Moana is probably one of the best animated films I have seen all year, I am still debating between Kubo and the Two Strings and Zootopia but after initial viewing I am pretty sure it’s the best. To start, the story has a dense mythology and pays homage to the Polynesian people but also is rich and well realized, probably my greatest dislike about Kubo. The world building was effective and done almost to perfection. Furthermore, the characters in Moana were incredible. Strong and distinctive, the main two characters of Maui and Moana were able to carry the movie very well and were just full bodied and by no means stereotypical. Moana was truly a revelation as a “princess” that could stand up for herself and did not need any type of man to determine her worth. Having little sisters, I am very happy that a such a strong female presence like this exists in a kids movie. She was so strong and her mission was very pure and true. Maui, voiced by Dwayne the rock Johnson was also great. His character had a beautiful arc that had a great message for kids and adults. His own backstory also provided a lot of the mythology which I loved. The entire animation was also incredible; the water and hair were photorealistic and truly mind blowing to take in. To countinue, the songs were also mostly incredible. The village song in the beginning, mauis song, and the voyaging song were top notch, however I did not enjoy the krabs song or Moanas song because they were just too cheesy and predictable for Disney. Not gonna lie I got pretty emotional during some of the music scequenes just because of the pure beauty of how they were put together and the energy behind them. This movie is fantastic. Finally, in terms of how the story was structured I loved how the pace was quick and full of energy but also had some unpredictable moments. Also nothing came too easy for the main characters as each obstacle they faced was very well established and had some tense moments. This again was another problem I had with Kubo, as the trials he faced seemed too easy to accomplish. All of the villans were interesting and posed enough of a threat to provide good action sequences.
*spoilers ahead: do not continue to read if you have not seen this movie”
In terms of negatives I also have a few, otherwise this movie would be well into the 9s as I love animated films. First, the pace was a little rushed at moments were I thought more depth could have been provided. One example includes the scene when the boat flips over. Another occurs when they are in the realm of monsters where I thought the underworld could have been explored more. Second, I think that not going back to the village was frustrating because although I realize that it was moanas journey and she needed to separate herself, I think that showing how much her village needed her could have added some more emotion that also could have bolstered the end. I understand moana needed to be her own person, but adding more life to the characters back home would only have strengthen the movie I think. Third, there was not a solid villain that propelled the movie a long, which kind of took away from the finale. Finally, my biggest problem with the movie was the end. Now to start, keep in mind that I did not hate the ending, but in my opinion it was just weak and almost cheesy. I love the concept but when I’m seeing a giant green lady on the screen the movie kind of took me out of the emotional moments. I don’t mind that it was a classic Disney ending but just the way it was done with the singing and the cheesy dialogue was a little off putting and not as powerful as I wanted it to be. Also I wish she took the pig on the journey. That pig was so cute.
Overall though this movie was lit asf. Highly recommend every kid and adult goes sees this movie.