Moana Review

Hello peeps! So I’m trying to post regularly to get a good system going so here goes 🙂

A few months ago I went to see Disney’s latest CG animated film, Moana, with a friend and I have to admit it was one of my best cinema experiences in a long time. I remember coming out and turning into the biggest fangirl I think I’ve ever been for a Disney film, I just couldn’t wait to watch it again and show it to my other friends and family to see what they thought and to double check whether the film was actually as good as I initially thought it was.

Moana is about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, she meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.

So today I watched Moana again on DVD (which of course I ordered on the day it came out) and unsurprisingly loved it just as much as the first time! This film is a great example of what Disney has achieved recently, not just in beautifully rendered animation but also having a more modern take on an independent female lead and a focus on a different culture which we haven’t seen too much of from them. Of course they did Princess and the Frog, but it was really nice to see another film respecting and admiring other cultures that are different to the traditional Western representation in most of their films.

Of course, many people have been reminded of Frozen when watching this film and for obvious reasons, with a strong female lead, musical numbers and funny sidekicks. And I definitely think it shows Disney is taking a step in the right direction. The characters, especially the main leads Moana and Maui, are very likeable and well developed with their dialogue coming off as hilarious when the two have to get along and soon an endearing friendship blossoms between the two. It’s also nice to see that Moana never gains a love interest in the film, for the majority of the time, the film focuses on her individual quest and her strong, but relatably adventurous personality that bounces off Maui’s arrogance and wit perfectly. There’s a great balance of humour and emotion as their friendship develops, with a delightful script that will entertain both children and adults.

I’ve seen many comments comparing Moana’s ‘How Far I’ll Go’ to Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ and to be honest, I can see why. This film’s main theme, sung beautifully by Auli’i Cravalho, not only captures the adventurous and daring character, but also invites the audience along on her epic journey to save her people. Speaking of Auli’i, it was nice to see when I watched behind the scenes footage, that Disney chose an actress originally from Hawaii to match the nationality of Moana, which I thought made her the perfect choice. She made a fantastic job at capturing Moana’s adventure, determination and quirky side and a powerful, promising performance in ‘How Far I’ll Go’. I also really liked Dwayne Johnson as Mauii, who was really good at capturing the typical arrogant, carefree character, whilst also packing a lot of power into ‘Your Welcome’. The two bounced off eachother so well I was actually surprised that they didn’t film their lines together! Another nod must go to Rachel House, who provided a calm, sweet voice to Gramma Tala, and was a welcoming extra to the film to provide support and love for her granddaughter, Moana.

There are so many sequences in this film that are stunning to watch. The animation on the water was essential to look good since the water is a character in itself, and it didn’t disappoint! So much creativity and effort has obviously gone into this film to make everything look as realistic as possible. This even included characters’ hair movements, especially Moana’s which looked incredibly realistic. Without giving anything away, I must say that the final confrontation towards the end was my personal favourite scene in the whole film because of the gorgeous animation and the moving musical score perfectly woven in underneath.

Anyone who hasn’t seen Moana yet I would definitely recommend you watch it! Without trying to exaggerate too much, it’s definitely one of the best films I’ve seen recently with memorable, relatable characters, a terrific musical score, talented voice actors, a strong story and female lead, and stunning animation-a must-see for Disney fans and anyone!

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