What it's about:
An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and save her people—with a little help from her demigod, Maui.
What we thought:
Moana is absolutely everything you will be looking for in a Disney animation!
After watching the flick I immediately started thinking about all the things that make this film brilliant that I’d like to highlight, but honestly speaking it was all just so perfect. I never thought that I would walk out of an animation thinking ‘wow that was AWESOME!’
Let’s start with the cast. Of course there was a lot of hype that The Rock would have a starring role in the movie and the hype was worth it, he absolutely nailed it! Playing the cocky demigod Maui, Dwayne Johnson has everything Maui needs (even a good singing voice) to help Moana on her way.
This brings me to newcomer Auli'i Cravalho, who voices Moana and so beautifully creates a ‘Disney princess’ every little girl can look up to. In fact every woman in general can look up to her.
Moana isn’t just any princess. She goes against the norm of having a love interest, being the damsel in distress and depending on a prince to save her. She accepts the responsibility of being chief, goes on a journey to bring back old traditions in her culture and learns to chart her own course. Independence like this isn’t always portrayed very well in films especially in an animation but it is so successfully illustrated in Moana.
Another shining character is Gramma Tala voiced by Rachel House. Her wise but quirky character had a way of making me feel warm and fuzzy, you know, the feeling you get when your granny bakes you something or even just hugs you.
Moving on to the beautiful soundtrack (which I’m listening to while writing this). Lin-Manual Miranda proves time and time again what a genius he is! Every track not only fits perfectly with the characters that sing them but it achieves the goal of adding richness to the tale being told and adds colour to Moana’s adventure.
And what’s more South African singer, Lira sings one of the most iconic songs in the local version of the film, How Far I’ll Go.
One last thing I can’t ignore is the animation itself.
Moana is full of colour, from the tropical elements on the island to the motion of the ocean and Te Fiti’s dark and light side. These have to be some of Disney’s best visuals! I was secretly hoping the movie would be in 3D but honestly speaking it isn’t even needed.
This is an utmost revival of Disney films. They have managed to explore less recognisable cultures and introduce the rich ancestry and mythology of this culture to the world in a respectful manner.
Filled with magical characters, big musical numbers, and what I think are some of the best visuals Disney has produced, Moana really is an adventure everyone needs to see.