Movie Review: Moana

Details: Stars Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Runs for under two hours. Rated PG. Released in 2016.

Moana is the latest animated movie to come out in a year of many good animated children’s movies. Despite the many positive reviews I’ve read, I felt fatigued from this movie, similarly to how I felt about Doctor Strange and other superhero movies. I still liked the movie, I just didn’t love it or find it as emotional as other reviews I’ve read.

The premise is this: Moana, the chieftain’s daughter in her island village, must seek out the demigod, Maui and return a magical stone in order to prevent the corruption of her island and the seas.

I felt like this was watching the classic Disney formula at work. First, find a foreign, non-white culture. Check. Get some big names, like the Rock, in there. Check. Throw in some music written my a well known song writer (like Lin Manuel Miranda). Check. Cute animals? Check. Adventure where protagonist finds herself? Check check check check.

It’s retread territory. Furthermore, I felt that this movie had less adult elements in it than a film like Finding Dory, which made it harder for me to appreciate the movie. Whenever I watch a kids film, the adult elements hidden within are what keep me interested. There was few of that here.

The music was also generally not great. I mean it was good, but most of the people aren’t great singers. The Rock isn’t a great singer. Lin Manuel Miranda also doesn’t have much range and that’s mostly why he mostly raps in Hamilton. However, while their singing parts weren’t great, the music overall was pretty good.

The best part of this movie was easily Auli’i Cravalho and the songs she sang. Her songs were the most moving and best sounding parts of the movie. She was a really good casting decision as Moana.

One final note: they cast Alan Tudyk as a chicken. Why the heck would you do something so cruel Disney? Give the man a better part for crying out loud.

Score: 6/10 Feels redundant, like I’ve already seen this movie before.


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