Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson
Directed by Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Disney did it again. Their newest princess (or non-princess, according to Moana herself) takes to the waves and shows courage when no one else is up to face the challenge. Moana might just be my new favorite Disney character.
Moana comes from a proud line of chieftains and lives on a Polynesian island where peace and harmony work hand-in-hand. The only bit of mischief that ever seems to occur is from Moana, who has a strong calling to the ocean, and her grandmother, who seems to encourage it. Her father scolds her for getting near the water and doesn’t want anyone to pass the border of the reef.
When the coconuts collected during harvest have all gone rotten one day and the fishermen can’t collect any fish, signs of trouble worry the islanders. Only Moana is brave enough to seek Maui outside the safety of the island. Maui is a demigod, who was responsible for starting the curse that has pushed islanders to travel from island to island when it destroys their home. Only he can restore the islands back to a healthy, growing community, but he must be found first.
Moana seems to tick all of the successful Disney movie boxes: a down-to-earth female lead with a pet sidekick, can sing and doesn’t give up when the going gets tough. Perhaps what I liked about Moana best was the chemistry between demigod Maui and Moana. They hit a rough start when a conceited Maui blows off Moana’s attempts to force him on her boat to restore peace. When it becomes obvious that Maui can’t get rid of Moana, her humanity grows on him and they get along (for the most part).
There were moments I laughed and worried for Moana’s safety as she battled the rough ocean waves and opponents. It was just a really well put-together movie and I couldn’t believe how much I liked it when the credits began rolling. This is a movie I’d recommend seeing if you’re a Disney fan.
Photo credit: http://www.filmjabber.com/movie-preview/moana.html