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|Index||180 reviews in total|
Easily ranks among the best from the Disney Studio, and a very worthy successor to Mulan 1998, a similar story equally well done.
Oddly also seems to be best work ever from Dwayne Johnson, perhaps not the first name I would have associated with "voice acting," but a star turn nonetheless.
If you want to be picky -- which is the reviewer's job, after all -- the momentum slows a little at the top of the third act, but the ultimate themes of redemption, forgiveness and self-discovery at the finale are an absolute joy.
As they used to say, "for children of all ages."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tell me if you've seen this movie:
Princess wants to do something a parent doesn't want her to do. Close friend/relative inspires her to be/do it anyway. Princess meets wacky sidekick. Prince and wacky sidekick don't get along but are forced to work together. Princess and wacky sidekick bond. Conflict happens and princess and wacky sidekick part ways. Princess continues on. Wacky sidekick shows up out of nowhere to help princess. Princess and wacky sidekick win, become friends forever. Parent realizes they were wrong, encourages princess to be/do whatever.
I felt like I already knew the plot to this film because I had seen it 100 times before. Why didn't I rate it lower? Because it's visually stunning. The style of this film is very unique and I like the way they wove Samoan artistic sense into it. I found myself mesmerized at the water effects and the animals more than anything else.
Fun for kids, but nothing you haven't seen before.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So I watched Moana and boy, what a lazy movie it was. So full of good
ideas, squandered on a passable family movie. And yes, I know it's
Disney making a family movie, but it had all these ideas that would
make a great story if they were taken more seriously. The premise of
the movie is basically the whole world dying because of what someone
did and they treat this catastrophic event as an annoyance instead of
something actually serious.
The protagonist is Moana, an absolutely average Disney princess type of character that wants to say no to being stuck in a life of safety and luxury. We've seen it a thousand times by now, it's nothing that stands out or even something logical in the long run since these types of sheltered characters do not know anything about the outside world and are in effect useless on their own.
And I have to point this out about her which is one of the many things they didn't bother to clarify. Why is everybody fine with a girl being their leader? Do they have gender equality on this otherwise primitive island? If they do, they never showed it because any other leader we see in their history was a guy. Combined with how she doesn't drown 1 minute after going into the sea with zero experience further proves this movie is empowerment fantasy for little girls instead of a movie where talent and intelligence matter.
But it's OK because the scriptwriter did his worst to plot armor her from any possible danger. Because you see, the gods chose her to be the one who restores the world, thus every time she falls in water, a magical wave takes her on the boat. When she doubts her abilities, the ghosts of her ancestors appear to motivate her. She is essentially a plot device fully controlled by the plot instead of doing what she wants and facing the repercussions of her mistakes.
And if you think calling her the chosen one properly excuses all the nonsense, it doesn't because the gods make no sense. Why did they wait a thousand years to do something about a disaster that has killed most of the islands, and of all people why did they choose a little girl with no skills or experience of the outside world? They never explain it.
Do you know what else they didn't explain? Why her pet pig doesn't grow up. She begins as a little girl and grows up to a teenager, but the damn thing remains a piglet throughout the whole movie. Nobody in the production team gave a damn.
The problems don't even stop there. The first thing she has to do is find Maui, a demigod who has been stuck on a barren island for a thousand years and is the only person who can save the world. He is also the one who doomed it, so that makes sense. Also, for a guy who spent a millennium all alone without something to eat or do on a tiny island, he sure looked fine when she appeared. Disney went so safe and lazy on him that he is nothing but a cool guy who does cool things and has absolutely no sex drive, or psychological trauma for being left alone all this time.
Accompanying them on their journey is a retarded chicken. It's the most annoying comic relief animal I have seen in my life. It's not funny, it causes more trouble than aid, and they never eat it although they never seem to have enough food. How the hell did it get on the boat in the first place? Moana didn't take it with her, it just appeared out of nowhere in the secret cave nobody had been in for centuries. Nobody in the production team gave a damn.
You probably think I am being too harsh on what is supposed to be a dumb movie for kids, when I'm not since they clearly put effort in fleshing out the characters in a way that demands from the story to be better. Moana's father has a good reason for not letting her out in the sea. Maui has a good reason for why he keeps going on adventures and tries to impress the mortals. Even the villain of the movie has a reason for why she is evil. These are really good stuff, and they are ruined by the lazy script.
