Moana (2016)

Its a lovely Sunday morning! Nothing like talking about some Disney! Today’s we look at 2016’s Disney film, Moana.

Moana (2016)


Director: Ron Clements, John Musker, Don Hall, Chris Williams

Voice Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk

In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches Moana’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the Demigod to set things right. – IMDB

The 2016 Disney film went to Moana. There was a lot of love for it because of its story and its strong female character and that this story isn’t the traditional princess finding a prince story but an independent girl following her destiny and saving her island. For all the above, I do like Moana a lot.



Is Moana my favorite Disney movie? It isn’t. I can think of a few that are better crafted. However, it is a solid entry and a nice way for Disney to embrace the stronger women image. We had started seeing it in Frozen with Elsa and now at Moana, she truly is doing what she can without the added love story (like in Mulan). There is nothing wrong with love stories and for my own roots, I loved to see Mulan get its spot in Disney even if the story was never about love but about her courage, bravery for her family, much like Moana’s is. Seeing that Moana took the angle to simply avoid the love story angle and be about her getting over her obstacles was a really nice take. Moana also is colorful and visually appealing. It has to do with the warm setting and the vast open sea adventure that she takes. It still has the magical element which works well. In terms of characters, it also has of course, Dwayne Johnson who plays Maui, the demigod who caused all the problems in the first place and she has to find to fix it all. There are some cute sidekicks like the Moana pig and a silly one which is a weird and dumb chicken called Heihei. The grandmother plays the other role as an inspirational figure and something of a guiding light.



Finally, a Disney film isn’t one without its musical elements. Moana definitely has a few fun and catchy songs. Our house is obsessed with You’re Welcome. The mention of it usually has that song stuck in our head for a while (guess what song is in my head now…). I can’t say that I love the soundtrack all that much though. It has some fun songs but nothing stuck a whole lot. But that might be because its so new and I haven’t watched it a ton of times. As nicely constructed and visually appealing as Moana is, its still somewhat of a good but not great experience. I love what its trying to do and it honestly all works together but somehow, I feel like its missing a certain grab for myself and I’m not completely sure why.

However, putting my own preferences aside, Moana is a well-crafted film. Its one that will have elements for both adults and children alike especially with its colorful environment and fun songs as well as its inspiring and silly characters, both human and animals. Its is a nice direction for Disney to take and I appreciate all of what it has achieved with Moana. Hopefully, we will be seeing more of these sort of films which help empower women characters and send them on some fun and adventurous quests.


Remy’s Dilemma by Andrew Snook

Remy’s Dilemma is another book that I picked up at Toronto Comicon last year. It has been sitting on my desk for a while in the TBR pile and I finally decided that it was time to start it.

Remy’s Dilemma
By: Andrew Snook

The world is coming to an end. That’s what Remy Delemme believes, anyways. While double-checking his lifelong to-do list to ensure he has led a rich life, he realizes he hasn’t come close to completing his goals. Panicked and short on time, Remy embarks on a chaotic road trip to complete the most important item on his bucket list – finding the answer to man’s greatest question. There’s just one problem. Detective Tobias Gray, the most respected criminal profiler in the Toronto Police Department, thinks Remy is a serial killer; and he’s not the only one who has come to that conclusion. Armed with a green crayon, smiley-faced stamp and a pack of cigarettes in a race against time, Remy carves a path of hilarious destruction, baffling and infuriating the police, his government and every other person he encounters. – Goodreads

From start to finish, Remy’s Dilemma is odd. Its so very odd. It all dials down to Remy’s character and all the things that happen around him that are both out of this world and unexpected. Sometimes it was purely nonsensical. However, while it did take a while to adapt to the oddities of the story, once you do, it is quite a mesmerizing read if not to just see what happens to Remy and how he manages to achieve his bucket list before the end of the world. To be honest, reading this book reminded me a bit of when I read Mailman by J. Robert Lennon.

Being in Canada all my life, its hard to not feel a little more connected to this book. The author Andrew Snook does a great job at setting up this alternate reality or maybe a future scenario of Canada being broken down where the province of Quebec has finally broken apart from Canada and turned into their own countries. Only those quite familiar with the situation will feel the connections of it all which somewhat adds on to the absurdities of what this book gives to the readers, especially when you consider that his lifelong to-do list might seem quite normal but then he manages to tick off a few of these boxes on his little road trip and for a few categories multiple times. The structure of the book follows both Remy and Detective Tobias Gray both having their own ways of measuring their progress be in figuring out the suspect or getting closer to doing everything on the bucket list.

