I came into Moana not expecting much, but had a feeling due to its success I would have to see this eventually because its possibility of being in the Oscar conversation come January. I was pleasantly surprised to find an enjoyable film in Moana, but nothing I haven’t seen portrayed before by Disney. The only major difference was it’s repackaging from the perspective of a different culture. Stop me if you’ve heard this before;
Reluctant princess not wanting to take her place in life breaks the trend of going along with her chosen path and instead ventures out and beyond what he/she knows. Encounters danger but with help from family/friends he/she finds who they truly are….don’t forget the goofy and comedic sidekick in this sense it is Hey Hey the lovable dumb chicken.
Now you can begin to understand my trepidation in seeing this. Where I really expect to catch flack for this is in my opinion of the music, which was composed by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. In short, I liked some of it, but a lot of it felt mostly like a Hamilton reprise mixed with an island feel. It’s not meant to be a huge knock towards the film, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much. (I’ll admit it has more to do with my opinion of Miranda’s musical voice) The story was well-trodden ground,but the infusion of a very untapped culture and its influences were a perfect addition to this story and made the movie really come alive onscreen. Not to mention that Moana is a very gorgeous movie. From every vibrant color imaginable to the crystal blue of the sea, Moana is so much to take in that it temporarily distracts from the story.
The movie’s best moments are shared by Moana’s grandmother, the village crazy lady, and Maui, the demi-god sent to help humankind. Anytime they are onscreen the movie is instantly better. Both were hilarious and all around great characters that served as the emotional core of an otherwise alright Disney animated film. Overall, I’m glad Moana exceeded my expectations, however, that wasn’t difficult because I didn’t expect to leave liking it and I did. These types of movies just don’t do it for me as much as others. I fully admit that so take my review with a grain of salt if you like everything Disney and just chalk up my experience as a “not for everyone” kind of thing. No harm. No foul.
Moana – 3 GARYS