Disney’s latest animated film has in fact two different titles. The original title is the name of its leading heroine, Moana, but overseas the movie is also known as simply Vaiana.
Whatever name is given, one thing is as clear as daylight: Walt Disney Animation Studios is back! And how …
Ever since the worldwide success of Frozen – still one of the finest and most enjoyable animated movies – Disney Studios has found a new way to tell great stories. Simple, straightforward feelgood-movies packed with uplifting pop songs, groundbreaking new computer images and more colors than a sky full of rainbows.
Vaiana – well, let’s continue with its original name – Moana has all these things and so much more!
In truth, the story of Moana isn’t so simple. It has real heart! This is not some empty-minded princess who goes off the island for hunting pleasures or discovering herself … this story is about a lurking danger that threatens an entire village. Pretty grown-up stuff for a children’s movie, no?
Moana is very clever in that it teaches children a few important lessons. There’s kindness to others, respect to what you don’t know and the will to overcome your deepest fears. Then there’s also the mother of all lessons: humans need nature. Without it, we’d be lost.
The first thing that strikes you is the original setting. The movie takes place on the Southern Pacific island of ancient Polynesia, a place where white beaches and crystal-clear oceans are only surpassed by the beautiful trees and endless supply of strange exotic animals.
The local inhabitants live in peace and harmony with whatever the island can provide and have but one rule: never go sailing into the deep sea. Because if you do … who knows what you may find?
Of course, this wouldn’t be much of a movie if all we got was a bunch of coconut-cracking aborigines singing and dancing. What the story is really about, is a little girl who’s an adventurer with a keen interest in the ocean. She wants to travel, she wants to explore, she wants to see what’s beyond the borders of her island. Thank God she does … coz her journey becomes a necessity for the survival of her people!
Don’t be surprised if this wonderful animated movie pushes Frozen to a distant second place. It has lots of fabulous pop songs and far more beautiful colors and computer animation overall. Plus there’s the humor. Instead of a snowman who wants to know what summer is all about, you now get a chicken who will make you laugh until you cringe … and it doesn’t even speak a single word!
The leading vocal part is incredibly well done by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, who’s literally never done any acting before in Hollywood, both on/off the stage. She is joined by none other than Dwayne Johnson as demigod Maui, and Temuera Morrison as Chief Tui.
The casting is good – it really is – but the movie has so much more to offer! The songs, the animation, the colors, the uplifting atmosphere!
It makes you happy … it makes you smile … it turns your old heart into that of a child … it makes you forget about the bleak bias that turns people against each other in reality … it makes you wanna dream away, only to wish you’d never wake up again.
And for those who crave a little darkness in their minds, Moana serves you too … near the end you’ll witness one of Disney’s coolest creatures …
Still not convinced … then listen to this evergreen-song!
Did you know?
The word “moana” is the Polynesian word for ocean or sea. It is also a common Polynesian word for the color blue.
Give it to me short:
Moana (or Vaiana for those non-American) is an insanely beautiful movie that continues the path of pristine computer animation and great pop songs, a path that was first laid out by The Lion King, improved by The princess and the frog, and finally perfected by Frozen.
Now Moana takes this winning formula and becomes one of the all-time greatest adventures ever put together. Walt Disney Studios is finally back on track in competing against the success rate of Pixar (though both studios often work together), breaking new ground in both visuals and storytelling.
No more old stories of spineless princesses who live a boring life in a castle, have to work 24/7 for their nasty sisters, or need help from some fairy godmother … the new Disney princess is a strong girl who can take care of herself, and isn’t afraid to face a little danger and darkness.
Moana – the girl not the movie – is voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho but you’d never know this is her very first outing as an actress …
Moana is a movie full of joy and pleasure! It gives you nothing but good vibes, and when you leave the cinema … you’ll feel like you can fly!
But more than anything, it’s a near-perfect masterpiece of stellar animation! It’s not just how it looks or the fabulous story it tells, but it’s also everything else … it’s the glorifying beauty … the wonderful marriage of sing & dance that makes this movie one of the single greatest Disney animated movies EVER made!