|Image courtesy of movies.disney.com|
What's in it for the Kids?
This movie does what Disney does best - sing songs, in a child-friendly plot, with a handful of charming characters little ones will love. Moana is being prepared to take over as the eventual leader of her people, but is drawn to the sea, despite her father's warnings (pretty typical Disney source of conflict). When she must save her people by going on a seaward quest, and force the trickster demi-god Maui to return what he had stolen many years ago, she learns a lot about her personal strength and abilities. Comic relief was provided throughout the film by chicken Hey Hey, who Jack found absolutely hilarious, while Molly related more to story lead Moana.
What's in it for the Adults?
The animation for this movie provides a lush and pretty landscape to admire. The film contains some pretty fun, and authentic voice talents for lead roles. Anyone who enjoyed Flight of the Conchords is sure to get a laugh or two out of Jemaine Clement's David Bowie(esque) song and persona as Tamatoa. Dwayne Johnson is fantastic as the arrogant, yet oddly charming Maui. I particularly loved the strong female influence throughout the generations in Moana's life, and the support she received from her mother and grandmother.
Best Parts of the Movie
Finally, a Disney movie with no romantic love story. No prince saving the day, no kisses, just a leader learning how to lead, period. This change to the Disney formula made a pretty typical hero story feel a lot less tired, and a lot more authentic to it's intended girl power messaging.
Worst Parts of the Movie
The story is pretty predictable, and although Moana isn't technically a princess (she's the daughter of the Chief) it's still a pretty cliched story about a princess (with an animal sidekick) who must overcome challenges to find herself and save the day. The movie received a PG rating for some "villains" who may seem scary to really young children (although at five neither Molly or Jack had an issue with being scared during the film, there were a couple of younger kids who were crying during a specific conflict scene). Despite this being a good film, most of the songs didn't carry the same memorable oomph Disney is known for (I can assure you, the next Let it Go is not hiding in this film).
I would rate this movie 4/5. It's watchable and re-watchable for kids and I know that we'll purchase it when it comes out for sale. I liked that the women in this movie were strong and capable, both physically and spiritually and the message this sends to both kids.
To read about the minions journey into the world of Star Wars click here.