Review: Moana – a refreshing new princess

Review: Moana – a refreshing new princess

Disney’s most recent masterpiece Moana is a brilliant CGI-animated adventure that successfully pays homage to Polynesian culture through its meticulous characterisation and mythological undercurrent. Chosen by the Ocean, strong-willed Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) leaves the safety of her island to find the once legendary demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and restore peace to the land from the grip of devastating corruption. Surpassing previous films Frozen and Tangled, Moana’s brilliance seems to have been understated by many. Even as the 56th animated feature film from Disney, this fantasy-comedy is most definitely worth watching.

‘Surpassing previous films Frozen and Tangled, Moana’s brilliance seems to have been understated by many’

The mythical plot-line, humorous and engaging, is supported by the remarkable soundtrack created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’I, and Mark Mancina. Featuring copious Polynesian songs and lacking the normal contrivance often found in Disney, the score is an esteemed element. While the tale admittedly bears some resemblance to the cliché of the young girl desperate to escape the confines of her father’s overbearing nature, as previously noted in Disney’s 1889 version of The Little Mermaid, Moana provides a refreshing, imaginative and innovative spin. After decades of beloved yet stereotypical princesses, Moana is independent, resourceful and a brilliant role model for children. Her role as a princess is touched upon, but Moana successfully thwarts previous stereotypes to create a lovable and ingenious heroine. Supported by her eccentric and adorable grandmother, familial love is a central element and thankfully surpasses the once integral romantic attachments of a prince.

‘After decades of beloved yet stereotypical princesses, Moana is independent, resourceful and a brilliant role model for children’

Maui is at first an egocentric, narcissistic companion but swiftly becomes an inseparable friend and teacher. Surprisingly, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson can carry a tune, and effectively inhabits the Disney role. Together they venture forth, and despite his godly gifts of transformation, his character is not overbearing. His character is balanced and human, and manages to not undermine Moana’s heroism. The animation itself is a credit to Disney, every grain of sand and lock of hair is detailed and visually faultless. All in all, if you’ve got some spare time after deadlines, Moana is an advisable investment.

Stephanie Bennett

(Image courtesy of Disney)

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