Moana – Disney’s Moana Review

Disney Moana Review

Moana has taken control of the Disney Princess parade (OK she’s not a princess).

We’ve recently come back from Disneyland Paris, where we managed to catch up with Moana (Called Vaiana there). As soon as we knew she was available for a meet and great we needed to get a photo. Our two wanted Moana’s autograph, Abigail wanted a piggy plush toy… but why?

Disney’s Moana

Although Disney’s Moana has been in development since 2011, we knew relatively little about the animation. In fact the most I knew about it bar a few concept visuals was from a trailer featuring Maui a few months ago and even that didn’t clean up the storyline for me. So when Abigail and Imogen finally met up with Moana, of Motunui, they asked “Whats the name of your chicken and pig? The merchandise was heavily promoted, but the film hadn’t even bee released yet and it was still a mystery as to what the film was about!

So it was great to be able to eventually link up all the loose ends.

Moana is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. The pair of them have worked together on many Disney hits over the years, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Frog. All of which have seen Disney’s success rise, but where will Moana take it? And for me I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the film. It had an element of Frozen to it. For me Frozen didn’t excite me at all with the story, but admittedly after seeing it the first time, it only took a bout 10 days until we were at the cinema to see it again! Maybe Moana would have that affect on me again.

Moana’s Story

The Story it based around Polynesian mythology. Te Fiti an island goddess, emerges from the sea and lays down. Her heart (a green stone gem) possesses the power to create life. The gem also attracts the attentions of monsters and a demigod Maui, who takes it as a trinket. When the heart is removed the island starts to die. Maui escapes, but is attacked by Te Kā (a Lava goddess) and loses the Heart of Te Fiti and his magical Fish Hook.

There are elements in Moana that work really well, but for me a lot of the spiritual / mythological stuff is lost on me. The film is enjoyable, but I don’t think it is as good as Princess and the Frog. I could see elements of Brother Bear, The Lion King and Princess and the Frog shine through. One thing for sure is that the direction of the journey isn’t predictable.

Disney’s Moana’s Animation

There is a new trend with these new animations and that is to make the setting ultra real. The texture and motion of the the sea is almost film like. There are birds that could have been real, if you took out the characters you could imagine it being an Attenborough documentary about the islands.

As always there was a short animation before the main feature called “Inner Workings”. A look at the way your brain controls the parts of your body and how it analyses events. I won’t spoil it as there is an interesting twist that should make you think at the end.

Moana’s Autograph

Disney's Moana

We managed to get Moana’s Autograph and not Viana’s even though we were in Disneyland Paris.

Moana Autograph

Moana Bowie Tribute

Cat’s highlight is Flight of the Conchords Actor Jemaine Clement as a Glitter loving crab,Tamatoa. “Shiny”, is one of the more memorable songs as it’s glam rock style, punch punctuates the animation perfectly. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the song with Jemaine’s Bowie style vocals and in Early demos of the song you can hear that Lin is doing an impression of Bowies style.

The Pig is cute and the Chicken is confused.  I’m not sure why the Chicken is chosen over the pig as a main supporting character. Even after the reasoning of Moana needing to leave a loved one behind on the island, it still didn’t quite push it home.

Moana is enjoyable and the music is catchy, but I don’t feel it it as musically strong as Frozen or even Tangled. The kids sat though the film without twitching too much. Which shows it is paced enough to keep everyone interested.

3 Comments

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  1. The directors said at the Masterclass that she took the chicken with her and left the pig behind because she had to be leaving behind all that she loved. It was a very odd decision and didn’t sit very comfortably with me, the chicken reminded me too much of Becky in Dory.

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