Moana Movie Review
With Moana officially out on Blu-Ray/DVD this past Tuesday, I thought it was appropriate to write about Disney’s newest animated feature. Moana gained recognition earlier this year with two Academy Award nominations: one for best animated feature and another for best original song. It has been outshone in the best animated feature category by Zootopia, and while both are fantastic films, I’ll be honest and admit that Moana was my personal favorite. I was reminded of that as I watched it again for the first time since seeing it in theater last November.
Before we get any further into my opinions on the movie, I have to recognize the fact that it might be the most beautiful Disney animated film I’ve ever seen. With it focusing on the Polynesian culture and setting, I knew it would have a beautiful oceanic setting. Nothing prepared me, though, for the distinct way each wave ripples with the wind and the foam that develops as a wave crests. Between that and all of the colors from the islands, it truly is breathtaking.
The music for this film is just as moving as the scenery. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a musical genius, and Moana’s music makes that all the more evident. In addition to incredible animation and moving music, Moana also has one of the funniest companions I’ve ever seen: Hei Hei. Only Alan Tudyk could make a rock eating chicken hilarious. Seriously, that chicken made me laugh throughout the entire movie, which is saying something whenever Dwayne Johnson is voicing the demigod, Maui.
Underneath all the humor and the stunning effects, though, is a story of a young, upcoming chieftess. She lives on a beautiful island with everything they need, but she constantly feels drawn to the ocean, who she has a special connection with. When her island begins to die, she chooses to set out across the ocean to save her island and her people. Through all of this, Disney crafts a story about bravery, sacrifice, and about who you really are. There’s hardship and redemption, and for that reason, I have to recommend it to everyone I know. If it makes you cry, don’t feel too bad; you can rest assured that I’m joining you with a box of tissues.