Synopsis: Story of the courageous young South Pacific princess, Moana, and her adventure to save her island. Definitely NOT about the Italian porn actress.
Would you be able to sit through it?: Yes. I would count this Disney feature as one of the better ones for adults. Not counting the Pixar flicks, I like Frozen, Zootopia and most of the other recent ones but this one I liked a lot more for some reason. Maybe it was the heroes’ journey aspect or the humor, which wasn’t “cutesy” like other Disney flicks or perhaps it was the great music by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Any scary/violent parts?: I’d have to say a little. The main villain is basically a living island made out of volcano with ghastly features and made up of flame who constantly throws fire-balls at Moana and Maui. It looks like a demon but I don’t think it will scare the living shit out of the kiddies. (My kids weren’t fazed by it)
Anything that will screw up your kid’s head?: Nope. Although now would be a good time to mention that there was (counting the animated short preceding this) 3 instances of urine jokes. Which I found odd.
Any lessons to be learned?: Take chances! Trust your instincts! Live your life! Learn to sail.
Any really stupid parts that don’t make any sense?: Some. So, Moana’s little island is basically dying because the heart of Te Fiti (a small green magical stone) is missing because demi-god Maui stole it ages ago. Moana finds the stone and wants to restore it back to Te Fiti. She also discovers that her civilization used to be great seafaring voyagers but have settled on this island and are too scared and reluctant to go past the reefs. Without going into spoilery territory, Moana saves the islands from extinction when she restores the stone to Te Fiti making her island and every one in the South Pacific flourish with life again. When she returns to her island in the finale, her tribe then set out again as the great sailing voyagers again to find other islands. But why would they now have to leave their island if it’s healthy and fertile again? They are leaving a perfectly inhabitated island with all their homes and possessions for really no reason.
Another aspect that bugged me (and I know I’m being way too nitpicky here but whatever) was whenever Maui tried to attack the very large volcano monster, Te Ka, he would turn into a hawk (FYI: with his magic fishhook Maui could shape-shift into various animals) and would always get defeated. Later on he turns into a large whale that splashed enough water to stun Te Ka. So I was annoyed that he turned into a small hawk a few times when clearly it wasn’t close to being an effective adversarial animal. Water is Te Ka’s weakness and both Maui and Moana always tried to sail past him instead of going underwater (Maui could’ve turned into any number of aquatic animals and with the stone heart, Moana had a special bond with the ocean that basically gave her special powers—one point it helped her swim very quickly, meaning, they didn’t have to sail past the monster. Just very dumb strategy. OK rant over.
Recommended age: 3. Very easy to follow story plus decent songs and humor, makes this fine flick entertainment for all ages.
Rent it, buy it or avoid it?: Buy. This hasn’t happened to me in a very long time and I can’t remember the last time it even happened, but I still have the main theme song stuck in my head after only hearing it a few times during the movie. I’m not saying it’s the greatest Disney theme song but it’s definitely catchy and very well-sung. I thoroughly enjoyed this picture and could easily see it again and again. The visuals are spectacular for an animated movie set mostly on the sea and like I said the humor wasn’t relied upon “cutesy” to pander to the younglings. In fact, Moana didn’t really have an animal companion. She had a little pig when she was on the island but it didn’t go with her. Only a really stupid chicken was on her boat unbeknownst to her and it never speaks, but acts just like a normal idiot chicken.
Score: 8.5 Jedi Grandmother Ghosts (out of 10)
The Preceding Short: Inner Workings. Story of a lowly office drone named Paul, whose brain, heart, stomach, lungs, and even his bladder and kidneys communicate in reference to his everyday life. His brain is all business and keeping Paul alive and out of trouble but his heart and stomach want to have fun and take risks. While I appreciated the animation and clever story, it was a wee bit odd for younger audiences. For one, it shows Paul taking a piss shortly after he wakes up—c’mon, that’s weird for Disney! It also shows Paul’s brain showing possible outcomes to Paul’s heart’s desires which all constantly lead to Paul’s death. Also kinda morbid for Disney. Ultimately, his sad-sack office life makes him so despondent that he leaves his office and takes all the risks he wanted on the way to work, like swim in the ocean, eat a very fattening breakfast and buy silly sunglasses and he has the best day ever. All without dying!
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