Movie Review: Moana


Moana (2016)

Genre: Animated, Adventure, Musical

Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson

Rotten Tomatoes: 99% (A bit too high, but if you love animated films, you are going to enjoy this film with few exceptions) (8/10- Perfect)

IMDb: 8.3 of 558 ratings (Feels perfect to me. It may drop some, but this is definitely a quality film.)

The Plot: A young woman with aspirations to travel and seek out new and exciting things must set sail from her island home in search of the demigod known as Maui.

What I Didn’t Like

Not much to hate about this one. It isn’t as heavy as Zootopia (2016) with its themes, but it doesn’t have to be.

The music is above-average without question, but sometimes felt a little forced.

It chooses character development over vast battles and conflict. So people who want an all out showdown may be left wanting more.

What I Did Like:

The visuals are outstanding. Especially the ocean scenery and the capture of the waves. There are moments where you have to do a double take to make sure you are still watching an animated film.  Really outstanding work and you can see Disney getting a bit better every single new film they release.

Moana is an awesome Disney character played by Auli’i Cravalho (She has an amazing voice.) She is complex, but strong. Coming from a unique cultural background and history.  You can see the various dynamics (some very similar to other great Disney films) She belongs in the great pantheon of independent animated women who have come before her.

Dwayne Johnson as Maui was great as well. He really brought out this animated character which is so filled with life and moxie.  Just about everything he did was fun and entertaining. To see his story arc alongside Moana’s was very cool. They complement  one another throughout the film. They fight, then unite, they have different goals and hopes.

The themes and content of the film aren’t new, but they are expressed in a beautiful manner. Sometimes it is the film going experience which makes it worthwhile. As in the beauty of the film making and storytelling is what makes it worth your time. I also enjoyed how this film pokes fun at itself in certain ways, (hint of a spoiler here) it has colorful commentary about Disney princesses and the tropes of the past. I loved that fourth wall breaking aspect to the film.

As for it’s ending, I found it unorthodox , but stunningly beautiful all the same.

Lastly, the music in this film felt authentic and beautiful. A couple of times I felt it awkward, but overall very pleasing.  I’m not sure it has a “Let it Go” quality song in it, but overall song list is far more pleasant Frozen (2013).


Mo’ana once again proves that Disney is still king or queen of animation. The visuals are stunning and detailed. The characters organic and they grow within the movie. Aided by very soothing and inspiring music.  The film has such heart beauty to it, you can forgive some of its little cliches and flaws. It hit all my expectations and may very well surpassed a few.  Moana may not be the deepest, most original film, but it absolutely worth your time and I for one look forward to showing people this film for years to come.

Disney Ladder (Rebirth period and no Pixar)

Zootopia (2016)

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Moana (2016)

Frozen (2013)

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Tangled (2010)

Princess and the Frog (2009)

Bolt (2008)



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