Moana Screen 4 articles

Moana

2016

Moana Poster
  • All of these affirmational bromides are a regrettable staple of the late Disney corpus, and while they coincide nicely with the recent boom in self-proclaimed ‘empowerment ballads’, they do little to actually raise the spirits. . . . Disney addicts (they exist!) will be satisfied, and the film is, overall, harmless. But for all the technical skill on display, this feels as inessential and disposable as any Shrek or Ice Age, only with ostensibly loftier pretensions.

  • Lyrically, the songs largely consist of the usual anthems about self-actualization, but they vibrantly draw from Samoan and Maori musical history, incorporating tribal dance rhythms into the orchestration. This is the finest collection of songs for a Disney film since Howard Ashman’s run with the studio, and it’s fitting that they should score the most elegant animated feature that the company has released in years.

  • The narrative is a fairly predictable hero's journey—Maui even calls her "The Chosen One"—but the movie is refreshing for its lack of a love interest; instead Moana learns how to chart her own course. Dynamic CGI and robust songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton further enhance the experience.

  • Maybe it was the agitated, election-induced state of mind I was in when I saw it, but Disney’s Moana feels like a movie about how easy it can be to give up, and how important it is not to. It’s funny, joyful, and sweet, and yet down below, running beneath everything, is a sad counter-narrative about how the world always throws obstacles in your way, and how you _could_ just turn your back and retreat.

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