I watched a lot of Christmas movies this month but I’m not going to write about any of those for my movie of the month. I saw Moana on December 2 so I’m counting it as my movie of the month. I’m a sucker for Disney movies and this one was just as good (if not better) than the Disney animated movies (not Pixar) of the last five years or so. This movie follows a Polynesian girl named Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) who goes on an adventure to find demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) because he’s the only one who can help her save her island.
One thing I really really liked about Moana was the the fact that her “quest” wasn’t to end up with a guy, her quest was to save her island. And although a “guy” or in this case male demi-god, helped Moana along the way, there was nothing in terms of a romantic relationship, which I found to be very refreshing. I also really like Brave and think it is an extremely underrated Pixar movie. Like Moana, Brave doesn’t really entail a romantic relationship. In fact, Merida insists that she doesn’t want to get married (at least not yet). Both of these stories are just stories about going on an adventure and discovering who you want to be and I think part of the reason I like these movies is because it sends a message of you don’t need a man to tell you who to be – it’s okay to just be yourself and want to go adventuring.
Another technical part of the movie that I really enjoyed was the animation. The animation of this movie was stellar. The bright, vibrant colours of the island were beautiful and it really tied the whole movie together. The colour palette also just added to the whole pacific island/Polynesian feel, which I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed the 2D animation that was thrown in – Maui’s tattoos were animated and moved around and there were parts between scenes that were solely 2D animation that were seamlessly integrated into the story. The detail in the animation was also beautiful. The long-shots of the ocean horizon (see the line where the sky meets the sea, it calls me), looked so real and it was so pretty.
The music in this movie was amazing. The music for this movie was done by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina (Score). What makes the music really cool is that it sounds Polynesian and it really fits the movie. In order to do this the lyrics are in English and Tokeluan language. I think that adds a great deal of authenticity to the story. The music sounds very beach-y and light and fun. Lin-Manuel Miranda has a very unique style of music and you can absolutely tell that he wrote these songs even if you’ve never heard some of his other music. The songs in this movie didn’t feel rushed or out of place, which sometimes happens when you are trying to make a musical (and it’s even harder when you’ve got someone from the Broadway scene on your team who is writing the songs). This felt like a really traditional Disney movie with 5-6 really good, well-placed songs that do further the story and make it fun to watch. Auli’i Cravalho is a really good singer and the music is just addicting and infectious.
But the best thing about this movie was that it made me smile. Disney did what Disney does best – they created an interesting, heartwarming, fun story for people of all ages. I’m 19 and thoroughly enjoyed the movie and I was in a theatre surrounded by 6 year olds, 13 year olds, and even grandparents. It was just a really enjoyable film and I recommend it to absolutely everyone!