Moana (Review) – A Vibrant Delight

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Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner

Reviews Films, TV and Video Games and you can also find the reviews I publish here on my personal blog

Moana is an animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. It is the 56th Disney animated feature film and features the voices of Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho. Cravalho actually makes her feature film debut in the film. The story of the movie focuses on, you guessed it, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), a determined girl who is set to become chief of her Polynesian tribe. But, she is chosen by the sea to return a mystical relic to a goddess so she can save her island. To do this, she must enlist the help of demigod Maui (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson).

My Knowledge and Expectation of Moana

Moana was a film that I missed seeing when it came out in cinemas last year. I was really annoyed about this because I love animated films, especially when it comes to the recent offerings by Disney in animated films such as Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia/Zootropolis. I had heard a lot of great things about the film and was expecting great things from the movie, especially as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson voices one of the lead characters in this film. I love ‘The Rock’ and Moana seems like just another step in his seemingly unstoppable march towards world domination.

Moana and Maui in Moana

My Thoughts on Moana

I really enjoyed Moana. While I do not rank it amongst my favourite Disney animated films, it is a very good film that is full of heart. One of the elements of the film that hugely impressed me was the animation. I loved the blend of computer animation and hand-drawn animation that was used to illustrate Maui’s tattoos that came to life. Additionally, the colour palette in Moana is stunning. This enhanced the style of the animation that is beautiful to look at.

The lore of Moana was very cool. It draws heavily from Polynesian mythology and I thought the film did a great job in terms of fleshing out the world and the characters within it. Certainly, Moana is a great character who is anything but one-dimensional. She is strong, assertive and inspirational. Moreover, her relationship with Maui was extremely entertaining and, at times, poignant. I give a lot of credit to Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne ‘The Rock‘ Johnson in bringing these two characters to life.

Te Kā in Moana

The music in Moana was, for the most part, great. Lin Manuel-Miranda had a huge hand in writing the songs and crafting the score for this film and there are a lot of things to admire when it comes to this aspect of the film. ‘How Far I’ll Go‘ and ‘You’re Welcome‘ were me favourite songs but I also appreciated how Polynesian vocals were interwoven into the music of Moana. However, I could have done without ‘Shiny’ which was performed by Tamatoa, a giant crab.

In fact, I could have done without Tamatoa all together. To me, his scene in the film was the weakest part of Moana. Also, the structure of the film was very formulaic which prevents Moana from being one of my favourite animated Disney films. But, the film is a very good watch with a lot of great qualities and I highly recommend that you check it out when you have the time.


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Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner

Reviews Films, TV and Video Games and you can also find the reviews I publish here on my personal blog