Film Review // Moana

November 29, 2016


If you had been following my Instagram Story, then you'll know how excited I am to finally watch Moana! Since the day when Disney announced about the making of it a few years ago, I was already so happy and couldn't wait any longer! I always love the Disney Princess films, especially after Frozen and Tangled just bringing back Disney to its glory. So, you can just imagine how patient and excited I've been these past few years ;)

Before the movie was being released, Disney has spoiled us with the release of Moana Original Soundtrack. Listening to the songs kind of gave me some hints about the story and the personality of each characters. However, I was trying so hard not to get all "detective" and analyze every word to figure out the story line, because I wanted to figure all out while watching the film. No one really loves a spoiler, right? If you haven't listened to the album, then you must, because the songs are really good and addictive. I've been repeating it for so many times that I can suddenly listen to them in my head.

Few days ago, I finally able to watch this film at cinema with my friends. There is this one short film called Inner Workings which was played before Moana.

It's a really fun and relatable short film which demonstrates how our mind and heart do not work in sync sometimes. You should just watch the trailer to get a sneak peek of it:

After a really funny opening, it's time to get to the real deal! You know you're a Disney freak when you easily get excited just by seeing the Disney castle/logo popping out and the familiar opening theme song's playing. That's totally me. Now, I must tell you that the next paragraphs will contain spoilers, so proceed with your own risk ;)

Right after the credit was rolling, I felt so happy and contained, yet I also felt a little bit incomplete. That's because I feel like, there are some parts missing in the story line.

First of all, I'm really disappointed that Pua, the pig, doesn't have a big role in this film. I was expecting an Olaf-and-Sven or Pascal-and-Maximus, or Flounder-and-Sebastian kind of thing from Heihei and Pua,but there weren't. I kind of regret it, because I think Pua has a potential to make the story line even more interesting and funnier. Pua even appeared in the teaser trailer with Moana and Maui, yet in the film there isn't any scene involving Pua and Maui, except for the ending. Well, I guess Disney is just breaking another stereotype that they have about the Disney Princess' sidekicks.

The second thing that I think was missing is the details about Maui's sudden reunion with Moana. I know he already said: "With or without the hook, I'm still me/Maui" or something like that, but it just didn't feel enough. I wish there is a scene for Maui's struggle to find himself too, until he finally decided that he needed to get back to helping Moana. Well, I'm not really sure whether the scene got cut or just never existed, but I really do wish they have it.

Lastly, I'm not really sure why there are some names that aren't mentioned in the film. For example, no one mentioned Gramma Tala, or Chief Tui, or Moana's mother, Sina. I knew all of those names because I've watched the behind-the-scene videos and some conceptual pictures of Moana. If I haven't, they're all just gonna be Moana's grandmother, Moana's father/the chief, and Moana's mother. It's too sad because they have great names.

Despite all those missing pieces, I still think this film is really awesome! Maybe I'm a little bit biased, but whatever.

The animation in this film are just really great and even better than their last film. I was amazed by how soft Moana and Maui's hair look and how the hair movement is almost natural (I mean with all those strands of hair, just wow!). How they animate the water is just mesmerizing. My most favorite scenes including the scenes when the ocean is parted and you can see all those sea creatures within it, and also the scene when Gramma Tala and the ancestors' ghosts appear to help Moana discover herself.

The fact that there is no 'prince' in this film is also a really loud statement from Disney to break the old Disney Princess stereotype. They broke it once with Merida and Elsa, and now they just decided to make more films about girl power. I guess, it's also related to their campaign: "Dream Big, Princess", which is a campaign to empower little girls with their Disney Princess role models.

I also really love how Disney is exploring cultures and introducing them to the world through the film. If you haven't known yet, Moana is made based on Polynesian folklore and legend. Maui exists in our world you know? Polynesian people believe in the demigod Maui. They were also voyagers who found a lot of islands across the Pacific Ocean, they found their way with the help from the stars and the ocean, just like in the movie. If you want to know more details about it, you can read this article here.

I am satisfied enough with this film, and I recommend you, especially you who love Disney films, to go and watch it. I just can't wait for their next Disney Princess animated film already. Well, maybe firstly I just need to wait for Beauty and the Beast on March! Hope you're enjoying this review of mine.

Have a lovely week :D

P. S.
I'm also going to post my personal rank on the songs from Moana Original Sountrack, so stay tuned! ;)
Update: Click this link to read my Top 8 Songs from Moana :D

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