Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker
Released in November, 2016
The film is about Moana, a girl who dreams about leaving her home island. She eventually embarks on a quest to restore the balance of nature with the help of demi-god Maui. He doesn’t want to help at first, but eventually comes around. Even though Moana faces grave challenges, she manages to find the courage to contiue on her path and complete her task.
I saw this film in the cinema, and so I was able to appreciate the aesthetics fully. Before the film, there was a short screened called “Inner Workings”. If I’m going to be honest, I enjoyed this short more than I enjoyed the feature film.
But why? …Moana is the typical Disney film. At some points, it even goes to the exaperating lengths to play on the Disney film cliches. Endless musical pieces, puns and jokes on the Disney universe… The entire film felt that it was trying to live up to that Disney “movie magic”. And, it failed.
The film visuals were astounding. It was so beautful. It was really great eye candy. It lacked character development though. Yes, Moana figured out that she could defeat the scary monster on her own and that she had the courage to stand on her own two feet. That’s nice, and inspiring. Most Disney characters have gone through that plot development though… so this is nothing special.
The plot felt like it was missing something. I didn’t really feel that it was anything which was unique or special. It reminded me of a film I’ve seen a while ago, The Song of the Sea (produced by Cartoon Saloon) and of course, the sea vibes reminded me of Nemo.
Seeing the merchandising and having Moana plastered on many billboards and posters creates a sense of anticipation and expectation which I felt wasn’t met. Most of the songs followed the same theme, and therefore sounded a bit repetitive. Some of the places and characters included in the film were rather pointless… like the pirates who attacked Moana.
The actor’s performances were wonderful. The world design was incredible, even if the character designs were repetitive in some cases. The plot felt pointless and really exhausted in some cases. It was also obvious from the start what was going to happen, because there is no way that a Disney princess can fail at her quest?
It’s a great film for kids, but I think it’s not unlike the other things we’ve seen from Disney. I am disappointed, but only because I expected more.