Saw 'Whale Rider' with G*; recommended with caution. It's not bad, though occasionally slightly on the kitsch side. I prefer movies a little more subtle, less heavy handed with the moral lesson and symbolism, but every time the my inner cynic started a snarky running commentary in my head, there were images powerful enough to make me shiver and again redeem the movie for the next 5 minutes or so. The girl who played Pai did very well, and if IMO at some points she seemed a bit too perfect, too 'tragic heroine' the fault (if it's a fault at all) lies with the direction. What came across beautifully is that tradition isn't an end in itself and cannot be preserved in some supposedly 'pure' state by mere force of will, but needs to change and adapt in order to remain a truly alive, powerful force that is still relevant to people's lives.
Sadly G* refused to watch the original version with me and while I'm not opposed to dubbing on principle, in this particular case the German rather jarred with the Maori-spoken parts.
Going to see 'Pirates of the Carribbean' today, to find out what all the fuss & fangirlish squeeing is about. Or not.