Moana User Review

  • lucasisking
    Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea
    Review of Moana Movie by lucasisking, Dec 5, 2016.

    A refreshing visual and cultural revamp of the traditional Disney Princess tale; but under the bonnet Moana offers usual formula. The themes of female empowerment/ looking beyond/ embracing destiny have all been explored before, but perhaps not quite as beautifully. It's visually sumptuous, often imaginative (Monster-world is fun) and the story is solid with a decent message. It's not as socially complex or aware as Zootropolis and not as emotionally engaging or nuanced as Inside Out, but its a lot of fun and I laughed often (even more so than the kids). Moana herself is a lovely addition to the pantheon (a combo of Rapunzel, Merida and Judy Hops); she's feisty, driven and beautiful (ethnically representative of her Polynesian origin), and her interactions with shape-shifting demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) are wonderful. Our Dwayne nails both the voice acting and the singing with ease, and his personality shines through especially in his scenes with Moana. It's the standard 'annoy each other at first but form a bond' variety of relationship, but again: 'if it ain't broke' applies. There are occasional lulls; and times when a quiet moment gives way to a song (when you hope the story will get moving instead), and there's a sense at times that there isn't quite enough happening to sustain the runtime. Combined with the sense of Disney-familiarity might make this seem routine compared to the best. Fortunately there's enough good stuff there to keep viewers happy and engaged; great characters, good songs ('We Know the Way' is probably the best) and eye-candy galore. Disney haven't gone overboard with their message and it might not achieve the snowy heights of Frozen; but it's plain sailing for a studio that continues to challenge Pixar's animated crown.


    • Visually stunning
    • Wonderful new Disney 'princess' with ethnic appeal
    • Dwayne Johnson is terrific as Maui
    • Engaging, fun story
    • Nice message
    • Some quality songs


    • Treads familiar ground
    • Some pacing issues
    • Not as substantial as other recent animated classics


    No comments have been posted on this review yet.
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