Moana is a feel good family adventure film and a delightful musical targeted for all ages. It is a refreshingly warm tale of the Pacific Islands.
Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho plays the role of the heroine Moana Waialiki. She is a feisty, ambitious young girl who sets on an adventure with Heihei, a stranded rooster, to find a way to stop the curse that has been eating her village. The prolog at the beginning of the movie lets you know why the island is slowly withering away to decadence. She takes the help of the banished demigod Maui, voice over of Dwayne Johnson. Along the way the duo meets up with many interesting creatures, one also reminding you of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Other strong-willed characters include Moana’s grandmother, voiced by Rachel House. While Moana is trained to be the next chief after her overprotective father, voice over of Temeura Morrison, Gramma Tala is the only one who has full faith that her grand-daughter can save the island. The movie has voice casts of Nicole Scherzinger as Moana’s mother, also starring Jermaine Clement.
Let us talk about the music. Shall we? The last greatest Disney song was Frozen’s “Let it go,” Moana has her “How far I’ll go.” The soundtrack of the movie includes some catchy songs “Shiny,” “You’re welcome,” “We know the way,” “An innocent warrior” by Opetaia Foa’i, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Mark Mancina keeping up with the theme of self-discovery.
Directors Ron Clements and Jon Musker did their research, visiting and studying the life-culture of Tahiti, Samoa, and Fiji. Deemed as a project that depicts Polynesian cultural accuracy, it’s hard to say that when the movie basks on certain stereotypes, as in this case, the weight issues. But we will let it a pass because there is nothing about the characters that you dislike.
Overall, Moana renders a highly developed magical story that allows you to take a look at the beautiful colorful tradition of the village. It also maps the islander’s adaptation and affiliation towards the nature surrounding them. Moana is inarguably one of the best films by the Disney Animation Studios. Filled with natural hues, coconut trees and subtle beauties of Polynesian culture, Moana leaves you emotional, happy and smiling.