Moana packed a much bigger emotional whallop than I ever imagined it would when I walked into the cinema. There were not twenty consecutive minutes that went by in which I wasn’t crying at some point. That’s not to say that this is a sad movie: it’s simply a powerful movie. Joy, loss, adventure, sorrow – every feeling that is expressed feels concentrated and heightened.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays the demi-god, Maui, and with that kind of star-power you might just expect him to be the biggest draw in the film. Whilst his famous charisma definitely translates with just his voice – although a few of his jokes fell flat – the character of Moana was by far the star of the movie. Duh, her name’s kind of in the title.
Everybody is fond of describing the new Disney heroes as ‘not your typical princess’ but you could say that of any of the protagonists since Aladdin‘s Jasmine in 1992 – and arguments could be made for before even then. Disney are producing complex, relatable, an extraordinary female characters and Moana is a prime example of that. That’s not to say that they don’t sing and have animal sidekicks – they haven’t gone mad.
Speaking of singing, the songs in this film are sublime. It’s the sort of music that you leave the cinema singing – I say that, because as I write this, How Far I’ll Go is playing on repeat in my head. With a mixture of songs in English and Tokelauan, the music creates this beautiful atmosphere where everything seems possible and it fully embraces its Polynesian roots.
Ultimately, Moana is a film that will make you feel good. More than that, it’s a film with a strong message about family, following your heart, and believing in yourself. I implore you to watch it (but take tissues).
Have you seen Moana yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.