The very fact that Moana is a Disney movie lets you know it’s going to be worth watching. First of all, they nailed the style of animation, making it a perfect blend between realistic and artistic. The characters have an artistic vibe while everything else is much more realistic. And you can bet the story is going to be quite good. This means that we got really cute and lovable characters and breathtaking scenery that makes those songs a little less boring. At least to us adults. Plus that chicken was fucking hilarious. Auli’i Cravalho lent her voice to Moana in her debut role with a little help from Dwayne Johnson as Maui.
Moana was in development for six fucking years, so it’s no wonder that the story feels like an epic. Mostly because it is. Directors Clements and Musker took many trips to Polynesia in an effort to get a better understanding of the creation legends and the people. After that, the whole thing was reviewed by various experts and this is why the story feels grand and mystical. Kinda as if Polynesians made a movie about a kid who goes to find Jesus and then the adventure kicks off. Only with Christianity that adventure is no adventure at all but an id fervor.
In ancient Polynesia, on a small island of Motunui lived a hobbit. Well, not a hobbit but a young Moana Waialiki, a carefree girl with an unending love for the sea. Her father, the chieftain of their tribe, is preparing her for difficult times that lay ahead. One day, Moana will take his place and decide on important things. Millennia ago, demigod Maui stole the heart of goddess Te Fiti, releasing lava monster Te Ka and black goo that destroys everything it touches… Now the goo is getting closer and closer.
I must say that as far as the myths go, this one’s a classic. Impudent humans who sought power went too far (the dwarves dug greedily and too deep) and now they must journey back. I think that when humanity finally comes to its senses, it will find that the answers that we were seeking were already there. Written by other humans in the past. Now, I know that every generation deserves their animated classics, and this somewhat redeems the main story. Especially along with the exotic aspect of Polynesia, but come on (read it in Jimmy Valmer’s voice). Also, dare not to cut one layer beneath the character’s story because all you will find is millennial woe.
Rant with small spoilers inbound. If we take away the whole exotic Polynesian myth aspect, what’s left is a pretty formulaic and seen-a-thousand-times-before story. A princess who abandons her inherited (not earned) place filled with power and luxury, to seek out the thing she truly loves. Add sidekicks and usual troubles and you got yourself a movie. What bothers me most is the way she gets to this place. Not through arduous training, reading, and learning, of course not. Because you are “chosen” you don’t have to do anything. The universe (ocean) will do everything for you. And to be chosen, you just have to be born in the right family. Rise up comrades, we have nothing to lose but our chains!
Director: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Writer: Jared Bush, Ron Clements, John Musker, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribon, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell
Fun Facts: In Europe and Asia both the protagonist and the movie are have a different name: “Vaiana”. Not only didn’t Disney want to avoid association with Italian porn star Moana Pozzi, but the, lesser known, main reason was actually that there’s a cosmetics brand that owns the legal copyright to the use of “Moana” in Europe.