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Moana: The Movie Review

Review of Our Newest Disney Princess

Maianna Taylor

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Editor’s Note: The article below contains some spoilers, but it is minimal. There are no ending spoilers.

This much-anticipated 2016 film focuses on young Moana Waialiki. She is the daughter of the chief of Motunui, but from a young age, she is drawn to the ocean. The animation shows her grow from a small child into a young woman, with her parents encouraging her to stay on the land, but still yearns to go past the reef and sail to the ocean horizon. However, when her island begins dying, she must sail to find the demigod Maui to return the heart of Te Fiti to its rightful place. Moana is chosen by the ocean to sail to find Maui and reawaken her people’s love for voyaging. As time passes, she learns to successfully sail and use the lost skill of way-finding.

Gramma Tala, Moana’s grandmother, describes her as standing out from the crowd with her headstrong and adventurous personality. She’s conflicted with her yearning to travel beyond the reef and her duty to protect her people and become chief. Her ally and counterpart, the demigod Maui, is boisterous and rambunctious, and somewhat cocky at that. He has good intentions and yearns for people to like him. Moana is voiced by Auli’i Cravalho, and Maui is voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

  • Overall Rating: 9/10
  • Animation: 10/10
  • Soundtrack: 8/10
  • Characters: 8.5/10
  • Story: 8/10

Moana’s determined and independent spirit makes her a great role model for young children. Personally, I also think that she has an athletic body type that Disney hasn’t portrayed until now. Not to mention that Moana also has some wild hair that doesn’t always cooperate. I enjoyed the character because she felt very real and had her own little quirks like we all do. Meanwhile, Maui came off as a stuck-up demigod in the beginning, but eventually warmed up to Moana and helped her on her journey, teaching Moana how to become a way-finder and travel to return the heart.  We see Maui’s character go through different development stages through the movie and the effect that Moana has on him.

On Moana’s journey, she was accompanied by Heihei (a chicken), who provided plenty comic relief for the film.  I was surprised when her pet pig, Pua, did not accompany them, but provided a dose of cuteness for the other parts of the movie.

Overall, I thought the movie was amazing and a large step forward for Disney.  The songs were catchy and uplifting, the story captured and held your full attention, and not to mention the gorgeous animation. I must warn you, there are some tear-jerking moments in the movie, but it’s bittersweet, and so beautiful. Moana is a must see!

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Moana: The Movie Review