My oldest daughter and I went to see Moana during a movie screening and we both had things we loved about it immediately. It was a movie I was not 100% sure about what I would think and how I would feel. It did ultimately win me over. This is a film that will become a Disney classic.
This movie is all about a girl named Moana and how the sea is calling her. Her father, Chief Tu, does not want anyone sailing beyond the reefs that surround the island they all live on. He fears the danger that the sea could have in store and wants everyone to stay safe on their beautiful island. She will one day be the chief of the village, but she cannot get rid of the calling she feels to head out to sea.
Moana goes on to discover her people’s heritage of sailing. She soon sets off on a journey of her own to help her village after a realizing there’s no longer enough fish, the once lush green island is turning brown, even the coconuts are rotting on the trees. Moana recalls the tales her Grandmother told her about the demi-god Maui and how he once took the gem-like heart of the Te Fiti. Maui ends up in a battle against a lava monster that sends the gem and Maui’s hook to the bottom of the ocean and Maui far away.
The tale her Grandmother told her ends stating that there will be a hero who will sail off and find the lost heart of Te Fiti and Maui’s hook. The hero will then force now to return what he stole back to Te Fiti. This fact sends Moana out to sea despite not knowing a thing about sailing or knowing where to find Maui. The one thing she does know is she needs to follow her calling and fulfill her quest.
WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT MOANA
Without a doubt the music in Moana is incredible. You will find yourself singing along in no time, and have Maui’s “You’re Welcome” constantly running through your head. I have a major love for the Polynesian based music that has been modernized. Like most Disney films there is the “Princess Power Ballad” with Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go”.
The animation itself is spectacular. Even the ocean becomes a character with how everything has been done. The scenery is beautiful and transports you to the location this film is based in. You will have no doubt about scenes taking place on a tropical island or at the bottom of the ocean floor.
Casting was spot on for this with Dwayne Johnson as Maui and Disney casting Auli’i Cravalho as Moana. Johnson has Samoan heritage and Cravalho is from Hawaii. I feel this truly helped with keeping the character’s based upon the setting of the movie. But, the characters who steal the show are Hei Hei the roaster and Pua the pig. Hei Hei brings comedic relief at the exact time it is needed!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK FOR US
If you are going to be watching this movie with younger children, I strongly suggest you screen the movie beforehand so that you are ready to fast forward if need be. There were a couple scenes that my preschooler did not like. The scene with Tamatoa the crab is one we skip over, my daughter does not like how grumpy he is and finds him a bit frightening. The major scary scene though is towards the end of the movie when Maui and Moana confront the lava monster. This is the stuff that can cause nightmares for young children. If you know your child is sensitive to these things, skip over the scenes or wait til they are older to watch this movie.
I also do find this movie does take some time to get rolling and comes to an abrupt end. I feel a bit more could have been put into the script to give it a better-directed journey and some more story depth. Is it lacking because of this, no, the story works. I just feel there could have been that smidgen more to put it over the top.
This is a film based on Polynesian mythology. The film does feature topic lines about gods and spirits from Polynesian mythology. This was part of what made me a little apprehensive, but I do feel it is important for people to get to know about other cultures and this is a good stepping stone to start dialogue all about it.
Ultimately we do enjoy watching Moana, the clincher truly is the music and artwork. That is what you will fall in love with. If you are a huge Disney fan, love musicals, and a story full of adventure.
– GIVEAWAY –
We are giving away a Moana Blue-Ray DVD combo to one Canadian reader. The Moana Blue-Ray DVD is available in stores now and contains all sorts of great bonus features you will enjoy watching, plus a Maul mini-movie that will make you laugh. Enter to win via Rafflecopter below. The highlight for us is always watching the deleted scenes.
If you are would like to own a copy of Disney’s Moana enter through below!
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Disclosure: This is a post has been done in partnership with Disney. We received a product sample or this review. All opinions and views in this post are 100% our own.