So I’ve seen Moana twice now. I have to admit that the first time I wasn’t so sure what to think. Was it going to be the next Frozen? I was wishy-washy. It was a Tuesday night; other things were on my mind. I was distracted.
Then Saturday came and I saw it a second time. The theater was not overcrowded (it was Saturday morning after all) and I was able to sit back, relax and actually enjoy some movie time with my family. In this case, second time was the charm.
Let’s start with the short. Continuing their great tradition of starting with a short cartoon, Moana opened with Inner Workings. Inner Workings tells the story of Paul, showing the struggle all of us go through every day as we balance the logical and pragmatic demands of life and work (our brain) with our desire to live life (our heart). In a hand drawn style, Inner Workings is kind of retro but I totally loved it. On second viewing I think I even teared up a little more than the first time. Yes, I cried both times.
Now let’s move on to the main event, Moana. Moana is the story of a Polynesian Princess (singing, animal sidekick, she’s a princess. See the movie, you’ll get the joke) who must leave her island paradise home to go find Maui. Maui is the mischievous demigod who stole the heart of Te Fiti (the mother island goddess) and lost his magical fish hook in the process a thousand years ago. As darkness slowly spreads, and finally starts to arrive at Moana’s island, she must venture beyond the safety of their reef to find Maui and deliver him to Te Fiti to restore her heart.
First off, I’m not going to lie. I’m enjoying the fact that (slowly) the Disney princesses are finally catching up with the times and providing some decent role models. This was evident after the movie as my daughter kept asking me if she could go out over the ocean and have an adventure on her own. That may be a little impractical now, since she’s seven and has never been on a sailboat in her life, but I love the attitude and spirit it showed. Yes, Moana inspired my daughter. I’m a fan.
Second, I found myself and my daughter and the hubby humming along and moving our feet to the music. Yes, Dwayne Johnson killed it with “You’re Welcome.” And with a score written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina, you would be hard pressed to not find the music sticking in your head on replay.
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/79DijItQXMM
Third, most of the time when I see a movie that brings me to tears, it’s only the first time I see the movie. It’s rare that I will cry even the second time I watch a movie. Moana has the distinction of being added to the very short list of movies that do that to me (and no, it’s not because someone dies). Moana as a character and a movie is very well done, and my daughter is already asking when we can go see it again. And I’m perfectly willing to go take her.
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MOANA is NOW PLAYING in theaters EVERYWHERE!
Disclaimer: I received complimentary entry to a pre-screening of MOANA to facilitate this review. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still my own. Photos and video courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.