“There is more beyond the shore.”
From the minds of Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and The Frog, and Hercules) washes up to shore another Disney animated classic, Moana. The film stars newcomer Auli’i Cravalho as the voice of Moana Waialiki, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the voice of the DemiGod Maui, Rachel House as Gramma Tala, Moana Pozzi as Oceania, Temuera Morrison as Chief Tui Waialiki, Nicole Scherzinger as Sina Waialiki, and Jemaine Clement as Tamatoa. On a mystic island in Polynesia, the 16-year-old strong-willed daughter of the chief of the tribe, Moana from Motunui Island, is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite the Heart of Te Fiti. She sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod and hopes to save her people. I absolutely loved this film. I haven’t had this much fun in the theaters in awhile. First off, let me talk about the short “Inner Workings” that was shown before the film. It was adorable. Kind of a silly ending with the sudden office dance party, but I loved the running gag with the funeral, having a great little emotional pay off and the credits were cute. Also, apparently he has great taste in women. Girl was thick. What I really liked was that he still went back to the office, but with a different attitude. I think that’s a much more powerful message than if he had ditched work completely.
This was one of the most beautiful vivid films I have ever seen, ruling out Life of Pi and even Avatar. From the sea and waves of the oceans to the grainy crystals of sand, everything was such a sight to see. All thanks to the advancements of technology, we are able to get these extremely detailed and ultra realistic pieces of scenery. I got the impression that the two animal sidekicks were the two sides of Moana. The pig represented her island and her people, none of whom would leave the island, mostly due to fear. Just like when they are trying to switch off the shore the first time and they get scared. The chicken was her love of the ocean and need to explore it and go to places unseen, which requires a bit of crazy or outright stupidity. This movie had a clear, simple intent and executed it well. That made it powerful for me. The music was fantastic. Between How Far I’ll Go, We Know The Way, and You’re Welcome, all of those songs are going to be stuck in my head for awhile. They are so catchy and Lin-Manuel Miranda did a spectacular job with the singing/music. I am hoping that one of those songs are nominated for an Oscar. I was happy to see that, while it may have some Disney Princess musical formulas, they did a lot of things differently than in their previous movies. Moana is a “princess/royalty” (she doesn’t consider herself as one) but she actually does work and practices leadership skills. It was nice to see a world inspired by the Polynesian culture that isn’t explored very often in movies. The scene where they depicting I am glad that they didn’t force a love interest into this movie as well. This easily could have been Maui movie with Moana as a background character but I am glad it didn’t happen. I also like that it had more of an action/adventure feel than other female-led Disney films.
My only complaint with the movie was that we didn’t see any other sea serpents and such besides a couple of glimpses. Tamatoa was one of the best parts in the movie and I kinda wish he would have been the main villain. But overall, it didn’t effect my enjoyment of this movie.
One of the best animated films of the year, possibly the best of the year. The animation looked absolutely breathtaking, especially the ocean. The songs are all memorable, fun, and unique. The characters are all so entertaining to watch. The voice acting is spot-on. Dwayne Johnson is charismatic and electrifying as Maui and Auli’i Cravalho is wonderful as Moana. It is absolutely worth seeing in theaters. Check it out.
SuperSam Rating: 10/10.