Disney has a formula when it comes to animated series to the big screen. It seems like they keep the same basic principles, Someone dies who is close to our hero OR they have lost someone, a lot of singing of accomplishing their dreams, comic relief character, and an over protective father/mother. Well…Moana fits the bill.
The same directors who brought us Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Princess and the Frog ventures across the Pacific to Hawaiian Islands to bring a story to life about Maui, a demigod who stole the heart of the Mother of the Islands. This cursed all the Islands with monsters and causing the Islands to die.
Moana, the Chiefs daughter learns from her Grandmother of the stories of what is happening to the Islands. However the Chief doesn’t believe the stories and the tales from his ancestors. At the same time, the people of the Island are prohibited to leave the Reef that protects the Island. Moana needs to figure out how to lift the curse and save the Islands, by finding Maui and have him return the heart.
Let me get this one statement out of the way, this movie is entertaining. It is a fun movie to watch with the kids. It is a movie that kids will enjoy throughout. The monsters in the film are not scary or are there any type darkness that will scare little kids.
There is plenty of small jokes and plunders that will keep the audience laughing throughout. There is a point where they are being attacked by coconuts that are alive, that are heavily influenced by Mad Max???
The movie had some great characters. Dwayne Johnson who does the voice for Maui does an excellent job and allows a great chemistry between his character and the Moana. Maui was the make or break character for Moana to work. He did very well taking a prideful and sorrowful demigod.
Sometimes it’s good to see the fun side of movies even if they don’t make any sense.
What didn’t Work
Now if you are from Hawaii, you may be disappointed with the language in the film. No, I don’t mean there is cursing or profanity because it is clean in that retrospect. What I am talking about is the unique lingo that is used in Hawaii that was lacking in the film. I was surprised how they didn’t use more of the Polynesian culture in the film. I liked the idea of Pocahontas were they did teach the Native American side somewhat more. If they did this to appeal to a universal audience, shame on them.
Coming back to my original comments, it gets tiring seeing the same formula countless times in Disney films. At some point it feels like it needs to find some kind of originality in its films. So now the filler between the main points of the film lacked and it was like going through the motions. A lot of this time, I feel like they needed to cut the film down, more condense. If that was done, then it would keep the motion of the film more attention to the film.
If you have kids, go take them to the film. It will remind you when you went and saw the original films of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid. It just isn’t one for adults to go see on a date night. I just wish that Disney would break more boundaries that reverting back to their old ways. Sure the saying if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, but if the tires are balding, it’s time to update them as well.
2 ½ out of 5 Stars