Disney, in 2016, has had the best year for any movie studio in history. It seems like everything they released was a hit. Moana was no different. It is a fantastic movie. It has gotten to the point where I am not sure that Disney knows how to release a bad animated film (unless it has Cars in the title).
Moana is about a young chieftain’s daughter, the titular Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), who has been tasked by the Ocean to return a gem stolen by the demigod Maui (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) to the Mother Island, Te Fiti. Of course she will have to overcome many obstacles on her journey.
This is the first Disney animated film since Mulan where it felt like the young woman’s journey was more than just personal. Yes I know in Frozen they stop the never ending winter, but it was still about the love of two sisters, but in Moana her job is to save the word. I guess what I am trying to say is, good on Disney for giving a girl a proper hero’s journey film.
I know that Disney has come under some fire for making the men in Moana overweight, which was not something that happened until the Pacific Islands were taken over by the west, and because Disney jumbled up all the Pacific Island traditions in to one ‘Polynesian’ culture, but in this white guy’s opinion they still managed to treat the various cultures with a great amount of care. Which like a girl on a hero’s journey, is quite refreshing.
To top it all off the movie looks amazing. The colors are lush, and new and exciting things are being shown at every turn. The film looks like we hope every trip to the Pacific Islands will be like. As a matter of fact Moana has me jonesing to go back to Hawaii (to be fair I always want to go to Hawaii).
Moana is deserving of all the praise it has been getting, and it has me excited to see what Disney will come up with next. The only warning I can think of with this film is that since it deals with a Polynesian creation story, you may want to have a discussion about other religions and beliefs before or after you watch the film. Other than that, you should go watch Moana before it leaves theaters.