A Thrilling Journey through the South Pacific 2000 Years Ago - Moana Review

Monday, December 12, 2016
Moana Animated Movie Review

I've been following Moana closely pretty much since it was announced, so I was extremely excited to see it in theatres. I went to a rather early showing on the release day, so the theatre was fairly empty, which was a lovely surprise.

Synopsis & Details:

An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering read more... enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.

Title: Moana
Director(s): John Musker, Ron Clements
Studio: Disney
Release Date: November 23, 2016 (US)
Genres: Action, Animation, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars

Well, well, where do we start? How about the beginning?

Moana starts out by introducing us to the legend of Maui, this is followed by a montage of Moana growing up. This scene introduces Moana's island home, and establishes the first hurdle she must jump. The opening is well done, and slides us excellently into the story.

As a huge fan of Hamilton, I couldn't not mention the music.

Moana has a wonderful array of songs, my favorites being: Tulou Tagaloa, Where You Are, We Know the Way, You're Welcome, and How Far You'll Go (okay that's like almost all of them). They are all rather catchy, trust me they've been in my head since I've seen the film (and I'm currently aggravating the issue by listening to the soundtrack on repeat). I suppose my favorite would have to be You're Welcome, Dwayne is a fantastic singer, and this song is a great way to introduce Maui to the audience.

The animation is gorgeous, of course. The surrounding environment is lush and alive.

I found the water particularly impressive, water has been known to be tricky, and handling that much must have been quite the challenge. Speaking of water, the ocean was such a fun character. It never speaks a word, yet has so much personality and sass.

Moana has it's fair share of humor, including this wonderful quote, where Moana is yelling at the ocean:
"Fish pee in you all day!"
and of course, that tweeting joke *slight groan* (such a dad joke). The ocean was the center of plenty of gags, as Moana took full advantage of the personified ocean.

Despite being a bit afraid that the parents would fall into stereotype valley, I actually ending up really liking them, and their dynamic with Moana. While the father's role in the story, is definitely something we've seen before, and can definitely be considered a bit stereotypical, this film manages to make it feel fresh and new.

On the other hand, I did have some reserves with one of the villain characters.

(view spoiler)[I'm a bit on the fence, about that giant Hermit Crab. The song Tamatoa sings isn't bad, in fact I rather like it, however it felt a bit out of place.] I don't really have any other specific criticism for the film. I will admit though, that I left the theater, feeling as if the story was a bit lacking in some mysterious aspect, that I couldn't quite name. While I don’t feel Moana is as good as Zootopia, it's still a strong film, with a wonderful story, and great characters.

Short film segment: Inner Workings

Inner Workings is centered around a middle-aged man caught in the middle of a constant struggle between his heart and brain, the story is told in a quirky, sweet way. This short was adorable, but not quite as adorable as Piper, the short that accompanied Finding Dory (though I suppose comparing these two is a bit like comparing oranges and apples).

I found Inner Workings to be quite reminiscent of Inside Out, heck the color scheme is even a bit similar when it comes to the organs. However while there were many things in common between the two, Inner Workings is different enough to stand strongly on it's own. This short reminds you to not overthink everything, and let your heart lead sometimes.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Have you seen Moana? If so, thoughts? Also who's your favorite Disney Princess?