Moana Makes a Big Splash


Photo credit: Kelly Chang

AMC promotes Moana with life-size movie display.

Kelly Chang, Staff Writer

Since the release of Frozen, avid fans have been awaiting the next Disney princess. On October 20, 2014, Disney announced their newest addition to their line of royalty: Moana. The trailers and promotions released by Disney have fans excited to see what the new film brings.

This film features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho as Maui and Moana, the two heroes of the adventure. Moana is a particularly special film. Not only did Disney open casting calls to the public, but Moana is also one of Disney’s “anti-princesses,” meaning that she bears no love interest; rather, she seeks only to find herself and make her own way in the world.

The story, set approximately 2000 years ago, follows Moana , the daughter of a tribal chief, and her journey to save her people. The film begins with the tale of Maui, a Polynesian demigod, who has stolen an ancient gemstone: the heart of the goddess Te Fiti, whose powers are the source of all life. Maui’s actions reduce the surrounding islands to crumbling waste. As Moana grows up, her island home, Motunui, begins to perish. Against her father’s will, she embarks on a journey to find Maui and restore the heart of Te Fiti.

The movie has received mixed reactions. While many fans have already marked Moana as their new favorite Disney movie, others are finding the plot questionable. The film seems to fall short of the dangerous obstacles the pair must face. While some dangers seem random and unnecessary, other perils are made to sound much more treacherous than they actually are. In addition, the timing of the music is off.

“The soundtrack was, in part, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and starred in Hamilton the musical, and it was incredible! [I] definitely would recommend!” said senior Abigail Petrotta.

Although the songs are catchy and enjoyable (Hamilton fans will appreciate), and the voice actors do an amazing job performing each number, sometimes the placement of particular songs does not match the mood of the film. One moment the situation seems desperate as the heroes are facing danger, and in the next moment, the villain is singing a happy song about himself.

Where the plot falls short, Disney makes up with the characters and the humor in the film. The audience will immediately fall in love with Moana’s spunky, adventurous spirit. Her constant banter with the ever-hilarious Maui charms viewers, but the funniest character by far is Gramma Tala. As the “village crazy lady,” Gramma Tala graces the screen with her attitude and wisdom, helping Moana on her journey to find out who she is and how she can help her people.

“I absolutely loved the crazy grandmother and the humor throughout the whole movie,” said senior Ashley Bomireto.

Although Moana may takes some odd plot turns, the film is still worth seeing at least once. The film hit theaters on November 23 and is currently playing at AMC Theaters and Emagine.