If you haven’t seen Moana by now (I know, since it came out so long ago), I promise I won’t spoil anything for you. It has opened to rave reviews and is on the way to have a huge intake at the box office for opening week. But, is it really worth seeing? Let’s see…
Moana is the teenage daughter of a chief who is in line to learn the ways of the land and earn her place as chief. Early on in her life, the water called to her, and as she grew older, she was drawn to the water. When her island is in trouble, she takes it on herself and with her help of the water, to travel to find Maui and the two of them could save not only her people, but the rest of the world. Along the way, they encounter Tamatoa the Crab, the Krakatoa, and a giant lava monster before they can actually try to set out to save the world.
The story was truly about a journey. It was a journey to solve a problem, but also for characters to grow. There were even a couple of twists to add different directions at times.
If there’s any complaint I have, it’s that the first 30 minutes or so was a bit long for an introduction. The setup could have happened a bit faster, in my opinion.
I grew to love Moana as a character. Moana is a heroine that can hold her own, and isn’t afraid to put her hair up in a bun and get things done. What was refreshing about Moana is that she didn’t have or need a love interest of any kind, which is quite the deviation for a Disney heroine or princess.
I have to say, I may have liked Maui’s tattoo mini-me more than I liked Maui. Without ever uttering a word, his expressions could help guide Maui to make the right decisions. He was quite the comedic relief alongside HeiHei. Remarkably, the water was it’s own character. Leave it to Disney to make water a character that makes you laugh.
With all of this, it was a bit surprising to see some complexity of a lot of characters in one animated film.
Even some of the characters that were onscreen for a brief amount of time had depth to them. This will make for some new classic Disney characters to populate people’s minds and hearts.
HeiHei, though fun, is the only complaint in the realm of characters. He wasn’t needed in the scheme of things. He’s great comic relief, but not integral to the story compared to the other characters (Pua may not be too integral either, but he stole the show for being a baby pig).
Moana was probably one of the most beautifully animated films that I’ve ever seen, it sparked in me this desire to visit Hawaii or some other tropical locale. There are rich style and tone to the film. It has such a wide range of looks. It may have been because of the amount of locations the story takes place in, but the animators did a great job at making them each exotic from each other and distinct.
Disney is pushing the limits on what can be accomplished with computer animation. I was very impressed by how it was presented, and how real most of the texture was.
The movie was very much a musical. Though it has a great deal of adventure, it has a musical at the heart. There’s a range of style from distinctly Hawaiian to some Broadway type tunes. Opetaia Foa’i brings a very island flare to a couple of the songs. While Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mark Mancina give it the Broadway and pop intonations.
As much as the music has been hyped since the release of a few of the songs, the music has been growing on me. It didn’t strike me as amazing when I was first hearing some of the songs, but the more I listen the more I like them. The songs aren’t bad, but I wouldn’t put them as Disney outstanding. Again, that’s immediately after seeing the film, so it may change the more I listen. But, for now, not instant Disney hits in my book.
One more good thing I’ll say is Auli’i Cravalho did an amazing job for being a new and young singer. She has a strong voice that gives the songs she sings life.
Moana was a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. My final conclusion for this movie, was that Pua the pig was not in the movie enough. Hopefully he and HeiHei the chicken get their own short in the future. Otherwise, I would say that this movie needs to be seen in 3D simply because it would enhance the animation experience. The visuals of the movie are amazing! The way the story ends up going was a big surprise that was very enjoyable to watch unfold.
So, is it worth watching? Yes! It’s a big screen film from all the incredible animated effects and big scenes. The plot is enjoyable, and there’s fun humor. It’s a good film, though I wouldn’t call it a Disney great (sorry to say). Still, catch it in the theaters and it’ll be worth it!
A big thanks to Caitlyn for helping write this review! And, what do you think if you’ve seen Moana? Feel free to leave a comment below!