The latest offering from Disney will likely scratch the animation itch that only the annual Thanksgiving Disney offering is able to. The film includes a bunch of well written songs and a solid story to create a solid movie enjoyable by both kids and adults alike.
Story and narrative:
In the interest of avoiding spoilers, Moana is best described as the journey of a young girl. Throughout the journey, she meets a demigod and joins him on a journey to return balance to the world.
One of the strongest pieces of the film happens in the beginning, where we learn the history of Maui, and why the world is experiencing the problems it is. This is told in an expected way, from the village elder, who feels it is important to impart knowledge on the young kids of the island.
After growing up a bit and learning the importance of her family lineage, Moana strikes out to find Maui and return balance to the world.
The premise of the story here isn’t breathtaking or groundbreaking. In fact, I think it’s pretty similar to Wreck-It Ralph (2012) and Hercules (1997). These are two of my favorite Disney movies, though, so that isn’t a bad thing.
The movie might not break ground, but the plot is so well executed here, it seems like the plot might have been well defined and maybe even perfected. I hope I am proved wrong, though.
It’s really not easy to talk about a great Disney movie without music. Most Disney movies have a number of musical numbers, and Moana is no different. Throughout the movie, the main characters all have feature songs, and each one is different enough so that the songs still feel fresh, even through reprises, by the end of the movie.
Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, and other characters do great voice work throughout, but really shine during their songs.
Songs throughout Moana are catchy and a joy to listen to. The songs in Moana are the types of songs that make me want to return to the theater if only to hear the songs again.
The songs were written by Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Mancina wrote the score.
Moana is very crisp in its presentation. I really enjoyed watching the film, and even scenes that might have been boring if animated by a different studio were gorgeous to behold.
Specific scenes included great effects, such as the sand and water. Like the snow in Frozen, these aspects of the animation really came to life in standout ways.
The voice acting was very strong throughout, as well. I can’t remember the last time an animated feature had such strong voice performances. In addition to the music, the voice performances are likely to bring me back to Moana in the future.
A great, fun ride:
Moana manages to take an impactful, if worn, story and make it a lot of fun. The songs definitely add to this, making the scenes progress quickly and in a way that makes sense. Moaa is going to be one of the few films that I look forward to once it launches on Blu-Ray.