'Moana:' The Good, The Bad, And The Could Be Better
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'Moana:' The Good, The Bad, And The Could Be Better

Could Disney's 56th animated film rival 'Frozen?'

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'Moana:' The Good, The Bad, And The Could Be Better
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In its premiere weekend, Disney’s newest film "Moana" smashed the box office, grossing an estimated $56,000,000 and rising to the number one spot. With Disney teasing the film for so long, this Odyssey creator had to go see what all the hype was about. First spoiler... Moana lived up to it all. While this film is great, of course no movie is perfect, so here is the bad, the good, and the could be better for Disney’s newest creation.

The Plot

The film begins with Moana’s grandmother telling the toddler and tribe members the story of Maui, a demigod, who stole the heart of a goddess which was causing the destruction of lands across the sea. Baby Moana then wanders off to the shore of the island on which they live and is drawn into the water after a shell. The water moves around her but does not actually touch her, and she is shown a path to the heart (a green stone) that was described in her grandmother’s story. Before she can retrieve the heart, Moana is picked up by her father, the chief, and scolded for being on the shore alone. Soon after a song breaks out and as it goes on Moana grows with passing years before the audience’s eyes. All through her childhood Moana is drawn to the ocean, she fights with her dad about it a few times, until her grandmother reveals to her the stone that is the heart of the goddess and sends Moana on a mission to find Maui and bring him to the goddess to return her heart and in turn save their own island from dying. Then the real adventure begins as Moana figures out how to sail, gets Maui, they fight a giant hermit crab for Maui’s special hook. When they get to the island there is a volcano monster that puts a crack in Maui’s hook this causes the new partners get in a fight, Moana is visited by the spirit of her grandmother who gives her the confidence to go against the volcano monster again. Then Moana goes to the volcano monster and gets to the island that the goddess should be at, with the help of Maui who returns, only to realize the volcano monster is the goddess in a new form because of her missing heart. Moana gives the heart to the monster and it transforms back into the goddess who restores everything. Moana and Maui part ways, Moana returns to her island and leads her people to become voyages like their ancestors had been.

The Bad

The battle with the giant hermit crab got pretty weird. The song during it is not one I will be playing in my car and concerning the color scheme that appeared my one friend- who has never touched a drug in her life- remarked, “This might be cool if you were on acid”. We weren’t on acid, so it was not cool, it was a bit unsettling instead.

To be honest, the film got pretty creepy at the end when Moana presents the heart to the monster. The volcano creature is black and smoking with a really ghoulish face and it runs at Moana. I am concerned that younger viewers may get a spooky nightmare after that scene and am surprised I haven’t experienced any myself. I kid you not.

The Good

First off Moana’s eyebrows are gorgeous! Overall, she is gorgeous! Simple enough, the Disney design team did a fantastic job with the animations.

The film was also perfectly sprinkled with more higher-level jokes and references. A perfect example is when Maui calls Moana a princess and she disagrees. His response to her defiance was “you wear a skirt and have an animal sidekick, therefore you are a princess”. I’m still trying to think of a strong example of a princess who does not fit these two characteristics, all I have is Jasmine (Aladdin) because she technically wears pants and Anna (Frozen) because her sidekick is a snowman, but I feel both are kind of arguable.

Something I think is possibly unique in Moana, for a Disney film, is the complete absence of a romantic love interest. In Cinderella there is Prince Charming, in Tangled Flynn Rider, even in Toy Story there is Bo Peep. But in Moana, there is no one, and I think this is great because it only would have distracted from the story and the film’s real message.

And for what I personally think is the best part of Moana, the song! I hands down think “How far I’ll Go” blows Frozen’s “Let it Go” out of the water! I bought both the film and Alessia Carra versions in the car on the way home from the movie theater. The tune is nice, the message is inspirational, and the feeling you get while listening to it is sensational. Unfortunately, I do not think it will get as big as “Let it Go” because it will not be able to inspire the amount of parodies Frozen’s hit song did.

The Could Be Better

I’m going to be a bit whiny first, I was hoping for a little more screen time for the pig. In all the pictures and previews you see Moana’s cute little pet pig Pua, you can even buy a plush one, but he has minimal screen time. Yes, HeiHei the chicken is funny and adds in some slapstick comedy to the film, but there was a lot of hype for this pig and I was pretty disappointed when he didn’t make it onto the boat.

Maybe I’m a little biased, but I appreciated the incorporation of tattoos into the film. Tribe members are shown getting inked, Maui’s tattoo is practically a supporting character and Moana’s grandmother discusses having meaning behind hers. A deal is made over the grandma’s tattoo and it’s meaning and then the tattoo concept is dropped from the plot. I feel it could be better if maybe after her adventure Moana is shown with her first tattoo with some kind of symbolism for what she had just accomplished.

The last thing i think could be better about this film is the ambiguity about Moana’s age.Honestly though how old is she? At one point Maui says she is eight and Moana does not fight him on it, but she is clearly not eight years old. She can’t be eight, the audience is mostly eight. So I feel that the movie could be better if it did not have that exchange at all because it raises the question of how old Moana is takes away from the film because then you’re sitting there just trying to figure it out.

After some research, a number of articles pin Moana at 16 years old. As a personal note, I would like to say that I feel it is important that the Disney princesses are older than their intended audiences. Otherwise the kids sit there like “look what she’s doing at eight, I’m eight, what am I doing” or is that only something you do in your early 20s? I also feel it is important for them to be older than the intended audience because gives the kids someone to not only admire, but look up to, someone the want to grow up and be like. Overall, I am sad to admit that I do not think Moana will be next Frozen. The world is still coming off from Disney’s last smash hit, the soundtrack as a whole is not as great, it can’t spark as many parodies, and arguably does not have as universal of a message. But I would be more than pleasantly surprised if it was

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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