Movie Review: Moana

Manila, Philippines – Disney’s  new animated musical  Moana is truly entertaining! A start-to-finish delight. It stands proud and tall with other animated films on the Disney canon: from its breathtaking visual effects, delightful music, superior animation, and likeable lead characters. 

I watched Moana on its opening day in the Philippines, November 30, 2016.

Walt Disney Animation Studios, once again, solidifies a new era in their studio as they continue a string of supreme animated films started by 2009’s Princess and the Frog and 2010’s Tangled.

INTRODUCTION

From the day Disney have announced doing a film called Moana, I was always on a lookout. Originally Moana was scheduled to be released sometime in 2018. But suddenly it was moved to 2016 – and my excitement suddenly was doubled.


PLOT

Moana is about a daughter of the chief named Moana who quest the ocean with a  demi-god named Maui – to save her people and restore her ancestors’ tradition.

The plot may sound a little simple. But there will be twists and turns and emotions as you watch the whole movie which is almost 2 hours long. 

There will be backstories, musical numbers, adventures that will keep you glued on the screen. I would say, Disney still followed the formula they’ve used with Tangled and Frozen here – but of course- still offered something new: something remarkable.

It has many great moments – especially the musical numbers. Something you would want to see again and again when it comes out on home video. But there was a slight slow in the middle as Moana and Maui sails.

8/10

CHARACTERS

The characters are very likeable. The lead heroine Moana (voiced by newcomer Auli’l Cravalho) feels warm, authentic, and relateable. She is more than a pretty face as she resonates light and goodness – which makes her even more watchable.

Maui the Demi-god (Dwayne Johnson), on the other hand, is this huge guy who projects courage and authority – but at the same time – is the humor of the movie. And he has an amazing tatoo. 

As Moana and Maui teamed up, their effortless chemistry sparks onscreen ala “Rapunzel and Flynn” or  “Anna and Kristoff” minus the romance. The banter between Moana and Maui are genuinely hilarious. 

Supporting characters are great too. Most notably Tala, Moana’s grandmother. I’m not a fan the crab, but still, he did great performance.

And I think it’s worth mentioning that the little Moana is just the cutest Disney baby ever.

And someone needs to talk about that dumb chicken sidekick. Well, kids in theatre is bursting to laughter everytime he would appear onscreen. He’s cute and colorful and was voiced by Disney’s lucky charm Alan Tudyk (who appeared on several Disney features like Frozen – he is the duke. And he also appeared in Wreck-It-Ralph – he is King Candy. Both films are successful). I like comic relief he gives. Kids love it.

Memorable characters.

9.5/10

MUSIC

The music of Moana was written by 3 persons: Mark Mancina (Tarzan) wrote the satistfyingly beautiful score, Opetaia Fao’i and Lin Manuel-Miranda (Hamilton) wrote the songs.

Whenever there’ll be a new Disney musical, it can’t avoid the fact that it will be compared to other songs from other Disney movies (well most of them reached the classic status already). 

Moana’s soundtrack has this tropical-island-feel blended with musical theatre – which sounded fresh for a Disney movie (though 2002’s Lilo and Stitch had this flavor too, minus the musical theatre).

There’s some showstoppers here like Under the Sea and Be Our Guest: “You’re Welcome” performed by Maui. It’s cool and fresh, upbeat – with some verses of rapping. It’s accompanied by a beautiful eye-popping visuals in the movie. It’s my favorite musical number in the movie. I wish it was a little longer. The tune will stick in your head. 

There’s also this How Far I’ll Go performed by Moana herself. In tradition of Disney, there’s this song the lead character would sing. She or he will share her/his dreams, wants in a song : it’s called an “I Want” song. Part Of Your World, Belle, Just Around the Riverbend, Out There, Reflection are examples. So here in Moana it’s How Far I’ll Go. The song is good also. I love the tune. Actually I like singing it. The problem -again – is it’s hard to catch the words.  Everytime i’ll sing it, I always need to check on the lyrics – And i’ve been doing it a lot of times and still can’t catch on. And it’s not a song you’ll understand instantly when you first heard it. But in the movie, somehow you’ll get some clues on what the song is about when you are seeing it onscreen rather than just listening on it. 

I love the deep emotions in the song I Am Moana and Know Who You Are.

The other songs are good as well. They help moving the story forward. It has authentic tropical-feel. But it’s not memorable. It’s not something you’ll sing out loud.

The musical score on the other hand is lovely too. I like the richness and the lush on it. But it’s not that distinctive from other movies. 

I was expecting a more “Disney” soundtrack.

There’s a  pop version of How Far I’ll Go on the end credits. It’s good. But personally I prefer the movie version.

7/10

ANIMATION

The CGI animation of Moana is probably the best Walt Disney Animation Studios had ever done! The forest, the island, AND THE SEA are superiorly animated! Moana herself is wonderfully animated. Her face, her hair – its fascinating. And the colors are rich. It’s like it’s bursting onscreen. The effects on the sea when light passed on it is so magical. I was amazed. It’s really good.

