Review: Full Sail Ahead for Disney’s Moana!


By: Solana Gagliano, Staff Reporter

For centuries, sailors explored the immense oceans of the Earth. But 3,000 years ago, their journeys had mysteriously stopped for a millennium. Walt Disney Animation Studios decided to explain this mysterious phenomenon with their newest movie Moana. Taking place over 2,000 years ago, this is the story of a 16-year-old girl named Moana, an adventurous daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe, who must restore life to their island after a terrible battle.

Te Fiti is an island goddess who formed the islands of Motunui, where Moana and her tribe live. In an effort to gain popularity with the humans, demigod Maui stole Te Fiti’s heart. Maui then encountered the lava demon Te Ka, and during this intense battle the heart of Te Fiti and Maui’s magical fishhook were lost in the depths of the ocean; as a result, the foliage of Motunui died. With the lives of her tribe in her hands, Moana sets sail in an epic adventure to find Maui and restore life to her island.

Disney, staying true to their history of creating diverse and cultural movies, brought many aspects of Polynesian culture into the movie, including a full Polynesian cast. The two main voice actors – Auli’i Cravalho, who plays Moana, and Dwayne Johnson, who plays Maui – both have Samoan roots. The directors and producer even captured the essence of the islands by visiting them to get a feel for the culture and environment.

I personally feel Moana is one of the best movies Disney created in 2016 because of the beautiful cinematography and the breathtaking animations. The music was written by Lin Manuel Miranda, who wrote the famous Broadway musical Hamilton, which only makes the film that much more excellent and creative.

Moana is also very refreshing for its lack of a love interest, which is usually the route many Disney female characters, or princesses, take. Instead, this movie is about finding yourself and who you are as a person. I recommend this to families who have a sense of adventure!