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Moana Waialiki is a sea voyaging enthusiast and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators. When her island's fishermen can't catch any fish and the crops fail, she learns that the demigod Maui caused the blight by stealing the heart of the goddess, Te Fiti. The only way to heal the island is to persuade Maui to return Te Fiti's heart, so Moana sets off on an epic journey across the Pacific. The film is based on stories from Polynesian mythology. Written by
Two scenes reference the previously animated Disney movie Pocahontas (1995):
Chief Tui echoes a scene in which a fatherly chief acknowledges his daughter by saying "it suits you". This time rather than referring to Pocahontas' necklace, Chief Tui speaks of Manoa's role as a leader in the village.
Additionally, in Tamatoa the crab's song, "Shiny," he mentions Moana's granny saying "listen to your heart", also from Pocahontas (1995). See more »
When you first see Maui's hook on the back of Tamatoa's shell, the wrapping on the handle is missing for a brief second. Before and after that, it can be easily seen right where it should be. See more »
In the beginning there was only ocean until the Mother Island emerged. Te Fiti. Her heart held the greatest power ever known. It could create life itself. And Te Fiti shared it with the world. But in time, some began to seek Te Fiti's heart. They believed if they could possess it, the great power of creation would be theirs. And one day, the most daring of them all voyaged across the vast ocean to take it. He was a demi-god of the wind and sea. He was a warrior. A trickster. A ...
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The crab encrusted in shiny objects appears following the credits. See more »
2016 has been a particularly strong year for animated films. With the likes of Zootopia, Finding Dory and Kubo & The Two Strings all vying for best animated picture of the year, it seems Moana deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as well. It's no fluke that out of the four movies I just mentioned, 3 of them belong under the house of the mouse.
Legend has it that demigod Maui stole a sacred stone, the heart of the goddess Te Fiti. The lava demon confronted him and both the heart and Maui were lost forever. Now, the world is slowly dying and someone must find the heart and force Maui to put it back. But who is this chosen one? It might be Moana, a Polynesian girl who is suppose to be taking over as chief of her tribe, but longs to sail beyond the reef. Featuring new comer Auli'i Carvalho as Moana and the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, Dwayne 'The Rock" Johnson, as the demigod Maui.
It's not surprising that I found myself tapping my feet to the songs in this film because Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, shares his talent with this film. I can easily see any one of the songs in this piece going up for and winning Best Original Song, giving the man the O in the prestigious PEGOT award circle. He currently has a Pulitzer, Emmy, Tony and Grammy, among more. The songs here remind me of the old-school Disney songs, easy to listen to, fun to play on repeat and important to the story. At first, I felt it was a little too on the nose with some of the lyrics, but eventually he won me over and I've been listening to the soundtrack ever since.
The film itself might lack some of the intricacies of plot heavy films like Zootopia, but this journey story is entertaining and heartfelt. The vibrant colours of the green islands and the blue sea help propel the film above and beyond what some others films have to offer. The animation takes a nice little turn for the creative when the characters find themselves under the sea in a side villains lair. We are treated with some bioluminescent sequences with another catchy tune not far behind.
Johnson is stellar as Maui, he seems completely comfortable in a voice acting role and surprisingly has the chops to sing a tune. Newcomer Auli'i Carvalho holds her own against a star like Johnson and she really gives a strong voice to a driven female character. I applaud that Disney didn't feel the need to shoehorn in a love story either. This is a tale about self discovery, not some young woman needing to find a man. Disney nods and respects their past while looking to the future with Moana. Princesses no longer need to be the 'love' goal of a man.
Moana is a visually beautiful film with great songs and a strong female lead character. There are some visually gags for the kids and a great time for adults. Moana is a great film.
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