Moana splashes into the Disney franchise with new twist

Rachel Bullock

Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) helps bring diversity to the Walt Disney franchise. The movie splashes waves in the theatres with a 8.3 rating on IMDb.
Disney Movies
Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) helps bring diversity to the Walt Disney franchise. The movie splashes waves in the theaters with a 8.3 rating on IMDb.

With a charming storyline and an enchanting display of visuals, “Moana” proves once again that Disney is number one when it comes to animated features.

“Moana” is a beautiful movie that takes you to Oceania, immersing the audience in polynesian mythology and the cultures behind it. Reminiscent of “Brother Bear” (2003) in some ways, the film was moving, touching upon the themes of protection, strength and fate.

Chosen by the ocean itself, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) bravely ventures to restore the heart of Te Fiti to the said goddess and, therefore, all living things to their former glory. Learning how to sail and letting the wayfinder blood of her ancestors finally circulate through her body, Moana goes past the reef and braves pirates and the monster realm in saving her people.

The narcissistic trickster demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and Hei Hei, the mentally challenged stowaway chicken both accompany Moana on the journey they all take to self-discovery.

By the end, they all realise that the execution of good intent can make you a better person and that who you were does not determine who you can become.

Though the magic is seen on screen, the people behind “Moana” are all-stars in their own rights with director Ron Clements (past works including “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “The Princess and the Frog”), executive producer John Lasseter (known for executive producing all films in the Toy Story Series as well as various other Pixar movies) and original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda (known for the broadway musical “Hamilton”).

Even with Miranda behind the soundtrack, the balance between representing its polynesian roots and incorporating the more contemporary songs seemed off; the line was straddled uncomfortably multiple times.

A thoroughly enjoyable movie and surely a modern classic, “Moana” only lacked in cohesive storytelling elements such as foreshadowing and smooth transition into musical numbers.  Even then, it is a must see that made up for those small faults its display of scenery and warm atmosphere in its cultural connections.

It is a very family friendly film, the PG is for the caution parents should have when exposing kids to the exciting scenes that monsters appear in and the scenes that Te Ka, a volcanic looking goddess, battles with the protagonists in. The movie overall connected a whole new world to the Disney franchise that now included a polynesian twist that people can get behind.