If you haven’t watched Disney’s newest “princess” movie, you’re missing out. Here are seven reasons to love Moana:
1) The score is FANTASTIC. This is the first non-Menken soundtrack from Disney I have loved in far too long.
2) The graphics are great, and it’s really nice to see a cast that is a healthy weight (with one notable exception) instead of your super, unrealistically, unhealthy thin that has been typical till now.
3) I personally don’t care for strapless & midriffs BUT that was still tastefully done, and they could have shown more skin & been culturally accurate. So I appreciate they kept it on the modest side.
4) This movie has no Judeo-Christian framework – this one should be obvious from the trailers since Moana wants to find the demi-god Maui, but the movie is firmly rooted in Hawaiian/Pacific Islander religious thought. (If you don’t want your children exposed to that, beware.) I found the religious aspect fascinating as there were a number of similarities to Greek myth. I think this movie could be a great springboard for talking to your children about different religions and myths.
5) Moana leaves her home without parental support because she was called. This could be a problematic message, but it depends on how you handle it. Is it a good message? Is it too similar to the problematic follow your heart message? Is it ok because it was an “other” (almost deity) who did the calling? Is it wrong because she went against her father’s wishes? Again, it’s a springboard and ultimately that message lies in how parents handle the issue.
6) Did someone say princess movie? Yeah, with Maui its so much more than that.
7) Speaking of Maui, we have our first Disney “princess” movie where no one falls in love. Can you believe it?!
My one complaint about the movie was really that Moana is basically a non-anorexic Pacific-Islander Rapunzel. Could they have similar traits? I reckon, but never have Disney “princesses” been so similar. There were times I literally thought “this is Rapunzel – this is exactly what she would do or how she would act.” This is the most unfortunate aspect of the movie. She should’ve been given her own traits and quirks instead of having them recycled. While this is distracting at times, the movie is enjoyable in spite of this.
Caution for parents of young children: The little coconut dudes & the demon lava rock monster can definitely scare little ones – not saying they will, but depending on temperament and what they’ve been exposed to it’s a definite possibility.
Overall, Moana was a well done, well told story. Only one song, “Shiny,” fell flat. Overall the soundtrack is worth celebrating. There are concerning aspects for young children, so, as always, I recommend previewing it first. But it was a fun film we plan to add to our personal collection.
FUN FACT: Did you know Moana means “sea” or “large body of water”? Note to parents – if you don’t want your kids drawn to something, probably not a great idea to name them after it.
BONUS: Who loves a good mashup? I know I do. Here is a simply brilliant performance of How Far I’ll Go the Distance. That’s right, Moana and Hercules apparently have a lot more in common than one would expect…