Disney’s Moana

YES! I finally saw Moana. If I hadn’t have been moving house just before Christmas, I probably would have seen it much sooner. No worries, better late than never. And luckily, I was still looking forward to seeing it, due to all the positive reviews I’d read, and people I know telling me to go and see it. I was confident that I was not going to be disappointed…

First point I want to make, which has been made in almost every review I’ve read, is how beautiful the film was. To think there are still parts of our planet that looks that beautiful in real life and I want to see it. I want to dip my toes in that turqoise water and then swim with all the amazing animals that live there. Even Moana’s village looked inviting. I wanted to live there and have to not worry about wearing shoes, or feeling cold, or having to put on make-up before I walk out the door in public.
Despite this film being an animated movie, the creators and artists behind the setting of the film did not hold back, and I think they have set the bar very, very high for themselves and other film makers alike. They did not miss a single drop of water, grain of sand or leaf from the paml trees. Every little detail was thought of. And for me, I would have felt different about the film if it hadn’t have looked so amazingly beautiful. You can see the animator’s brilliant talent just from looking at those small but very important details.

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Secondly, Moana is not the future. By that I mean, she is exactly the kind of Princess/Chief, all little girls should be looking up to. I love my Belle, and Snow White, etc. But I have never wanted to be them. I have never wanted to have their life. But Moana is the type of girl I wish I could be. She is beyond independent. She is not afraid to try. She is brave, and loyal, and just plain awesome! And to top it off, she is by far, the most beautiful of all the Disney Princesses. Inside, and out.
Also, not once during the film, is marriage ever mentioned. Moana’s family focuses on teaching her how to look after herself, and the village, because she is to become Chief one day. She is taught to think of her people, before herself. Never does her mum or dad talk about who they think she should marry, or what type of wife she should be. That is not important to them during the film. I mean, she is only a teenager, so it might be a topic of discussion when she’s older, but we’ll never know.
Disney has finally pulled themselves away from that fairytale-type of story, and realised that in reality, marriage is not what all girls think about. There is more to life than procreation, and finding your “true love”. There’s a whole world of adventure out there for anyone, girl or boy, to explore.

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Ok, next I want to tell you my thoughts on the music. I was a little bit disappointed. Yes I know you can’t believe it. I think it was due to my high expectations. When I found out Lin Manuel was writing the songs I had kind of set the bar a little too high. Maybe it’s because I love the Frozen soundtrack so much as well, and I remember loving and wanting to sing-a-long to every word the first time I saw it. I didn’t get that feeling with Moana.
Yes, “Your Welcome” is catchy, and Dwayne Johnson performs it so well, I was surprised to hear how good of a singer and performer he is. But why did Moana only have one song? And the song repeats over and over again. Well she has a second song, but it sound the same as the first. That was a big disappointment for me.
My favourite song though was “Where you are”. I loved seeing Moana growing up and her parents trying to show her the ways of the village, and yet all she wants to do is explore the water. And “”We know the way” gave me goosebumps.
Maybe once I have it on DVD and can watch it as many times as I want, I might fall in love with the music. But as a first impression, I felt it could have been better.

I cannot speak on behalf of anyone who is Polynesian, or from a Polynesian country. I hope Disney did do them justice, and got it right. As a viewer, it seemed to me as though they did get it right, and I felt it was a much better attempt than Lilo & Stitch. I know they were different stories, and different type of animation. Moana, however captured a way of life that a lot of people have forgotten, or are not aware that still exists in some parts of the world.
I did notice, that there may have been some inspiration from two other Disney films. I could see similarities from both Pocahontas, and Brother Bear. Both films involve spirituality, nature, and wise grandmother type figures who guide the lead characters. Whether or not this was intentional, or just a coincidence, the directors certainly have paid attention to previous films made by their co-workers.

All-in-all I really enjoyed Moana. Disney is certainly proving that once again they are the ones to beat. They make the most beautiful animated stories. Even more beautiful than Studio Gibli. They are proving to be moving with the times, and are not afraid to have a female heroine as the lead character once again.
John Lasseter deserves 100% to be sitting where he is, because he is making so many good decisions for Disney Animation. I’m so excited to see whats coming next… it’s going to be “Gigantic” *wink wink*.

Jamie

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