Moana Movie Review (2016)

Moana Movie Review (2016)

Moana was the movie of choice, my choice that is, on our recent Friday Movie Night. My husband traveled with me to Polynesia willingly I must say. Armchair travel. Who would have thought there would be a day when this was the only way to travel?

Anyway, Moana was a movie that I wanted to see when it came out because it felt Hawaiian and I love everything about Hawaii. However, being empty nesters with no little people around, we tend now to miss animated movies when they arrive at the movie theatre and then, well, there are just so many great movies and programs to watch that Moana slipped out of sight for awhile. I am happy to say that I have finally seen it and that I was not disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed our trip. It was a great escape from the virus and pandemic that is gripping the world as I write this post on March 23, 2020.  


A fictional mythological story done with computer-generated animation, Moana tells the tale of a teenage princess who stands up to protect her people when a fiery demon threatens them. She loves the ocean and sets out upon it learning navigational skills as she goes. Helping here is the demi-god Maui who was the original creator of the Pacific Islands. Together they sail onward, fighting difficulties as they look for the particular island she will conclude her mission.

Moana is a princess, the daughter of a Chieftain. However, she does not think of herself as a princess. She certainly does not fit the stereotype and definitely does not need rescuing. She is a strong, curvy girl with a mission. The Guardian aptly puts it when they say that "Moana is the story of a female leader-in-waiting who is independent and progressive, who cares about the environment and who looks beyond the borders of her homeland to face the challenges of the future." I say don't get in Moana's way!


Here's a peek into the movie via the official movie trailer:


Moana's OceanThis princess movie does not feature a love interest. The New York Times says, the Disney princess tradition continues to be charming (in this movie) but also widens "its cultural frame of reference and allows heroines to travel down paths other than the one leading straight to matrimony." There are important men in Moana's story but they are family and friend and one of the strongest characters is most fittingly, the ocean.


Another, ah, interesting character is the ridiculous chicken sidekick named Hei Hei. He stuck out to me in the beginning as totally over the top but, in the end, he was definitely part of the fun.  (Find your plush Hei Hei on Amazon by clicking right here.)
Moana's Hei Hei Chicken


As Roger Ebert says, this Disney movie has "dazzling visuals, catchy tunes, enjoyable performances, clever running gags and overall sense of fun." I agree. If you did not already want to go to Polynesia or Hawaii, this movie will make you want to go. It was beautifully done and a lot of fun. As always, I particularly loved the humorous moments.

The Verge says, "After 80 years of experiments, Disney has made the perfect Disney movie." That will give you a pretty good idea of the reception that this movie had. Moana follows the Disney formula but it is brilliantly executed.


Moana is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by all of the reviewers on this page and by me.

Have you seen Moana? What did you think? Will you be adding it to your movie list? You can buy your copy of Moana on Amazon by clicking right here.

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