10/10

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?

Yes. I would love it see it on 3D. I only saw it in 2D. And there are moments in the movie I would love to see again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The animation, visual effects, characters, story, and music – makes this animated film worth seeing!

SCORE 

8.6/10

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Product Review: PayMaya Prepaid Credit Card

“‚ÄčI’ve always dreamed of ordering online but the problem is- I don’t have a credit card (and I fear of responsibilities and obligations of having a credit card). Good thing there’s PayMaya. PayMaya allows me to make it happen.”

This is my Paymaya experience:

What is PayMaya?

PayMaya is a free prepaid VISA credit card that allows you purchase things just like a regular credit card do. But in contrast to a regular credit card – in which you shop first before paying the bill, in PayMaya:  you need to pay first before you purchase anything.

To enlighten things more, “paying first” means you need to load up your card – or virtual card – to be able to do purchase.

Where did I get my PayMaya?

Paymaya is available on Play Store. I got mine there. Just download the app, register, then: you’ve got your very own VISA prepaid credit card.

THE EXPERIENCE: 

Loading

After you’ve got your virtual card, you can now load up.

My experience with loading up my PayMaya wasn’t that smooth. When I tried to load up on Robinson’s Magnolia’s Business Station, the server is currently down. So my next option is the Mini Stop nearby, but unfortunately the loading machine is not available in that particular branch. 

Good thing my friend, who has an “upgraded PayMaya”, sent me money through his PayMaya app. Problem solved. I just paid him in cash. Just for the record, when you “upgrade” your PayMaya, you will be able to send money from your PayMaya app to your friend’s PayMaya app, plus you can withdraw your money. But if you’re Paymaya is not yet upgraded – no worries, you’re PayMaya can still receive money. 

The other loading stations are the following: 7-eleven, SM business center, BDO.

Loading stations need to improve their service and designate more branches.

Loading Score: 6/10


Purchasing:

Once I’ve already have credits in my PayMaya, I can now order on any website that accepts VISA credit cards.

So I went to my Amazon app, choose my items, added it to my cart then I proceeded to checkout. 

I fill out necessary delivery details. Then I just followed the instructions on screen and fill everything neccesary including the mode of payment: I entered my PayMaya’s account number and the “valid until” date.

Then finally they will  show you the summary of your order including the tax charges and total price. I clicked “Place my Order.”

Reminder: Usually Amazon charges tax. Not much but always consider it when loading up. It’s good to have an extra amount of money in your account.

Then voila! You just need to wait for your package. I shipped my goods to my grandma’s US address to save shipping fee because she will visit the Philippines in 2 weeks. So she’ll be the one to bring my goods.

You will receive a SMS everytime you purchase something. In addition to this, every purchase will be recorded in your PayMaya app.

I encountered zero problems.

Purchasing score: 10/10


Pros

  • Legitimate
  • Easy to download
  • The app is free
  • Easy to register
  • Easy to use
  • No annual fee
  • No hidden charges

Cons

  • Hard to find loading stations

Reminders:

  • Always keep your PayMaya private and secure.

Will I use it again?

Yes. In fact I already used it again. I ordered again in Amazon.com for the second time using PayMaya. I load up in 7-eleven and had a smooth transaction.

VERDICT:

Download and Registration 10/10

Loading 6/10

Purchasing 10/10

Bottomline: It works! I was able to order goods at Amazon.com.

Disclaimer: These are my views, opinions, and experiences on this product. I am not affiliated or connected to PayMaya. And therefore, will not be liable for any complaints whatsoever.

Product Review: Murad Acne Starter Kit

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“After using it for just one week, I can say that this product really works”

Introduction:
I chose the Starter Kit over purchasing the Clarifying Cleanser alone

Originally, I was supposed to buy only the “Clarifying Cleanser” after reading a lot of raving reviews online. Until I saw this “Starter Kit.”

At first, I am hesitant to buy the whole “Starter Kit” because believe that time that the “Clarifying Cleanser” alone can do the job. And the size of the products inside the “Starter Kit” is a lot smaller compare to the “Clarifying Cleanser” which can last for months.

But I thought, it will be a lot effective to buy the whole kit. And I am just on my “trial phase”.

In the end, I decided to buy the “Starter Kit” over the “Clarifying Cleanser” alone.

Cost:
Great value for a skin care starter kit

In the Philippines, the “Starter Kit” costs P1,150.00.

Where to buy:
Gateway Mall

I bought mine in Rustan’s Department Store located inside Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City.

Product Description:
According to the box itself

Step 1 Cleanse/ Tone

Clarifying Cleanser
“Maximum strength gel cleanser helps to keep skin clean and clear”

Step 2 Treat/ Repair

Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel
“Powerful gel helps to control and prevent acne”

Step 2 Treat/ Repair

Acne Spot Treatment
“Fast-acting formula
helps to clear acne.

