Move aside Anna and Kristoff, there’s a new ragtag team ready to sail their way into everyone’s hearts. Disney’s new movie, “Moana,” hit theaters Nov. 23, with much anticipation.
With all the hype and promotion, viewers voiced concern that “Moana” was going to be another “Frozen,” and in a way, it was. Both had the same basic storyline, same artistic style and a plethora of catchy tunes. However, there were several reasons that made this heartwarming tale of adventure much better than “Frozen.”
First off, the character choice was spectacular. “Frozen” had characters like Olaf, Elsa, Anna and Kristoff. “Moana” presents the audience with personalities like HeiHei, Moana, Maui and Gramma Tala. HeiHei, the funny looking chicken, sneaks into your heart, and when he’s in peril (which is a lot), you fear for him. He’s the better, funnier looking Sven. Maui, the great demigod of the sky and sea, is not only enjoyable to watch; he’s also complex. He’ll leave you laughing, smiling, crying and possibly hitting your dad’s shoulder in excitement. Maui’s backstory is predictable, but after watching his devastating description, you could practically hear hearts breaking. His bond with Moana is a rare one in Disney, and it was refreshing to watch it unfold on screen. Moana herself was quite similar to Anna. However, Moana was less annoying and more determined. She also had no romantic relationships, which gave the movie bonus points. She was relatable and refuses to be called a princess. The pride she has for her tribe and being chief of the tribe, while still dreaming of the sea,
was a fresh change from the go to “girl doesn’t like her place in society so she runs away” troop. The dynamic between her and every character she meets played out beautifully, and every character was special.
The plot, once again, was a flashback to Frozen. It played out as, “girl wants to do something to save her tribe/kingdom, has funny animal sidekicks, meets someone to help her, defeats the bad guy, everyone lives happily ever after.” However, the predictability that was so jarring in Frozen was pleasant in Moana. It got you excited about what was to come and made you want to watch the entire movie. Overall, the plot was like a familiar blanket: over-worn, but comforting and easy to sink into.
Finally, the music was some of the best Disney has had in awhile. Everyone is finally over “Let it Go,” “Love is an Open Door” and “In Summer”, and since then, we’ve all been yearning for more grossly addicting Disney songs. Lin-Manuel Miranda and other writers brought everything they had to Moana, and blew Frozen out of the water. “How Far I’ll Go” is the obvious choice for the most popular song from “Moana,” however there are so many other hidden gems throughout the movie. For example, what other movie has an entire song dedicated to the shininess of a jewel-covered crab?
“Moana” is an amazing and diverse addition to the Disney collection. Even with its predictability and common story themes, it manages to stun visually and emotionally. The movie was a glorious experience and you will want to watch a movie dedicated to every single character afterwards. Disney needs to make a Maui and HeiHei movie immediately. It’s finally time to let go of the unnecessary obsession with Frozen and welcome “Moana” with open arms
Photos courtesy of Disney.