Unlike the rest of the world, despite my eagerness to watch Disney’s Moana, I was late to the game. So many movies, so little time. I recently had the chance to watch the beauty unfold, a moment that I had been waiting for ever since the first trailer was released. Did Disney deliver a magical story, as per usual?
Moana is directed by Ron Clements and Don Hall with a screenplay by Jared Bush that tells a beautiful story in which everyone needs to see. The film was released on November 26th, 2016 and did exceedingly well at the box office, grossing over $50 million on its opening weekend as well as earning an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film. It has such beauty, attention to deal, wonderful music, and unique characters. Plus, they also found the perfect cast to play the voices, including Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, and Nicole Scherzinger.
The story is based on Polynesian mythology and follows the story of Moana (Cravalho), who has always had a unique connection to the ocean. She’s the daughter of the chief and has a certain destiny to follow, but the water keeps calling her name despite her father’s wishes. When the island she lives on becomes plagued with sick crops, she sets out on a journey to find the demigod Maui (Johnson) in order to restore the island and bring back the heart of the goddess Te Fiti, so that she’ll be happy and whole again.
Disney has come so far from the original classic stories. Don’t get me wrong, I love them as well, but I truly enjoy all of these girl power themes. Moana goes beyond anything we could want from a female role model. It’s movies like this that will empower our youth and let them know they can do and be anything if they just believe in themselves.
Moana is cinematically breathtaking. I haven’t seen an animated film this beautiful in a long time. It takes place in a different area of the world than I’m used to and it makes you appreciate all the outstanding colors our planet holds with its depiction of the ocean, trees, hills, and more. Along with this comes amazing visual effects that really draw you into the film, especially with the story of Maui and the beasts they encounter along the way. Te Fiti was a wonder to behold as well.
The characters in Moana are exceptional. They’re rich with detail and characteristics and I loved every one of them that came across the screen. I love how colorful they were from their outer appearance to everything inside them. They’re proud of who they are and where they come from (well, most of them were). Some of my favorites are the villains that they come across on their epic journey – the little badass coconut pirates!
Beyond all of this, one of the best things about Moana is hands down the soundtrack. Holy cow. Move over Frozen, there’s a new voice in town and it belongs to Auli’i Cravalho. She may be a young actress/performer, but her words and the angelic music that flow through her will really touch your heart and soul, especially with the songs “How Far I’ll Go and “I Am Moana.” You can check out one of the clips up above. However, they’re just a few of the several wonderful songs including “You’re Welcome” by Dwayne Johnson. Who knew The Rock could sing?
Overall, Moana is magically fantastic and a film you’ll want to add to your movie collection. If you love girl power, adventure, new friendships, fun characters, and touching moments mixed with comedy, this film is perfect for you.