Does Disney have another Frozen on its hands or will their latest princess sink.
Moana is a young woman who wants to explore the world, but can’t because she’s expected to become the next leader of her people. When a curse, set into motion by the Demi-God Maui, brings darkness to their island paradise, the ocean calls upon Moana to find Maui and return what he stole in order to stop the spreading darkness.
As far as Disney princesses go, Moana may be the most proactive. When called to action, she does what’s asked of her regardless of the personal cost. Yes she always wanted to explore, but that’s not why she leaves. She does it to save her people. Moana is voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, who carries the film with ease.
If you’ve got an animal sidekick and a spunky attitude you may just be a Disney princess, at least according to Maui. Dwayne Johnston voices the shape shifting Demi-God who delivers some of the film’s best jokes. The character is not all laughs though, he’s got a tragic backstory, a huge ego and some of the best animated tattoos around.
Sometimes a persons true potential is buried far beneath the surface. This is just as true for Moana and Maui as it is for Moana’s chicken sidekick. Throughout the movie both Moana and Maui struggle with their true identity. Moana tries to change in order to fit into the role she’s being pushed into, while Maui bases his identity on what others think of him. He wants to be a hero so he does everything in his power to make people see him that way until he finally goes too far.
Every Disney princess needs a good song, it’s the thing people remember most about Frozen, but while Moana does have some catchy tunes there’s no show stopping number. Nothing at the level of Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ anyway. The film may not stand out for its musical numbers, but the stunning visuals leave a much more lasting impression. Maybe Disney should start a travel agents, because Moana is like a giant advertisement for Pacific Island culture. Then, near the end, there’s a scene were Moana comes face to face with the main antagonist and it looks amazing.
It’s not a good time to be a movie villain. For whatever reason, they don’t seem to get as much attention as they once did and Moana’s lava slinging monster is no exception. The movie does lack a real villain, but in a way that makes complete sense to the story and puts a nice bow on the ongoing theme that someone’s true self isn’t always obvious.
Fun, fresh and beautiful to look at, Moana is a great addition to the ever growing population of Disney princesses even if Moana doesn’t consider herself a princess.