Moana (2016) – 5/5

Disney has come back this year with one of their most inspiring stories, an unusual princess and as always, visually stunning animation. Moana is a different kind of princess story, the kind where it’s not about the princess chasing the prince, but about the princess chasing her dreams and carving her own path.

Directing: Ron Clements, John Musker
Cinematography: Greig Fraser
Screenplay: Jared Bush
Editing: Jeff Draheim
Music: Mark Mancina, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i

For ages, people voyaged across the sea, making discoveries and settling from island to island, but suddenly the voyages stopped for an unknown reason and the sea became a dangerous, out-of-bounds place. Moana is destined to be the village’s chief and follow the steps of her father and ancestors, but every time she thinks she is ready, she looks back at the ocean. She must make a decision between going after what she wants and going for what she was born to do.

Directors Ron Clements and John Musker, who you might remember from heroic adventures such as Hercules, Aladdin and Treasure Planet create not only their very first CGI film, but also the most developed princess character to date. The focus on Moana’s dreams, worries, and personality as she matures throughout the movie is something we’ve never seen before from a Disney princess. It looks like Disney is starting to accept the fact about modern society, that little girls have more important things to dream about than looking for the right prince.

Instead of a prince, they’ve given Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), our beautiful heroine, a witty friend named Maui (Dwayne Johnson). These two characters have a chemistry that is not only enjoyable, but also balanced. Maui keeps the story light and funny, and his relationship with Moana highlights the meaning of friendship and conquering you fears. Even the music is beautifully composed to be enjoyed by kids, appreciated by adults, and be stuck in your head for at least a full week.

It is refreshing to see the transition of the classic Disney princess stories to stories such as Frozen and Moana, where the story is about the princess, and not about their obsession with some yule ball or prince. Disney brings us an amazing adventure with an insightful story, engaging music, and all the magic of their animation. Audiences will be glad to see that Moana has a little of everything for all ages.

Learn more about the movie here: Rotten Tomatoes



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