Movie Review: Moana

Spoiler-free

I finally got the chance to see Moana.  We bought it as soon as it was out not having been able to make time to see it in the theater and, of course, knowing that we were going to like it.  Settling down to watch it I felt pretty excited about it, if only because I love Dwayne Johnson.  My initial reaction to it wasn’t all that favorable. I think everyone had hyped up the music so much that I was expecting something jaw dropping and awe-inspiring, but I didn’t really know what to expect of the music itself.  What threw me off was the theater-style songs that were explaining what was going on. There are a lot of Disney movies that do this, but I think most people would agree that there’s a difference between a stage play and the songs that go into it, and the way it happens in a Disney film.

It caused me to approach each song that came up with an, ‘I’m not sure about this’ attitude.  By the end of the film, however, I had the songs lighting up my heart and if it hadn’t been time to go to bed I probably would have started the movie over to watch and listen again.  Yes, a slightly different style that what we’re used to, but just as amazing as everyone had said.  And of course, because I have to learn the songs, you can likely guess what’s on repeat every time I drive to and from work.

That was just the music.  There was a lot more to like about Moana, including the message that it sent: a girl can lead a village, a girl can sail off on her own.  And I especially liked that there was no love interest involved.  No quirky will-they-won’t-they romance, no outright romance, no romance at all.  Familial love and duty, yes.  Friendship. I think it was very empowering.

The other thing to like is that it wasn’t white-washed.  It was clearly a different culture and it remained that way the entire time, down to the music and everything.  I enjoyed seeing a character/set of characters that were a different color, had different hair – which was beautifully animated.

And that leads me to the animation.  Everything about it was so detailed.  In the credits it showed they had five to six people working on the animation for just the hair and just the water, which showed.  Very beautifully done.

I went into it knowing I’d like it and liking it automatically because Dwayne Johnson, man!  I came out of it loving it for everything else.

Five out of five stars – I highly recommend.

Oh, and also, this guy:

MOANA

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