As silly and as crazy as this road trip with Remy becomes, the story never forgets to shed a little bit of a deeper light on its main character. As the story pulls to the ending, we start seeing something of a glimpse of what perhaps motivates Remy even if it is in somewhat of an unrealistic way. Why would this be realistic when almost everything else that has happened to him also is quite unrealistic and fairly nonsensical. Remy is a very colorful character full of weird decisions and its almost like he’s the guy who walks around and explosions follow him in those CGI heavy movies. Of course, while Remy is an intriguing character, the book is full of other characters like Tobias Gray who also has quite some depth to his character and brings some more serious vibes to the story. However, the story is also scatter with this cameos of characters that Remy encounters that all have their entertaining aspects.

Remy’s Dilemma takes a little getting used to its oddities at the start but it is also these oddities that escalate during the story that makes it a page-turner. Its a fast read. However, its setting might prove to be a little more welcoming to Canadians (particularly living in Ontario and Quebec). However, the geographic story doesn’t quite make that much of a difference here as the characters and scenarios more than makes up for all the entertaining elements. I can’t help to think that Remy’s Dilemma might not be for everyone as it is a rather dark humor sort of story and humor is quite subjective to everyone.

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Lets just get this out of the way before we start, I have watched about 20 minutes total of any King Kong movie and I only have this image of him climbing the Empire State Building or Chrysler Building or something or another. But I love creature features and giant monsters interest me so this felt like it was right up my alley.

With that said, let’s check it out!

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Thomas Mann

A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden. – IMDB

Kong: Skull Island is pretty much my first visit into the King Kong universe and let me tell you, it was a thrilling as ever ride. Visually, King Kong and the Skull Crawlers and the other giant creatures here are amazing to look at. The location is also very beautiful which further emphasizes that the more beautiful the place is, the deadlier the creatures in it are. There are exceptions to the equation obviously but Kong: Skull Island is just beautiful to look at with its lush forests and mountains and waterways. Its really very pretty especially the first moment the team breaks through the layer of storm and enters into this paradise. Of course, the next moment turns into hell as their seismic things cause the king of the place to come and attack them and we soon learn, Kong is not the enemy.

Kong Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island is quite the action adventure. There’s a lot of suspense as they learn about the truth on Skull Island and what makes its inhabitants fearful. Kong is really just the king and the protector of his land. However, just like any kingdom, other creatures want to take him down. Skull Crawlers are very competent as a villain in their serpent ways. In fact, if we were to talk about villains, humans are probably the darker ones here. Everything starts with John Goodman’s character Bill Randa and his assistant that asks to somewhat tag along to check this island before another country heads out there and discovers it before they do. Of course, they soon realize he has his suspicions that he’s kept hidden to himself and soon, they are caught up on this island and trying to make it to the retrieval spot before they are abandoned here. The teams are separated and each seem to have their own agenda. The mystery and suspense works very well to keep the movie well-paced especially since the unknown territory and villain contribute a huge part to wondering what the true danger is and how to protect themselves and escape.

Kong: Skull Island

The cast here is also pretty impressive. Of course, its hard to deny any of their talent here. Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly all have outstanding performances in their filmography to back them up and they all delivered great performances in Kong: Skull Island. I honestly would love to see Tom Hiddleston as his character James Conrad here in more films. He’s pretty bad-ass and very smart. It feels like this character has more to be discovered. It feels like Brie Larson hasn’t had any action films to date, or at least I haven’t seen any of them if there are and somehow she fits very well in this story as a daring photo journalist who can carry her own. John C. Reilly brings a slight comedic value to the otherwise serious and tense situation as well as Thomas Mann’s character who jokes around quite a bit. If you talk about human villain, Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Preston Packard hits the extreme notes in Kong: Skull Island as a man who lets wanting to stand up for the men he lost hide his reason and judgement. In many ways, I can’t say that his character didn’t at some point remind me of the nostalgic moments with Deep Blue Sea. Its probably just me though.

Kong: Skull Island

There’s a lot to love about Kong: Skull Island. The characters are great, the setting is beautiful, the creature designs are done so impressively and the story is pretty decent as well, filled with suspense and adventure. There were quite a few mixed or lukewarm reviews throughout the year and it made me not too sure about where to place this especially since I have no previous visit into the King Kong universe so it turned out to be an awesome surprise.

