Despite declaring herself very firmly “Not a princess” during the film, Moana has easily become one of my favorite Disney Princesses as the 16-year-old is chosen by the ocean to reunite the Heart of Tehiti and save her people.
I was invited to the press screening for Moana and let me say there isn’t anything I don’t love about this movie.This is a film about worth and fulfilling destiny, about believing in yourself and not giving up, despite the odds or the appearance of what you’re facing. It succeeded in all the places Frozen failed for me and I’m completely in love with it.
Moana is beautiful in spirit and brave of heart. She answers a calling on her soul and undertakes the daunting task of saving her people despite the fact it meant going against her parents, and especially her father’s wishes. I loved the way the movie handled the relationship between father and daughter, doing an excellent job of humanizing her parents and helping us understand why he was so determined to keep her from the ocean, while showing us a lineage of leaders and a history of a people who changed over time into something that was never meant for them to become.
Yes, of course, it is charming and funny in all the ways we’ve come to expect from Disney. The animal sidekicks are an adorable puppy-like pig named Pua and a dimwitted chicken named Hei-Hei, who I found absolutely lovable despite the poor chicken being as close to an inanimate object as you could think. One other nice thing, the 3D was used perfectly to add depth and dimension to scenes, rather than to shock us by throwing things at our faces.
This is, of course, yet another film in the new land we’ve come to where there is no prince or love interest, but in this film, it very much works. Moana is not a heroine out to prove she doesn’t need a man, she’s simply a girl chosen for a destiny greater than she knew she was capable.
The relationship between Moana and Maui is fantastic because they come to respect and need one another as they share this journey, each having their own lessons to learn and obstacles to overcome along the way.
The demi-god Maui is a culture hero in both Polynesian and Hawaiian mythology. Although his origin story is tweaked and made a bit more kid-friendly for this Disney tale, he is an important figure in many of the island cultures. And for any of you wondering if there is any connection between Maui the demigod and the Hawaiian island, well, the Hawaiian Island was named after the son of Hawaiʻiloa who settled the islands and named them after his children. His son, Maui, was in fact named after the demi-god. So there’s your mythology-slash-history lesson for the day. 😉
As we’re coming to see more and more, of late, there is no “bad guy” per se to fight against, no defining villain. It is a film about overcoming the obstacles we carry within. While we do get an attempt at a villain song, I think it falls flat and felt out of place to a certain degree though, if I’m honest. The soundtrack, on the whole, isn’t as strong as say, Frozen, but does have a couple of great moments. Written by Hamilton genius Lin-Manual Miranda, there is a great vehicle song for Maui’s character which is perfect and I do love Moana’s main theme. Particularly how it changes just slightly throughout the film as she comes to understand better the call on her soul. But for the most part, I found the music bland and certainly didn’t leave the theater humming any of the tunes. 🙁
Moana is entirely entertaining from beginning to end. What pushes this film over-the-top straight to my heart is the theme of someone having a calling on their heart or soul all of their life and the need to answer that call. You all know me well enough by now. That’s my life, and to see it played out in a Disney Princess was more than I had ever hoped to see.
I recommend this one wholeheartedly! Don’t miss Moana’s journey! Go with an open mind and heart and let yourself be inspired!
And as is the case with all the best films, you do want to sit through the credits for your little treat at the end. 😉
Also shown with this film is the short film Inner Workings, the story of the internal struggle between a man’s pragmatic, logical side and his free-spirited, adventurous half. Created by a small team at Walt Disney Animation Studios in a unique, fast-paced style that blends CG and traditional hand-drawn animation, the short explores the importance of finding balance in daily life. Leo Matsuda, a story artist on Big Hero 6 and Wreck-It Ralph directed the film, which Sean Lurie produced. – From Wikepeidia
I loved this film so much I even found myself even tearing up as we were shown the daily struggle between heart and mind. Actually, in the case of this short film, the literal battle between heart and mind. Many people are making comparisons to Inside Out, and there’s obvious reason, but don’t make the comparison if you can keep yourself from doing so. Just watch this and enjoy it for its own merits. I found such joy in watching this little film. Plus it was very nice to see hand drawn animation again.
Author, Mystic, Disney Enthusiast, Dream Follower Extraordinaire.
Samantha aspires to bring joy and light to the world, one book, magazine, blog or live stream at a time. She’s a woman of deep faith, a twin flame, and has just completed one full year of Disney fun by going to Walt Disney World every single day from Sep23, 2016 to Sep 22, 2017 and now she writes about how taking leaps of faith and following crazy dreams can change your life.