Movie Review: Moana
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The movie Moana is Disney’s 56th animated feature film. It is a tale about finding your identity, and being true to yourself. Teenagers may relate to this movie because they too may be struggling to find out who they are, but this movie is also a great family flick as well.
The rich three dimensional animation and the straying off the path of Disney’s tried and true methods make this adventurous film a must-see.
The main character Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho), is the strong-willed daughter of the chief, in the village of Motonui. Moana finds herself torn between what she desires and what she is destined to be.
Moana is chosen to go on a daring adventure to save her people. Along the way, she meets the self-absorbed demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), who teaches her how to master wayfinding. Learning to wayfind could be a metaphor for learning how to chart your own course in life. Along their voyage they meet large monsters and goddesses from Polynesian mythology. Moana fulfills the ancestral journey, and finds out who she truly is in the process.
Moana is Disney’s first movie where the characters are of Polynesian ethnicity. Moana is also not a princess. Although she is of royal status, that does not make her a princess, and she is considered more of an “action heroine”. If the movie is successful enough, she may likely be coronated into the Disney princess family. Her body proportions are more realistic compared to other Disney females. This is huge because it presents that you do not have to be super skinny or white to accomplish things. Moana also has no love interest, which is very different from Disney’s usual format. Instead, she has Maui as a mentor and a friend.
Something that stood out in the movie was that the ocean was its own character. It was quirky and new, as well as a good addition to the plot in the film.
The animation was vibrant and colorful, from the turquoise waters of the ocean to the lush green plants and islands. The film is great if you choose to see it either in 2D or 3D.
A challenged part of this film was the cultural stereotype of Polynesian obesity, shown on Maui. The truth is that everyone’s body is sculpted differently, and it’s not like all the men in the film are obese, either. In fact, you’d think Maui would be muscular, and he is, but because a character doesn’t have muscles doesn’t mean they aren’t fit.
Putting that aside, Moana also has a great soundtrack that was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, so if you’ve listened to the Hamilton cast a million times, here’s another soundtrack for you to love. The film also features songs by Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i.
In general, Moana is a spectacular movie that is worth your money to go see in the theater.