Unsurprisingly, Disney stuck to its safe classic formula with its latest film. However, Moana turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
Despite what Moana may say throughout the film, she is a Disney princess. As Maui said, “If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.” Nevertheless, Moana was a delight to watch. While it may have followed Disney’s formula, it was extremely well executed and visually stunning, all of which gave it a refreshing feel.
Set in a Polynesian village, Moana tells the story of the titular character Moana, who longs to venture beyond the confines of her island. However, her father has forbidden anyone to go past the reef. When her island begins to die, she sets off on a journey to find the demigod Maui, who is said to be responsible for the island’s predicament.
Despite drawing on many common ideas and themes from previous Disney films, Moana improves on them. Moana manages to execute the Disney formula almost perfectly while differentiating itself in enough ways from the classic Disney formula to feel fresh. Following more modern trends, Disney avoids the cliché of the prince sweeping the princess off her feet. Instead, Moana is a strong-willed protagonist who refuses to back down even in the face of the demigod Maui, and the film noticeably lacks a romantic interest for the princess.
While a prince doesn't sweep Moana off her feet, the story is nothing original. It still features many classic themes including the overbearing father, the child not being ready to rule yet, the longing for adventure, and the silly animal friends. The plot’s premise has Moana chosen by the ocean to restore the heart of the island, and so she goes on her epic quest to save her people, which sounds oddly like any other film’s quest. Nevertheless, the film is still enjoyable,and can appeal to a variety of different age groups.
Overall, Moana is an excellent film and is definitely one of the best Disney has ever made. Visually, it is beautiful, its songs are catchy, and it delivers Disney’s classic formula. In addition, Disney has crafted a well-rounded character with Moana, who is more than just another flat Disney princess. She has inherent flaws instead of being a bland perfect princess, and she is an active and resourceful character with a believable body shape. While not the most original film, Moana is very well made, and I found it highly enjoyable.
All in all, Moana is a strong film. What it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with strong execution, drawing from all of Disney's past films and improving on them.
The epic journey continues for "Moana" fans as Walt Disney Animation Studios introduces an all-new sing-along version of the hit, critically-lauded comedy-adventure "Moana." From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes "Moana," a sweeping, CG-animated adventure about a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestors' unfinished quest. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui, and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds.
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"If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you're a princess." Do you agree or disagree with Maui's statement?