Thursday, January 19, 2017
Moana, mini movie review
Moana, Disney's latest animated offering, is about the teenage daughter of an Hawaiian chief, apprehensive about her future leadership role while dreaming of traveling the dangerous ocean, the vast Ocean which has been calling her since she was a baby. Travesty hits the island where her people live, and she must choose to head her father's warning of entering the sea verses her desire to help save the future of those she will one day lead.
Moana is a beautiful movie. The art of the Ocean as its own entity, and nature in general, are all so wonderfully captured through animation. It's amazing how far computer animation has come, especially with water.
I'm mixed when it come to the music. There are some songs I really like: all the songs in the Hawaiian language and You're Welcome is an amusing song. It's obvious Dwayne Johnson was having fun portraying Maui. How Far I'll Go, which is Moana's solo piece, is a good anthem, but it's not to the same caliber as Let It Go, Part of Your World, and Just Around the River bend. How Far I'll Go got way too many reprises; by the third offering of the song I wished they had written Moana another theme. I REALLY don't like the songs Where You Are and Shiny. Where You Are is a weak opening chorus number in the same vain as Honor To Us All from Mulan. The song Shiny, sung by that 5 minute in the movie Crab, is just annoying. I just can't like it, and I've listened to it several times trying.
Moana as a character is really likable, and I like newcomer Auli'i Cravalho's interpretation, but overall I have the same problem with her as I had with Rey in Star Wars: A Force Awakens. I understand Disney wanting to create strong female characters, but strong is being confused with perfection. Fear or apprehension during an unknown journey is not enough of a weakness to shake both Rey and Moana from being two-dimensional. Though likeable, I wish Moana was more fleshed out.
Moana, the film, plays out as a typical, predictable Hero's Journey. The formula is thoroughly used to the fault of the movie.
In the end I did like Moana, and even though it's polished, it's not without faults, and doesn't have the same magic as Frozen or Tangled.
MPAA: Rated PG for peril, some scary images and brief thematic elements.