Saturday, 3 June 2017

Film Review: Moana

I really wanted to see Moana but we just missed it when it was at our local cinema so when we were putting an order in to Amazon shortly before our frozen embryo transfer, I asked Mr Click to use it to make up the order so we could watch it during my long weekend chilling at home.

The day after our transfer, I dragged myself out of bed in the afternoon, settled in front of the TV and we popped in the film.

Moana is a teenager who must set out on a quest to help save her people as their island is slowly enveloped by a curse. She meets up with the demigod Maui who must help her to return the heart of Te Fiti to prevent the spread of the darkness which is taking over her island home. Of course, along the way, in true Disney style, Moana learns what her true destiny is.

I can remember when I was younger being told that you can always tell a Disney film by the way that they animated the water. Disney animators seemed to have cracked the way that water flows and ripples and reflects the light in a way which many other film studios just couldn't seem to get.

Nowadays I think that's probably not so much the case. When you look at films like Shrek or Ice Age the water flows and ripples and reflects the light in a very believable way. But Disney have outdone themselves with the animation in Moana.

I wasn't expecting the sea to be a character in its own right, but it selects Moana for her quest as a child, capturing her spirit and calling to her despite her parents attempts to keep her away from it.

Moana is a brilliant character as well. She can't help but be drawn to the sea from an early age, after the encounter seen above. But she's the chief's daughter and is expected to help lead her people. Her father is keen to keep her away from the sea following his own bad experience, but eventually Moana gets her chance to go and heads off on her mission to save the island.

She's a strong character, but she's also a teenager and she's not totally confident in herself. I think she's pretty gorgeous as well. I like that Disney are exploring characters of different races and even more impressively almost every character in this film is voiced by an actor of Polynesian descent. As a young white girl I was lucky in that many of the Disney Princesses had skin or hair or features just like me (more or less) and it's only in recent years that I've really become aware of the fact that for many children that's simply not the case. I think Disney still has a way to go in this department, but I think they're taking steps in the right direction.

Moana's got a lot to learn which I like in a character, it's always good to see that a character is out of their depth and doesn't really know what they're doing. Obviously if you're going to run off and take on a mission at sea, perhaps one important thing to master is the ability to sail. Something which Moana isn't too hot at, but luckily (or perhaps unluckily at first) she meets up with Maui.

Maui is a demigod who thinks rather highly of himself. Unfortunately, he needs his hook to use his shape-shifting powers so they have to hurry off on a side mission to retrieve this from Tamatoa, a giant crab creature before they can restore Te Fiti's heart. Maui isn't overly keen on Moana at first, but gradually he comes around.

One of my favourite things about Maui is his tattoos. He's covered in little miniature representations of himself and the great things he's achieved. These little mini-Maui's seem to be rather critical of him which is the source for lots of little funny moments. There's something about the tattoos which reminds me of the chorus in Hercules.

Maui also has probably the best song in the film, You're Welcome:

If you've not heard this before, be prepared to be singing it for the rest of the day!

The music in this film isn't quite as earwormy as the songs from Frozen, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I'm sure there are many preschooler parents who are thrilled not to have Let It Go the Second blaring at them every five minutes. I was a little disappointed that the songs didn't quite capture me the way that they did when I watched Frozen (and to some extent, Tangled) but now I feel like they're more of a slow burn collection of songs. I think with each rewatch I'm going to like them a little bit more.

And that's the same sort of feeling I have for the film as a whole. I think that there'll probably be a lot more that I could say about this film once I've watched it again. I'm actually already planning a rewatch a week on from seeing it, which is a clear sign that a film has actually grabbed my attention even if I didn't think it had.

If you've not seen it already, definitely make time to watch it. Enjoy the story, have fun listening to the songs, and celebrate the new characters Disney have introduced us to.


  1. Replies
    1. I highly recommend it. I watched it again on Saturday and ended up crying during it!


Let me know what you think. :-)