Ever since they started making animated feature films, Disney has been the top dog. Then they picked up Pixar and continued their domination in the computer animated department as well and then took on their own animation studio in the same field. Since then they’ve been just as giant as they were before, bringing out films like Tangled, Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6 and this year’s blockbuster Zootopia. Is there any stopping the juggernaut as it screams down the mountain, pulling in money as it goes? It’s an easy choice to say no and as they prepare to introduce a brand new princess to their adoring fans, it’s nothing but a winning situation as everything seems to have come through brilliantly for this feature, Moana.
The film follows the titular character, the daughter of a chief on a remote tropical island. The people of the island have been sequestered to only residing on the island, never able to go beyond the reef that contains it. According to the local legend told by Moana’s grandmother, this is because a demi-god named Maui stole The Heart, a jewel that holds all of nature together, which ends unleashing a lava monster on the ocean and destroying all life slowly but surely. Moana takes it upon herself, at her grandmother’s coaxing, to go beyond the reef and find Maui, restore the heart and save her people. Really, how hard could it be to convince and arrogant demi-god to help out?
For those that know me or read my reviews regularly, I’m not a musical fan at all. In actuality, it’s because there are so many musicals out there that I just feel are far too corny or cheesy to enjoy but the exception to that rule has always been Disney films and Moana is no different. Written and composed by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, the songs of Moana are incredibly catchy, well sung and deeply pivotal to the main plot. Every song is a toe-tapper and ones I won’t mind hearing when I’m out in public, instead of those annoyingly overexposed songs from Frozen, like “Let It Go.”
Another funny thing I thought of was thinking “can The Rock NOT do anything well?” and I’m pretty sure that answer is no. Taking on the voice of Maui, he is funny and incredibly expressive with his voice and, yes, he even sings his own songs including “You’re Welcome”, my personal favorite of the film right next to a song that a Jemaine Clement voiced crab sings. I usually feel like a cynic when it comes to the Disney princess films, especially in the post-2000s like The Princess And The Frog, but Moana really made a fan out of me quite quickly. The character design is incredible, it has a storyline that never dulls or lingers too long and a heart to it that will invigorate and inspire the children, really what a Disney film should do for it’s demographic. I feel like there isn’t a huge ad push behind Moana right now, so I’ll announce it for all you families out there. Go see Moana, you’ll love it. 4/5