Disney’s latest animated film takes us on amazing journey through Polynesian folklore as a young girl fulfills an ancient prophecy and saves her island home. Her name is Moana, and she is another amazing character in Disney’s girl power movement.
Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is the daughter of the chief and future leader of her island. Because it is deemed too dangerous, no one ever ventures beyond the island’s reef. Yet Moana is drawn to the ocean and her grandmother (Rachel House) encourages her curiosity. While everyone else is looking inward, they are always looking out.
When crops start dying and the fishermen can find no fish, Moana and her grandmother know that it is due to an ancient tale. The only thing that can save their world is if Moana sails away, finds the demigod Maui and makes him return the heart he stole to Te Fiti. Moana journeys alone along the ocean, and the ocean, having chosen her as a baby, guides and protects her along the way.
While Moana is the heart and soul of the story, Maui ends up stealing the show. Voiced by Dwayne Johnson, Maui is a trickster demigod full of muscle and covered in tattoos displaying his adventures. His introductory song, You’re Welcome is a toe-tapping high point in the film that I could not stop listening to for days. Who knew Dwayne The Rock Johnson could sing?
The rest of the music is just as wonderful. The songs are fun, catchy and perfectly mix with the film’s unique island style. How Far I’ll Go is a beautiful theme for Moana and Shiny is a fun addition to villain musical numbers.
Moana is a great animated film for all ages. There are some very cool Easter eggs for adults to notice, including some crazy Mad Max style coconuts. Though some moments may be sad or a bit scary for small children, it is not too intense. My two year old son loved the film, especially the final adversary, who he refers to as “The Lava Monster.”
In the Oscar race, I think that Moana could easily win Best Animated feature. I also believe a song or two will be nominated for best song. Really, I’m hoping You’re Welcome is nominated just so we can see Johnson perform it live.
I love Moana for its beautiful story and unique setting. I admire how Moana is not outwardly rebellious, but tries to respect traditions and needs a little push to break them. Best of all, this is one of Disney’s best depiction of raw girl power and the first with no hints of romance at all. I certainly hope it isn’t the last.
“See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me.”