January Print Moana Review

I loved Moana so much, I saw it the day it came out. It is such a spectacular movie, so of course when the opportunity to write a review on it popped up, I grabbed it. Hope you enjoy!

Moana is one of the best Disney movies yet, especially in one sense: it’s realistic.

Moana is the daughter of an island chief, herself next in line for the throne. Despite her very important role at home, she is constantly called by the ocean, but is prohibited to go outside of the reef because of her father’s own horrible experience which involved his friend’s death. On this island, Moana had grown up with stories of the demigod Maui, who stole the heart of the earth goddess Tafiti with terrible consequences of the death and destruction of all the islands. Hope is not lost, though, because a hero will one day rise up to take Maui to restore the heart and save the islands. The ocean chooses 16-year-old Moana for this task, causing her to disobey her father and set out with her loyal, yet stupid, chicken Heihei.

The story of Moana is great not only because it’s a genuinely adorable tale, but it’s also funny, and the music isn’t terrible either. The words ‘You’re welcome’ have been stuck in my head ever since the day I watched it (go see the movie, you’ll understand). Sure, it’s a little cheesy, but what Disney movie isn’t? It wouldn’t be Disney without a few cliches. I couldn’t help but start cracking up in the theatre when Moana was moving in slow motion, wind blowing in her hair, towards a big monster in the climax whilst singing a dramatic solo. Kind of embarrassing, but it was hilarious. Not only are there funny moments, but emotional ones as well. I don’t cry in movies, but I came very, very, very close to doing so, having to do all I could to hold in that almost-escaping tear. I’m not lying when I say this movie has everything.

But why is it so much better than other Disney movies? Moana is an amazing character, with a pure heart who will stop at nothing to complete her mission. She’s stronger than any of the other Disney princesses we’ve seen before, and I mean that physically too. You could snap the other princesses in half without any effort, but Moana looks like a real human being! She has actual, muscular arms, strong calves and a waist that doesn’t require starving to achieve. Her hair is crazy fun and curly, thick and beautiful. Her character is portrayed with a big, warmly-toned, circular face with thick, black eyebrows. Now does this make her ugly, her face and bodily proportions being realistic? Not at all! I would gladly argue that she is the most beautiful princess Disney has ever created. She’s not just skin and bones, which is all we’ve seen before. This is someone girls can actually identify with.

Another reason why Moana tops all of the other princess movies is because Moana is the one making the journey and getting things done. We see this with Anna and Elsa in Frozen as well, and in both movies a little tiny bit of help from a man is necessary, but it’s much better than the old, helpless damsel in distress act. Dwayne Johnson plays Maui, the male figure, so, so well by the way. No one could have voiced him any better.

With this movie, we add a princess of the Polynesian nationality, getting one step closer to a more diverse group. We now have Disney princesses from all over Europe, Iraq, China, here in the U.S. and the Polynesian islands, representing Native American, African American, Asian, Middle Eastern, French, German, Scottish, Polynesian Danish, Norwegian and possibly British nationalities. I myself am hearing a cry for a Latina and Hispanic princesses, the princess Elena only being showcased in a TV show currently.

I’m not really mentioning any negatives here, am I? That’s the point. This movie has very little for me to critique. The characters were wonderful and the Polynesian story was fascinating, including the rollercoaster that every good movie needs. Disney has done very well, and I could not recommend it any more.


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