This review has been sat in my drafts for longer then it really should have been.
Moana was the latest in the Disney Princess line but really did move away from the traditional Princess more then ever the Princesses have.
I really liked Moana for many reasons. It was the kind of adventure I wanted to see a female lead in a Disney movie take since I was a kid. Whilst I have no problem with Disney’s output there aren’t many female characters that just get to go and have a adventure, the only one that springs to mind is Lilo who is a bit too young to have a love interest and is more of teacher to her co-star Stitch then a strong female character out on a adventure.
Moana though is just that.
The story was one that I will never tire of. A Demi-God steals the heart of a Goddess for humanity but only bad things come of it. Centuries later and that act is starting to destroy life as they know it for Moana’s tribe, she has to learn the truth of her tribes past and brave the ocean to go fetch the childish Demi-God and force him to give back the heart he once stole.
Its fun with some wonderful songs, absolutely stunning animation and real likeable characters.
What makes it better is there is no real bad guy. The story is one of learning for not only Moana but Maui as well. Whilst Moana has to find her place in this world and find it within herself to do what needs to be done, Maui learns from Moana that what makes him so special isn’t his magical fish hook or the deeds he is so proud of but the fact that he himself has done these things and no matter what he’ll always be Maui. You can say it compares to Lilo and Stitch but Maui isn’t the important character and his story is only there to bring Moana to the realisation that she herself doesn’t need a Demi-God and that all she needs is to believe in herself, the future chief of her village, and she herself can do anything. Whilst they have to face people (well a tribe of coconuts and a giant crab) who want to steal the heart for themselves at the same time its all just part of Moana learning that you can do just about anything if you have the heart to do it.
I won’t spoil the ending but it is beautiful and does make me cry.
It was just nice to see a buddy film with two people going out there and having a adventure and not having to have any romantic feelings to each other or anything. Moana wasn’t suddenly the greatest wayfinder alive just because she’s the main character and she was allowed to have moments where she was weak and vulnerable without having to be saved by the male character or for it to be that important other then to remind you that these characters (because Maui had these moments too) are just human…. Or at least one of them are human and the other was born human.
A story about doing what was right, a story about being brave when you don’t feel it, a story about how its OK to be yourself.
Plus it has the most catchy song I’ve heard in a long time, I can’t get “You’re Welcome” out of my head and the more I watch it on YouTube the more I will never be able to see Dwayne Johnson do anything without thinking of Maui and humming You’re Welcome under my breath.
For me Moana is probably the finest film to come out of Disney for a while.