If the movie was like that in all its aspects, I wouldn't be bothered by it. But when you set it up in a way that obviously raises the bar like that, the disappointment multiplies when you treat your good ideas like a joke. I can easily sum up all these problems as cheap resolutions. Everything is fixed way too fast despite the problems building up for countless years. The father changed his mind way too fast and lets his daughter sail in the sea, Maui changed his mind and returned to help her without even showing us how, and the goddess forgives Maui instantly, despite causing her pain and suffering for a thousand years, as well as wiping out the life of countless islands and filling the sea with monsters. Hell, even the disease that was slowly killing the islands went away in a few seconds despite spreading slowly for centuries.
This movie is so freaking lazy. The pay-off is not worth the build-up, its ideas are not used properly, and all you end up getting is a generic Disney princess and a retarded chicken.
A friend and I went with the kids to watch Moana last night. I loved seeing Polynesian islands in animation again. The scenery is beautiful--much more of it, and more vivid compared to Lilo and Stitch. The storyline was typical Disney, of course. I feel like I've seen this movie a dozen times before. I would add that I am getting tired of seeing male characters portrayed as cowardly, ignorant, and/or irresponsible. This movie succeeds in that aspect, which is disappointing. Having sons, it would be nice to see a movie where a young man is the hero. Instead, we seem to find thattoo many of Disney's children's movies feature a heroine with weak male characters around her. Other than the above-mentioned observation and the glorifying of pagan belief systems, it was an entertaining and uplifting movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Animation is good (except surely not all Polynesians are so stocky and have such large cankles???). I liked the Moana character and her outfit was cute. Maui not so much, such an overblown caricature it was ridiculous!!! My 9 year old granddaughter thought his moving tattoos were silly. She and her 7 year old brother enjoyed it OK, but I doubt if they would want to see it again. I know I don't!! The plot was formulaic and none of the characters (except Moana) were memorable. I don't recall any memorable songs, either. The movie needed a MUCH better plot and more in-depth characters. Go back to the drawing board, Disney!! Some of my granddaughter's old Barbie movies (like "Pegasus") had better and more memorable stories!!
2016 has been a particularly strong year for animated films. With the
likes of Zootopia, Finding Dory and Kubo & The Two Strings all vying
for best animated picture of the year, it seems Moana deserves to be
mentioned in the same breath as well. It's no fluke that out of the
four movies I just mentioned, 3 of them belong under the house of the
Legend has it that demigod Maui stole a sacred stone, the heart of the goddess Te Fiti. The lava demon confronted him and both the heart and Maui were lost forever. Now, the world is slowly dying and someone must find the heart and force Maui to put it back. But who is this chosen one? It might be Moana, a Polynesian girl who is suppose to be taking over as chief of her tribe, but longs to sail beyond the reef. Featuring new comer Auli'i Carvalho as Moana and the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, Dwayne 'The Rock" Johnson, as the demigod Maui.
It's not surprising that I found myself tapping my feet to the songs in this film because Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, shares his talent with this film. I can easily see any one of the songs in this piece going up for and winning Best Original Song, giving the man the O in the prestigious PEGOT award circle. He currently has a Pulitzer, Emmy, Tony and Grammy, among more. The songs here remind me of the old-school Disney songs, easy to listen to, fun to play on repeat and important to the story. At first, I felt it was a little too on the nose with some of the lyrics, but eventually he won me over and I've been listening to the soundtrack ever since.
The film itself might lack some of the intricacies of plot heavy films like Zootopia, but this journey story is entertaining and heartfelt. The vibrant colours of the green islands and the blue sea help propel the film above and beyond what some others films have to offer. The animation takes a nice little turn for the creative when the characters find themselves under the sea in a side villains lair. We are treated with some bioluminescent sequences with another catchy tune not far behind.
Johnson is stellar as Maui, he seems completely comfortable in a voice acting role and surprisingly has the chops to sing a tune. Newcomer Auli'i Carvalho holds her own against a star like Johnson and she really gives a strong voice to a driven female character. I applaud that Disney didn't feel the need to shoehorn in a love story either. This is a tale about self discovery, not some young woman needing to find a man. Disney nods and respects their past while looking to the future with Moana. Princesses no longer need to be the 'love' goal of a man.
Moana is a visually beautiful film with great songs and a strong female lead character. There are some visually gags for the kids and a great time for adults. Moana is a great film.
Let me be honest with you: there have only really been 3 Disney movies
in this year and 10 years included and before it that really made me go
"Wow! They DIDN'T just pull another Disney here". I say that very
rarely because Disney has a particular formula that they know works and
will give them loads of money... and BOY do they use it allot. If you
don't believe me, think for a second: besides Wreck it Ralph, Zootopia,
and Big Hero 6, what other PURE Disney (in no associated with Pixar
Disney) animated movies HAVEN'T had numerous musical numbers, a female
lead, a male supporting role, a comedic relief character, and some big
journey to stop something bad from happening to the place that the main
character lives in?
