It’s hard to not enjoy a Disney movie. They didn’t become the juggernaut they are by not knowing how to make content that appeals to large audiences. Moana is just another example of the craftsmanship Disney can put out into the world. My family and I all enjoyed the movie very much with my twelve-year-old emphatically proclaiming it’s better than Frozen. I give Moana the Must See rating.
Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is the daughter of the chief of her village set to take over one day. However, she’s compelled to set sail her whole life and has to resist the urge to leave as her tribe needs her to stay. That is until the crops and fish become scarce and she is sent to find the demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to set right a mistake he made thousands of years before.
Like many Disney films that came before, the music in this film is fantastic. The music was composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, from the acclaimed Hamilton Broadway play, Mark Mancina, who worked on the Lion King, and Opetaia Foa’i who is a Samoan musician. My family and I walked out with the songs pleasantly stuck in our heads. It’s uplifting, catchy and extremely enjoyable.
Moana is voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho. She’s got so much personality for a first time actress. I’d have been concerned that she may not be able to emote believably, but she nails it. She also has to sing and her voice is great there as well. Dwayne Johnson is usually someone I enjoy having grown up a big WWE fan. I was extremely impressed to hear him sing in this film. He only gets one song, but I’d say he nailed it…if you smell what Maui is cooking…sorry.
Final thoughts on Moana
If you’re a fan of Disney movies then you’ll likely love this. If you enjoy heartfelt stories about finding one’s place in this world you’ll also love it. It’s a great way of introducing the world to Samoan culture even if it’s not all accurate. People will start to do research and look into the myths discussed in the film. I plan to spend some time looking at various pages for that very reason. Take your family to the theater and enjoy.