Film Review: Disney’s Moana…Finally a Polynesian Hero!


Disney’s Moana is set to become one of this year’s Christmas blockbusters after its release earlier this month.

The story follows, Moana (Pronounced Mo-Ana) – the daughter of the island chief who was chosen by the ocean to save her island. She is told to do this by accompanying a demi God to replace a lost relic. Moana attracted a lot of attention prior to its release due to the character being a Polynesia hero – who until this film had rarely been portrayed in animation.

The music

Prior to seeing the movie I was sure that it would feature fantastic music due to the fact that Lyn Manuel Miranda helped produce the score, and he did not disappoint. The music is amazing! It is inspired by Polynesian culture and many of the songs are even sang in the Tokelauan language. A highlight was Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s singing in the track ‘You’re Welcome,’ because I had no idea he could sing? The music complimented the movie very well, to the point that you were actually sad the songs didn’t last longer!

Strong Female Lead

It was great to see a Polynesian hero, who pretty much saved her own and her companion’s butts again and again. I found the fact that she had no love interest very nice as well, similar to Frozen’s Elsa. I have to say, there were many similarities between Moana and Mulan – the fact that they both ran away to save their family from danger, a funny companion, saving the world by herself – it felt a little like a high five to previous female Disney heroes. It was great that although she didn’t do much physical fighting, it was usually Moana herself who got Maui (The Rock) and herself out of trouble.The movie’s climax was very clever and beautifully done. It was very interesting that the beast which was meant to be their biggest obstacle ended up being the very thing that they needed to save. I personally loved the fact that there essentially was no big face off, instead it was about peace and balance.

On the other hand, there are some aspects of the film that were a little cheesy: The first being the fighting coconuts, the scene itself wasn’t very long but in my opinion it was really stupid and pointless and there was no logic to it that I could see. It could be said that it was for comedy value, but for me personally it wasn’t funny either. I also found the scene near the end of the film with the spirit of Moana’s grandmother a little too cringe-worthy. I understand that our hero needed some sort of catalyst to carry on with her journey, but I personally think it could’ve been done in a way that was a little less… predictable. That being said, I did draw parallels with that scene with the spirit of Mufasa from the Lion King – both of them getting advice from deceased family members.

Overall, In comparison with previous Disney works I truly think it was better than Disney’s Zootopia. I think it was a great movie, with a great hero and a fun and meaning story, and the soundtrack for this movie was the best Disney has produced for recent years; making Moana a real must-watch.

Star Rating: ****