Why Moana Deserves More
*MAY FEATURE SPOILERS *
Hello! Today, I would like to discuss my thoughts on the movie, Moana. Ever since it came out, it’s safe to say that it has been a success, from doing well at the box office, positive critical reception, to nominations in several award shows. However, I feel like it’s still not as recognized as it should be, compared to other Disney films like Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, etc. That is why today I am going to go into my thoughts on why Moana, the movie, deserves more in terms of recognition and credit among the Disney canon.
First off, I am going to respond to the criticism that of Moana following the Disney formula too much. I can agree that at the basic structure of the movie, it DOES follow the past formula of Disney movies pretty much. But the story itself is MORE than that. Even though Moana wants to see more in the world, kinda like in Ariel, Belle, etc, it is shown in the movie that she truly wants to help her village. In the sequence of her learning to lead her village and doing her best to solve the problems, something that is RARELY seen in Disney movies, female leads doing their jobs of leaders, we see Moana enjoy partaking in her community and handle things with competence and calm, so it truly makes her struggle with her desire to go to the ocean. Some people argue about the overprotective dad trope in Moana’s father, Tui, but he only has a few minutes of screen time so it is nothing to get too riled up over, in my opinion.
Some people argued that Maui left for no reason but it is understandable why he left. He got mad that his hook, an item that was important to him, was broken and was on the verge of being destroyed for good. He was understandably mad at Moana as she made a reckless choice and to some degree selfish, as seen in the line where she says that she thought that she could make it as well. But we as the audience are meant to know that Maui still was wrong for leaving. Some people argue that we never knew what made him come back but I think it’s insinuated enough that he thought thinks over (possibly with Mini Maui). And he also works afterwards with Moana to help get her to restore the heart of Te Fiti. Everyone seems to forget that he RISKED his life to help buy Moana time. When you watch the movie again, Te Ka was looking at Moana and Maui noticed this. So he gets Te Ka to notice him and Te Ka is about to fireball and kill Maui until Moana shines the heart at her. And Maui does apologize to Te Fiti at the end of it. At first it’s awkward but that'a how it is in real life. He even says that he had no excuse for what he done, so that’s really important to take into account.
The culture in Moana I believe is shown is a beautiful way. They clearly did a lot of research, as seen with the trips and long time spent on it. They also had a voice cast that reflected Polynesian culture. It may not be 100% accurate as they did have to Disney-fy some of it for the movie, but’s safe to say it is a respectful representation that encourages you to look more into Polynesian culture after you watch the movie. The music in Moana is also PHENOMENAL and it has made its mark on Disney Music History. With talents such as Opetaia Foa'i, Mark Mancina, and Lin Manuel Miranda, you can’t go wrong. The voice performances especially make the music emotionally resonate, especially that of Auli'i Cravalho, whom I’m eternally grateful that Disney got her for the job and hope to see more of her in the future. Dwayne Johnson also does a fantastic job as Maui, both delivering charm and charisma in his singing and voice acting. There’s also different ways that scenes are done that have a big impact on this movie. Such as the “I Am Moana” scene, when Gramma Tala’s spirit comes back to Moana, but she reunited with Moana in the way that any grandmother and granddaughter would, embracing each other openly. Tala also validates Moana’s emotions at the moment and admits that she never should have put so much responsibility on Moana (something I usually never see in these type of stories). And she fully says to Moana that she and her family support her no matter what, allowing Moana to think and realize for herself who she is and remind herself of why she is on her mission. THIS is what makes the scene so ICONIC. Moana’s animation is also breathtakingly beautiful and so engaging. When I saw this on the big screen, it made me want to just jump into the water. And the colors are so vibrant and make the movie so full of life! The humor in this movie is also very done well. I love how the water who is personified in this acts as a character and serves its own comic relief. Hei-Hei the chicken is also extremely funny in him just acting like a dumb rooster. His own presence of him being totally unaware and his reaction to him discovering he’s out in the ocean is just plain hysterical. This movie just has so much to offer anyone and has an inspiring heart of its own. This movie is dripping with Disney heart and I hope Disney brings more of Moana in the future and continue to do so. I recommend this movie to EVERYONE because I believe that this movie is universal and speaks to everyone on its level. I strongly encourage you to continue to support it and I will as well. 🌊⛵️🏝🌺🐚🌸🐷🐔⭐️🌟🐠🐟🐋🦀🐚⛵️