Movie Review: Moana


Photo Courtesy of Flickr

“Moana” is one of the most beautiful animated movies that I have ever seen. Not only is the fact the characters are made up of Pacific Islanders beautiful, but Disney seems to have made some fix-its when it comes to the way their princesses are treated. Moana is not forced or expected to succeed. She does things out of her own free will, and her family understands when she has taken on too much and needs to breathe. That is so important. Sure princesses have done such things in the past, but I have never seen a woman in a Disney movie not be berated for giving up. Instead, Moana is understood and cared for. After all, she is human and sometimes we are not as strong as we’d like to be.

Moana is a strong and independent young woman who only wants the best for her village. As the daughter of the village chief, she is expected to put her people before herself. And she does. Moana’s journey across the sea is not some attempt at self-discovery; it is her quest to save her people, to save the Earth goddess, Te Fiti. Her father, the chief, does not approve. He wants her to stay on the island where she is safe. Moana knows that leaving is the only way to save them.

First, she must find the demigod who stole Te Fiti’s heart: Maui. After he stole her heart, Maui was struck out of the sky by the evil lava goddess, Te Ka and the heart was lost to the sea. Moana, thanks to her Gramma Tala, has the heart. She just needs Maui to return it to its rightful owner. After some misadventures and a weird run in with some coconut pirates, they eventually get the heart back to where it belongs.

Along the course of the movie, there were a few characters that really stood out to me: Moana (of course), Maui, Gramma Tala, Hei-hei, the Ocean and Tamatoa. All of these were interesting and fun characters. My personal favorite, other than Moana, is Hei-hei. Hei-hei is a rooster whose name is literally rooster. If that doesn’t interest you enough, he is probably the dumbest and most outrageous Disney character I have ever seen. Seriously, if it wasn’t Disney, he’d be dead within the first few minutes. His comedic tendencies lend a bit of light heartedness to scenes that would’ve otherwise been just filler. Even the Ocean likes Hei-hei and continuously saves the dummy from drowning.

Another great part of this movie was the music. It was awesome. Every song gave me chills, and even Tamatoa’s “Shiny” was well-written and well performed. Of course, this was to be expected considering Disney hired Lin-Manuel Miranda. Every single song was lyrically sound and fun to sing along to. Especially Maui’s “Your Welcome” and Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go.” The whole soundtrack is worth listening to.

Shout out to the artists and animators for making such a beautiful movie! They made the ocean, a non-speaking character, seem relatable and real. Even Hei-hei showed some emotion. And Moana’s hair, that was some great animation! It moves naturally, it looks wet when it is and the curls are amazing!

I am so happy to finally have a Disney character that I can relate to, and she’s an alto! Which means no straining my voice when singing along to “How Far I’ll Go.” This movie is definitely worth seeing; you won’t regret it.