Step 3 Hydrate/Protect

Skin Perfecting Lotion
Oil-free formula hydrates and refines skin texture.

The Main Review:
First of all, I have oily skin and few blemishes. Blackheads and big pores are also a problem for me.

1. Clarifying Cleanser

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“The best cleanser I ever used. My skin feels very bright and clean after using this.”

Texture:
Thick slimey clear yellowish gel. The consistency is like most of the other facial cleansers.

Smell
Sweet minty fresh

What I LIKE about it:
– It didn’t dry out my face.
– Gentle enough.
– It makes your skin glow after washing.
– Thoroughly cleanses your skin.
– It has minty feeling.
– Refreshing

What I DON’T like about it:
– I sometimes get temporary red patches after using it.

Experience:
I usually leave it on my face for about 1-2 minutes after massaging.

There are times when I use it thrice in a day when I need to go out of the house and I want to be refresh. So far it never dry out my skin.

Score:
9.5/10

2. Exfoliating Acne Gel

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“It does what it says on the product description”

Texture:
Light slimey clear gel.

Smell:
Smells like a vodka

What I LIKE about it:
– It really takes care of the blemishes.

What I DON’T like about it:
– It sometimes gives slight stings on the skin.

Experience:
I can’t really tell much about this product because I use it along with other products in this line. These products work together. And I don’t exactly know what it contributes.

But one time I didn’t use it, just the cleanser, t-zone pore minimizer (free sample from Murad), lotion, and spot treatment, it didn’t work much as to compare when used with this Exfoliating Acne Gel.

Bottomline: It works. (little as you know)

Score: 9/10

3. Acne Spot Treatment

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“Once I see a spot on my face or feel like a pimple will come out, I just put this spot treatment and it is a big help in calming that blemish.”

Texture
Thick but non-slimey

Smell
It smells weird. It smells like a rotten coconut that is mix with chemical.

What I LIKE about it:
– It immediately saves my face from incoming breakouts.
– It calms inflamation

What I DON’T like about it
– It sometimes doesn’t work as fast on other breakouts especially huge breakouts.

– If you will wear a concealer, makeup or any cover-ups after, it doesn’t mix well.

Experience:

According to the directions on how to use this that I found online, in morning you have to apply it after the lotion, but in the evening, you have to apply it before the lotion. But still I prefer using it after the lotion whether it is morning use or evening use.

Score:
8/10

4. Skin Perfecting Lotion

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“For one week of using this acne starter kit, I never experience dryness and my skin becomes more refine after 8 days! I’m not sure if it is because of  this lotion or the whole kit. But I think this lotion really protects my face from dirt and other factors that could trigger acne.”

Texture:
Think non sticky and fast absorbing lotion.

Smell
Not far from the smell of the Acne Spot Treatment.

What I LIKE about it:
– Like the Exfoliating Acne Gel, I am not quite sure what EXACTLY this product does to my face aside from hydration.

But as the product description states, its hydrates and refines skin texture. And after a week of using the whole stater kit, my skin really is HYDRATED and more REFINE!

My skin isn’t dry even before using this lotion. But the Cleanser, Exfoliating Gel, and Spot Treatment works well together with this product as my skin looks more healthy after using all of these products combined.

What I DON’T like about it:
Nothing. There’s nothing negative I can say about this product.

Score:
10/10

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The whole Starter Kit works great on my sensitive skin

On my first 8 days:

Pros:
– My skin got clearer
– Breakouts were reduce
– Refine my skin
– Minimize my pores
– Blackheads were reduce
– My skin glows
– My skin feels soft and smooth
– My skin looks healthier

Cons:
– Even if my other breakouts disappeared, there are still very few breakouts coming out from time to time. I think this is how this product works: First, breakout would appear and then suddenly it will heal and disappear to clean pores.

-The huge breakouts and acne marks that I have is breaking-out even more (but not all at once, it is from time to time). I think it is to release the dirt and oil trapped inside my pores.

“I will definitely buy again”

Verdict
“By far, the best skin care products I have ever use!”

Score: 9.1/10

I’ll probably give updates on my 2nd week soon.

Reminder:
I don’t recommend this for people who has dry skin.

Disclaimer: These are my views, opinions, and experiences in this product. I am not affiliated or connected to Murad. And therefore, will not be liable for any complaints whatsoever.

Juan Navarro
Philippines
Tweet me: @juancarlnavarro

Feel free to comment. I would greatly appreciate your feedbacks and comments.

Post No. 1: Dealing with Bedtime

Hi friends! Yeah I know it’s pretty late. It’s now 1:44am. Wow. And I have class tomorrow (or shall I say later) at 10:30am. I always found myself stuck with social media. Actually I like hanging out with people in social media, and I always love gaining followers in Twitter. Twitter is like a magnet! And also, I’m just very excited to write something on my blog.

Maybe in the days to come I would come up with more interesting stories. But right now, it’s just hello and goodbye for now. :)))