Moana

In Disney’s latest animated film, you get a polynesian princess and Maui, a herculean strongman. These two unwittingly team together to save their world.

Moana starts out on a tropical island. It could be Hawaii but it isn’t said exactly where. We find out it is of the Polynesian realm so it likely could be. Moana is the Chieftain’s daughter and plays at the seashore a lot. We see her grow through 2 phases and when she is close to adult age, she decides to go out and see what she can see at sea. It’s a good thing too because, as it so happens, the future of her people and islands depends on her.

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This is a great movie. You get a princess who kept reminding me of Rapunzel in Tangled. It’s the eyes that did it. You also get a scoundrel, mean Maui played by Dwayne Johnson. We get to hear him sing which is quite noteworthy. I never thought I’d hear a wrestler sing like this. HE actually hits the notes and does a damn good job as a singer in this. Who knew?

I thought the middle was a little scant but the dynamics of the relationship between Maui and Moana keep things exciting. I must say that Moana is created to be incredibly beautiful. They certainly took a lot of care bringing her character to life. Disney is to be applauded.

When I say scant, I mean they are at sea. It’s pretty cool seeing Maui use his magic abilities to shape shift but I felt if they wanted to portray a setting like Hawaii, they could have gotten a lot more scenery in. This gets a lot better toward the end in the final scenes. All in all this film is great to look at.

There are some great images of the water and coral. I wondered if they were done with real video or made with cgi. I think a combo is the best and it seems like that’s what they used here. When the water rises up in an anthropomorphic way, it’s spectacular. I have to give kudos to the animators once again.

I highly recommend Moana, though it’s doing very well without my recommendation. There is some humor thrown in with a quest, inspiring music, and Polynesian folklore.

Author: Damien Riley

I write film reviews & record 2 film podcasts: The Damien Riley Podcast and Talking Stars. Thanks for reading and listening, see you at the movies!

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