Disney’s latest animated feature “Moana” follows the company’s recent trend in rejecting romance-centered stories. The film also separates itself from other big-budget pieces by casting a Polynesian girl as its main character.
Moana has made more than $25 million as of Nov. 30. It also has an astonishing 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.3/10 on IMDB. The movie features Hawaiian actress Auli’I Cravalho as Moana and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Maui, the demigod.
The movie introduces the audience to an island full of tradition, characters from Pacific islands folklore and a soundtrack that you’ll have on repeat. The animation is beautiful and makes you want to enroll in a marine biology program immediately.
In the movie, Maui calls Moana a princess, which she refutes. He then tells her, “If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.”
She is so much more than that, though. Moana breaks every stereotype that Disney has set for their princesses.
She doesn’t have the figure of the average Barbie doll, and she doesn’t need a man to save her. Her father tries his best to get her to maintain the traditions of their island, but she knows that she is meant to do more.
The theme is similar to Disney’s “Brave.” A young girl embraces who she is and sets out to help her people without falling in love. The lack of a love interest is a refreshing break from the classic Disney romance with Prince Charming waiting around the corner.
Moana has strong ties to family and her ancestors. Her father is the chief of the island and her grandmother is the self-proclaimed village crazy lady.
Moana’s relationship with her family is what keeps her on the island for so long but ultimately is why she knows she must leave. Her mother brings a twist to the beginning of the movie.
While watching Moana, we get to see her gazing out at the ocean in the same way that I imagine Neil Armstrong stared into space. You can feel the magic on the screen, and you know that she is meant for more than just the island. She also knows that in order to save her people and their way of life, she must break their traditions.
Moana has the classic Disney feel that draws you in and makes your chest swell at the magic you witness on the screen. The animation is colorful and comes to life.
Another character that needed no voice to make an impact was the ocean itself. The ocean chose Moana to restore things to how they were supposed to be.