Date watched: Sunday 4th December 2016
Year released: 2016
First time watching?: Yes
From IMDb: “In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.”
As I’ve mentioned before, a new Disney release means me getting straight to the cinema to check it out, and I’m thrilled to report that “Moana” is already seriously contending to become one of my favourite Disney princess movies of all of Disney’s movie history (favourites currently include Mulan, Pocahontas and Belle just to paint a picture for you).
Yes, it is technically another Disney princess movie, but don’t let that put you off from this beautiful movie. Set in the Polynesian Islands every single moment is completely visually stunning and Disney seem to be increasingly raising the bar when it comes to their animated movies. The animation for “Moana” definitely surpasses that of Disney’s release “Zootopia” earlier this year.
Amongst all this beautiful scenery is a simple, classic Disney storyline, but it felt to me like Disney were very aware of changing times around them. There was no hint of any romance for Moana anywhere in the narrative, which in any movie is incredibly refreshing. There was no need for it in the plot, and the lack of it meant more space for some wonderful character development in the non-romantic department. Right from the off Moana was introduced as the daughter of the chieftain with plans that she would grow up and manage their people in the future … and again not a single mention of the fact that she was a woman nor any suggestion that she would have to marry in order to take over from her father. It’s only something small in the wider context of things but it just feels like a step in the right direction for things to come. Movies so often seem to cop out and throw romance in just so it’s there and almost every other Disney princess movie in the past has suggested that our heroine needs to marry for one reason or another.
“Moana” boasts a colourful cast of characters; all of whom are likeable and relatable in some way or another (except for the chicken sidekick, who didn’t seem to have any purpose at all except to be a chicken). Dwayne Johnson brought charm and humour to his role as Maui, and the young Auli’i Cravalho in her debut movie role as Moana was wonderful. I read earlier that Dwayne Johnson believes providing voices for animated features is the most difficult type of acting, but I think everyone shone in their respective roles.
I especially loved the inclusion of the ocean as a character in her own right. I studied marine biology in university and I’m very passionate about the protection and welfare of our oceans, so to class her as a character in the movie was a simply wonderful touch by the writers.
In case you haven’t guessed, I loved this movie. Disney have done it again, and they just keep getting better and better with each new feature they release.
My rating: 9/10