Have you seen Kong: Skull Island? What did you think of it?


TV Binge: Once Upon a Time (Season 5, 2015)

Moving right along in the incredible attempt to catch up with Once Upon a Time, I wrapped up Season 5. Once Upon a Time continues to twists up some of the tales and puts together some interesting pairings which is one thing that I love the most about the show. Plus, after so many years, its hard to not love a lot of the characters. It also helps that last year I did end up going to visit the little town that its shot in in Vancouver and totally fangirled which makes seeing Storybrooke so much more personal (in my mind).

Once Upon a Time (Season 5, 2015)

once upon a time s5 poster

Creator: Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis

Cast: Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, Jared Gilmore, Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Colin O’Donoghue, Emilie de Ravin, Rebecca Mader, Sean Maguire, Liam Garrigan, Greg Germann

 Maybe its the fact that hopping back to this that I forgot how packed Once Upon a Time but Season 5 feels like there is a vast amount of characters that traverse the path in the few villains they do cross. As a little season 5 recap, the season picks up where the 4th ends with Emma taking the responsibility to be the Dark One and gets sent back to The Enchanted Forest. The rest of her family finds a way back and they eventually end up in Camelot where they meet King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. They have a secret to complete that involves the search for the Dark One. Somehow they get sent back to Storybrooke and Emma has lost the fight and has embraced has her dark side while wiping away everyone’s memory. A course of events sends Hook to the Underworld where they also follow and get trapped by Hades and confront some of their own people they have lost. When they do find a way back to Storybrooke, they get tricked and sent to The Land of Untold Stories where they meet the infamous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I think that about covers the general outline.

once upon a time s5

Season 5 is crazy packed as everyone embarks on a journey about their value and whether they are good and evil and being okay with who they are. Some extremities are taken which of course take a turn for a bad the lingers into the next season. Fairy tales are about happy endings and if Once Upon a Time has taught us anything, its that they are quite the rare occurrence in the show especially when it involves Regina and Emma. Being the Savior or a Villain both doesn’t give you the merit to have the happy ending. However, Season 5 may feel packed but its great to see the twists on these characters. In fact it expands on these characters as they also meet Merida and help her with her quest to become queen of Dunbroch.  We flash back to see Mulan and Red Riding Hood and Dorothy and their connection to everything. Of course, it wouldn’t be this show without Rumplestiltskin and his secrets along with trying to get back Belle which also sees a twist on her story and Gaston. Snow also once knew Hercules as well. We see some characters exit the show as well as the Underworld allows some characters to eventually either move on in a good or bad way. Thinking back to the season feels really busy but at times, that is what works to keep us on our toes and always learning that this world still has a lot to offer as they can breakaway from the fairy tales as well as take characters from classics. That is the magic of why I love Once Upon a Time.

once upon a time

The villain this season did have quite a spark. I have to say that in the few times that I’ve seen Greg Germann, he’s always been so fun to watch. This time, he plays Hades and not only does he resemble how Hades looked in Disney’s Hercules but he does take on that villainous role really well. Talking about villains, while I did enjoy the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde bit, the way Mr. Hyde talked was so grating and annoying. If anything, that was the only thing I didn’t like about this season. Once Upon a Time also has these villains that are truly horrible and ruthless. However, they also have this story that gives them a moment of hope for redemption and its always that unknown of whether it will happen or not. Another point of why I do like Once Upon a Time a lot is dealing with the character development and this season may be busy but a lot of the characters had their moment to truly see their thoughts and things they haven’t been able to let go of and in many ways, they did embrace themselves.

once upon a time

Overall, Season 5 was a lot of fun. While you could argue that the huge amount of characters made the story very scattered, somehow it still works very well to keep it fun and adventurous to watch as our characters grew and truly embraced issues that bothered them and confronted their monsters both mentally and physically. A really nice collection of villains and heroes in Season 5 and I’m looking forward to watching Season 6.


Game Warp Podcast Reviews What Remains of Edith Finch

November’s featured game over at Game Warp Podcast was this year’s narrative adventure by Giant Sparrow called What Remains of Edith Finch.

What Remains of Edith Finch is already grabbing some nominations in the upcoming Game Awards and it seemed fitting to take a look at it. Elwood and I review this game and the twist it takes on what we know nowadays as walking simulators.We take a look at the story, or should I says stories and the gameplay mechanics and whether we think its worth all the praise its been getting since its release earlier this year.

Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for watching!

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Podcast: Game Warp Reviews Firewatch (2016)

Game Warp’s August featured game was Campo Santo Game’s debut title, Firewatch.

Firewatch is a first person mystery adventure set in the forests of Wyoming. We play Henry, a man who has suffered emotionally due to personal issues and has taken up a job as a summer ranger to help look out and prevent fires while maintaining the safety in the forest to hopefully forget about his problems. However, things take a mysterious turn when  certain events start happening. With the help of fellow lookout companion, Delilah via their walkie-talkie, they get through the summer. Maps, hiking and a few story arc is what Firewatch is all about. Its been highly praised last year and has been nominated and received many awards.

Here’s our thoughts and whether it met our expectations!

That’s it for this episode! Hope you enjoyed!

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Have you played Firewatch? Drop us a comment on Youtube as well. 

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Twitter: @gamewarppodcast


Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

As I try super hard to stay on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge this year, I find myself finally jumping into the virtual world created in Ready Player One, especially since San Diego Comiccon brought us a trailer and I’m super excited to see that film. Both myself and my darling Game Warp co-host was and is reading it, however, we’re starting to think about expanding to game-related content once in a while so we may be doing a quick review discussion of Ready Player One when he has wrapped it up as well. I’ll share it here if and when it happens.

Ready Player One
By: Ernest Cline

Ready Player One

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them. … – Goodreads 

Ready Player One has been praised by the masses. Almost everyone who reads it seems to love it. Ready Player One has a captivating if not depressing dystopian future set in 2044. It has great adventure and takes us to a world where everyone finds more joy in the virtual reality world of OASIS and what makes it more appealing is that for those with the right knowledge, they can possibly find a treasure. Treasure hunts, virtual reality mixed in with video games and an 80s love, Ready Player One has a great looking formula. The idea and concept of it all was truly great and while I really wanted to love it, I unfortunately only can say that I wished its execution had been better.

Ready Player One’s strength is its treasure hunt adventure. It let us be exposed to the wonderfully detailed OASIS and all that it could do. Being a video game lover, who doesn’t want to live in one, right? Solving riddles and figuring out puzzles and the whole process was fun except everything from the hunt to our characters and their development and the immersion was lost in its excessive desire to refer and elaborate on all the 80s culture. Whenever I hit a multi-page description (or it felt that way) of a certain 80s culture, I would just have this desire to skip over because it makes the treasure hunt and our main character’s quest lose its value and appeal. Also because of these descriptions, it would ruin the mystery of how a certain key quest would be achieved, turning what could be an exciting segment to something that only had two lines. While this might sound confusing, what I mean is that the main action doesn’t get as much description as the tangent stuff. The third act does pull itself out and focuses on the treasure hunt primarily however it seems to have lost the beginning excitement.

In terms of the characters, the characters are really quite good. Our main character is Wade, also called Percival. And he ends up befriending more of the society as they fall in place and also follow his suit and finds the first key. These characters themselves also are quite fun. One of the best parts is the awareness that these are all real people but in a fake shell and for the most part, we do forget about this virtual reality aspect. We see the events through Percival and because of that, it leaves some unknown factors for us to discover such as learning about his friends and competitors. Why do I not say enemy because the enemy is the evil corporation and the leader of the team they call Sixers. Their leader is an evil man and we soon see that he is quite the ruthless and possibly heartless villain. Pity is that their run-in isn’t frequent enough to make him a valuable enemy. He’s always just the looming danger but not enough the present one and we soon feel that this book could only end in one way and the dangerous feeling soon deteriorates as the treasure seems to be closer which probably shouldn’t be the case.

Overall, Ready Player One is a great concept with an okay execution. The descriptions are not focused on the right things and falls too much into a fan-boy chat about the 80s instead of focusing on building the story. No matter how central the 80s are as a foundation, it won’t be through reading 300+ pages that someone with not enough knowledge would get it. It would be through seeing how these games and movies play out that will boost the interest instead. While the book doesn’t appeal to me as much as the general public, I however still see it having a high possibility of getting a great movie execution because with the right approach and a focus on the main story and not the many tangents, this could be a fun virtual reality treasure hunt adventure which I believe Steven Spielberg is more than capable of pulling off.