Disney Pixar’s latest movie will whisk you off to the Polynesian islands in Moana. It is a unique offering by Disney in that the narrative and characters come from different cultures not explored before. As expected of Disney, the animation was amazing and made me want to jump into the ocean. Moana is definitely worth a watch, especially with your family.
The movie tells the story of Moana, daughter of the chief on the fictional Polynesian island Motonui. She is chosen by the ocean to find Maui, a demigod, and to return Te Fiti’s heart (a small mystical stone which Maui stole) back to the goddess. Te Fiti is the goddess who created life. Without her heart, signs of destruction appear, including Moana’s island. Even though her father forbids it, Moana sails off to fulfill the task entrusted to her to save her people.
Moana (voiced by Auliʻi Cravalho) is an instantly likeable character. She is brave and adventurous, but tied to the role of the being the next chief of the island. I admired her determination for venturing into the ocean again despite the horrible experience she suffered on her first attempt and her lack of sailing expertise. Additionally, she is witty and gritty, as seen in how she handles stubborn Maui and the escape from Tamatoa.
Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock) is initially presented as an extremely arrogant demigod who expects humans to worship him for what he has done for them. He is not sorry for stealing Te Fiti’s heart as he did that to give humans the power of creation. Nevertheless, a more human portrayal of him is seen when his past is revealed. (This typical sympathy method always seems to be effective in changing my impressions of annoying characters.)
The villains in Moana aren’t really major antagonists like in other movies. Instead, they are mostly there to create humour despite the tension of the situation. Kakamora, the mini villains appear to be ‘cute’ but are quite vicious, and even tried to kidnap Hei Hei when it swallowed Te Fiti’s heart. Similarly, while Tamatoa doesn’t play a major role apart from the scene where he had Maui’s hook, he has a catchy character song which pokes fun of Moana and Maui.
The music in the movie was the part that blew me away. The soundtrack is simply enchanting. How Far I’ll Go, Moana’s character song, really captured my attention. It’s bright and inspiring, and listening to it makes me want to run off to the ocean. It’s amazing how Auliʻi Cravalho, Moana’s voice actress who also sings this song, is so young and talented. How Far I’ll Go is definitely now my favourite Disney song. We Know the Way adds to the richness of the Polynesian culture in the movie. Maui’s character song, You’re Welcome, is catchy. It’s funny how the song was used as a distraction for Moana to be led and trapped in a cave while Maui stole her boat. Even the villain (though not a major one) Tamatoa had a character song, Shiny.
This movie made me so emotional. I teared up when Moana’s grandmother passed away and appeared as a spirit later in the movie to comfort Moana. There is also plenty of comedy throughout the movie. The funniest character in the movie to me is Heihei, Moana’s clueless pet rooster. Heihei is never far away from calamity and its presence also serves as comic relief in instances like disputes between Moana and Maui.
One random observation I have is how little Moana eats in the entire journey across the sea. It seems that the only thing she ate is a banana. Heihei appears to be the one that ate the most, thanks to the food pellets Maui provides out of nowhere. Additionally, even though it is quite heartwarming when Moana’s mother does not stop Moana from setting off for her journey and even helped her with preparations, it is odd that Moana’s resources do not seem visibly adequate.
Now, I’ve given you a recommendation for a great movie. What can I say, except you’re welcome?
Have you watched Moana yet? Share your thoughts about it in the comments section below!