. Unlike most of her people, Moana feels the call of the ocean and wishes to travel. Her father fears for her safety and discourages her, but her grandmother tells her the story of their ancestors, who were explorers. She discovers upon her grandmother's death that the island is also dying. Mischievous, selfish demigod Maui stole the green eye of a goddess island, who was destroyed by a great fire monster. Moana sets out to return the emerald eye the island and get Maui to put it back where it belongs. The great demigod turns out to be an obnoxious jerk who only cares about himself and how humans see him. Even when he tries to lose her on the Island of Monsters, she remains determined to see her quest through.

The first half of this feels a bit cliched, Pocahontas crossed with Brave with the South-Seas setting of Lilo and Stitch. The movie picks up considerably once we've hit the water for good. Maui's obnoxious and annoying, but he's also hilarious, and he has a great song, "You're Welcome." (I had no idea Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was such a good singer.) The sequence with the giant singing crab was weird, but it is very well-animated, and the song "Shiny" is so enjoyably campy. Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame wrote the lyrics, which explains a lot of things (including the Oscar nomination for Moana's big song, "How Far I'll Go").

For all the wacky personalities around her, I really loved Moana. Feisty and determined, this girl won't let anything come between her and her chance to save her people - not crabs, fire monsters, rough seas, snarky demigods, or her own lack of sailing abilities. The ocean chose her, and she will NOT let it, or anyone, down. I'm also glad to see her relationship with Maui played as more of friend/mentor deal than obvious love interest. It's very refreshing in a Disney movie, especially one aimed at girls.

While I didn't love it quite as much as last March's Zootopia, this is a fun, colorful movie in its own right, with unique characters, a wonderful heroine, and a fabulous score. If you or your daughters loved other girl-oriented Disney adventures like Mulan or Brave, or are interested in the ocean, sailing, or exotic cultures, this is one high-seas voyage that's well worth taking.

Incidentally, the rain returned while I was writing, this time with thunder and lightning. It's been storming on and off ever since.

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