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Preview: Moana and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

February 3, 2017

If you’re looking for magic and/or need a dose of wonder in your life, Student Activities has the perfect Double Feature Movie Night. Join us in the LaHaye Event Space on Saturday, February 11 for two of the most wonderful, magical movies of the year:

  • Moanastarting at 8 PM
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – starting approx. 9:40 PM

Moana (released November 23, 2016) kicks things off. This is a brilliant movie, one of the brightest, most vivid films in the Disney catalog, reflected in both the visual artistry and the music. “Set 2,000 years ago somewhere in the South Pacific*”, it tells the story of Moana, daughter of the chief of the fictitious island Motonui, who must venture across the ocean, largely with the demigod Maui, in order to save her home. Moana is voiced by Disney newcomer Auli’i Cravalho who was just 14 years old when she started work on the movie, making her the youngest person to ever voice a Disney princess. She is perfectly balanced by Dwayne Johnson as Maui, whose swagger is just as big in an animated character as it is when he is playing The Rock. Most of the songs are written by Mark Mancina, who has contributed to film and video game scores for 30 years, and everyone’s favorite guy right now, Lin Manuel Miranda. The songs are “fun” without being too “earwormy”, as Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson suggests**, with Jemaine Clement’s giant crab character Tamatoa stealing the show. Moana is not unlike other Disney stories in that it is ultimately about identity, a discovery of “who you really are.” But the cultural and ethnic dimension of the story bolsters that identity connection to both name and place, connecting the individual to past and present in both family/ancestry and geography. Moana is visually dazzling, fun, and substantive. It is Disney at its very best.

You will probably see a lot more movies like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (released November 18, 2016), and not just because J.K. Rowling confirmed*** that there will definitely be five of them. These are the days of story mining our blockbusters and franchises: not a sequel, closer to a prequel, drilling down into the myth or details of the story to enhance and expand what we already know, like Rogue One is to the Star Wars franchise. For the Harry Potter Wizarding World, this is not a bad thing. Big fans do not need to be told that Fantastic Beasts is a book referenced in The Sorcerer’s Stone which Ms. Rowling turned into its own book in 2001. The film version stars Eddie Redmayne, who shows time and again why he is one of the best young actors today, as Newt Scamander, the fictitious author of Fantastic Beasts. It also features rising star Katherine Waterston, and established names like Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman, and Johnny Depp. Johnny is introduced as Gellert Grindelwald, who we will be seeing much more of in the coming movies. Overall, we think there is plenty here to love whether you are a wizard/witch, or the most basic Muggle.

Just to “cover our bases”, Moana is rated PG for peril, some scary images, and “brief thematic elements”. Fantastic Beasts is rated PG-13 for “some fantasy action violence”.

This event is free to attend and as usual we will have FREE popcorn and cheap snacks and drinks available. Questions? Check our FAQ page to find answers. If that doesn't help, send us a nice email: