Moana (Ron Clements, John Musker, 2016): USA

Reviewed by Tilda Sorvari. Viewed at AFI Film fest 2016.

Disney did it again! They’ve created a strong female character for children to look up to and see as a role model. Moana (2016) along with The princess and the Frog (2009) and The little Mermaid (1989) is just a name of a few incredible animated Disney movies created by no other then Ron Clements together with of course a group of very talented film makers, just like Don Hall. Together they’ve succeeded to once again embrace and raise minority to a powerful leading position.

Moana played by Auli’i Carvalho is a Polynesian princess who’s been chosen by the ocean to restore the heart of a fabled island to save her land and people. She takes the difficult quest and heads out at sea where she first picks up the demigod Maui, played by Dwayne Johnson. Together they sail not only thru storms but encounter coconut-pirates and other beasts who tries to stop them from reaching the fabled island.

I am so happy that this movie has come out at this time. Couldn’t have been any later. Could have been earlier though! But better now than never. I think it’s very important that children, teenagers and adults can see a strong and empowered woman, being independent and just a badass leader. Even though it’s a animated Disney movie I hope it’s going to have an impact on people. It definitely had an impact on me.

I love the animation and the storyline. Well thought thru and edit. It was to me story within a story. Yes, Moana were on a physical journey across the sea but she was also on a journey in herself. This was her first time going outside of the reef, not knowing what would happen to her. It’s a journey about finding out who she is and it’s amazing how we get to follow her emotional rollercoaster. My favorite thing about this movie is the soundtrack. The songs are written and composed by Grammy awarded Lin-Manuel Miranda. Although what I absolutely love about the soundtrack is the spiritual Polynesian jingle that reminds me of the “Transformation” soundtrack by the Bulgarian women choir from  Brother Bear (2003). I’m a sucker for beautiful music and this warm energy spreads whenever that soundtrack comes on.

Even if you don’t watch children’s movies I strongly recommend you watching Moana. The animation is great, it’s funny and easygoing but it also has more layers of depth to the storyline.

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