I know it sounds oddly specific, but it's been played so many times by Disney that's actually more mundane at this point. You've seen in in allot of their hits, and by the next, you probably go into the theater telling yourself the same thing as the last: "I'm ready for the new masterpiece!". Moana is just another one of these films. Is it well written? Yes! Is it culturally diverse? Why would it not be? Is the animation beautiful and breathtaking at moments? Again, the answer is a resounding YES. While all those things are a saving grace for the film, the biggest issue I have in my mind with it is that I will probably forget it's existence in the years to come, Oscar, Golden Globe, WHATEVER, or not! Moana is excellently produced, but none of that matters to me when the writing and overall story arc basically amount to clichés that have been beaten to death already.
Listen, if you LOVE Disney and couldn't give a Rat's Tail about these clichés, go ahead and go see the film, you'll probably love it because it's Disney. That said, however, if you DO care for more than a small amount of originality like I do, then maybe it's worth a rental, but that's about it. Again, Moana is excellently produced and will most likely leave a smile on your face... but it's also a convincing case study for all the clichés Disney has been stuffing into their films as of late.
Earlier this year, Elizabeth posted an article looking forward to the
movie Moana. Despite the aggressively mediocre trailers that Disney had
put out, she was excited for the film, and her excitement proved to be
well-placed. Moana delivered far more than the lack luster trailers
The film follows Moana (Auli'i Cravalho), a spunky princess who leaves her island to embark on an epic quest to return the stolen heart of the Goddess Te Fiti. After forming an alliance with the Demigod Maui (Dwayne the Rock Johnson), the two set off across the seas to find the Goddess. Along they way there are many adventures including a run-in with a giant crab voiced by Jemaine Clement, a lot of laughs, and a whole lot of fantastic music.
While the story in Moana isn't revolutionary, Disney is pushing some new ground in other areas. The animation is beautiful, much of the cast and music was created by artists from Pacific Islands (although it was still directed by a couple white guys), Moana is a strong female character drawn in realistic human proportions, and most refreshingly of all there was no love story. While I love Disney's recent push towards less misogynistic films, it seems odd to applaud them for starting to break down stereotypes that they created. Don't get me wrong, Moana is an awesome heroine, but It's sad that we applaud Disney for creating a strong female character who can stand on her own. That should be the expectation, and anything else, anything that hearkens back to the early days of Disney princesses needs to be rejected.
There are many many reasons to commend Moana aside from its lack of misogyny. The beautiful animation, the killer score from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina, and Opetaia Foa'i, the consistent jokes, and the stellar voice work add up to an extremely fun movie. Moana doesn't quite stack up to the heights that Disney reached earlier this year with Zootopia, but If you're looking for a pick me up after 2016, this is the movie to grab.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The positives: -Great soundtrack. FROZENesque, epic, catchy monologues
that repeat in your head. Added with Lion King like incomprehensible
but fun tunes with a Hawaiian twist this time. -Beautiful and creative
visuals. One in particular I enjoyed a lot was the UNDER underwater
world where the ocean served as the sky. The striking beautiful
blue/turquoise water with lush green islands were treat for the eyes
-No silly, typical Disney, forced romances. -Passes the Bechdel test
The negatives: -Filled with clichés, unoriginal and overused themes, tropes, characters and dialogue etc.... -A lot of trouble with building engagement early on. All over the place with a lot of shifts -Annoyingly predictable, unfunny characters. Specially Maui with such cringe worthy, lame jokes. Maybe i'm too old to be amazed by easy punch lines, that end of the day are meant for kids -difficulty with tonal focus. -unnecessary, out of place scene with coconut pirates that add nothing to the story -lacked the charm and wonder i expect in a kids movie.
My rating: -5/10 -Neither original or interesting but has one or two things going for it to be not disregarded. -Compared to other animated family movies this year, I would rank this below Finding Dory but above The Secret Life of Pets.
The most positive thing I can say about this movie is that it adheres to the formula very faithfully and it is not an unapologetic butchery like the new Star Wars. Apparently however, whether because of a lack of creativity or despite it, this film is extremely uncreative. At its best, which is a word one should not use about this film, it's how you imagined it. At its worst, if you've already watched Frozen, Snow White or Little Mermaid, it is frankly boring to watch and may disrupt the fancies of your imagination: I never imagined a girl sailing the ocean with a beefcake. The special effects don't go that far beyond stage play level and certainly don't live up to the reviews' descriptions. This movie has not been released to do anything new, and it's not worth the trouble obtaining watching in the theatre with 50 kids on smartphones around you. Read a book, cook or bake, actually talk to your children and think for yourself, or if you must enjoy some other movie on the same theme.
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