Review: Moana (2016 movie)

Moana, the daughter of the village chief, has always felt the call of the ocean even though she’s forbidden to travel beyond the reef. When the island’s resource start running low, Moana knows she must do something to help her people. Legends tell that a great darkness has been taking over the world since the demigod Maui stole the heart of the goddess Te Fiti. But if these legends are true, where is Maui… and where is the heart?


Moana wants to feel at home on her island and she wants to lead her people into a secure future, but something inside her is telling her otherwise. The ocean is so vast and beautiful, and despite her parents’ best efforts, she always find herself returning to the shore.

One day, the fishers tell the chief and Moana and they’re not getting any fish no matter where they try. Coconuts are rotting and crops are failing, and there seems to be no reason for it. But Moana remembers the old legends. When Maui stole Te Fiti’s heart, she was in so much pain that she gave birth to a darkness that spread over the ocean. If the heart was returned, the darkness would fade and Moana’s island would be healthy once more.

Her parents don’t want her — or anyone else — to go beyond the reef but Moana’s made up her mind. She’s going to find Maui and take him all across the ocean to return the heart and to save her people. But first, she must find Maui…

I loved this movie. I’m a Disney fan and if you’ve checked my reviews for Zootropolis and Inside Out, you can probably guess my rating for this one. But let’s see where that rating comes from.

First of all, the amazing graphics. I’ll always love the traditionally animated films and they hold a special place in my heart, but Disney has been doing a wonderful job with their new methods as well. They’ve kept their character design “cartoonish” but the environments are stunning. The ocean really looks like the ocean and the hair — oh the hair! — on the characters looks so real and soft I just want to reach forward and touch it.

Then there’s the music. This movie features great original songs that’ll get stuck in your head for ages. They’re powerful, have meaning and move the story forward, so they’re exactly what I’m looking for in Disney-songs. So be prepared for an addition or two to your karaoke routine.

And, of course, the story and characters. I’m unfortunately not familiar with the original story but Moana is based on a real legend about Maui. It’s always interesting to learn about the beliefs and legends of other cultures, and at least to me Disney managed to bring this one alive. Moana was the perfect protagonist because she wasn’t perfect. She wanted to do the right thing to help her people but she also knew when to keep her head.

If you’re a fan of Disney animations, you’ll be a fan of this one. You’ll get songs stuck in your head. You’ll want to take a dip in the ocean. Do you need more reasons?



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