Here, There be a Writer

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Moana: A Brief Review!

There are few movies that strike a chord within me, especially in Disney movies, in such a way that I am happy to live on this planet. Okay, that's a strange statement, yes. First, it's not that I don't love Disney movies, but after watching Moana, I felt a surge of pride that the stories they are telling are worthy to tell.

Maui and Moana
See I grew up with Disney movies. There were the ones that I was constantly watching, like Robin Hood, The Jungle Book, Dumbo, and Cinderella. These are the stories of my youth, but they were the most powerful told stories. This isn't a slam against the animators on these movies. They were good movies, but there came a time when you wanted something powerful. It wasn't until Beauty and the Beast, that came out in 1991, that I saw Disney trying to tell stories with a purpose. The Little Mermaid was a fantastic movie and is the beginning of what many have dubbed 'The Disney Renaissance', but it wasn't until Beauty and the Beast that something sparked.

Not every modern Disney sparks my soul and promotes strong feminine roll models, or tell a thrilling and/or beauty story, but recently Disney has found it's stride. Brave, a story about a strong willed girl and her mother and finding yourself (not really a love story), Frozen, a story about sisterly love more than romantic love, and finding yourself, and now, Moana, a story of finding your place and not falling into the rolls that have been carved out for us, thus, finding yourself. These are stories that I love, and that I want my nieces and all children to have access to. They are also becoming strong contenders to be called the new classics (at least in my universe).

In the last few years there has been more stories featuring stories and legends from different cultures. I think that is great! The Grimm's fairy tales, of olden days are find, but that it is important to see the story that shape ALL of us. This is a main reason that Moana has become my new favourite story.

Moana, the stories of a pacific islander girl, who challenges her world and defies the rules by traveling across the barrier reef, searching for Maui, the demi-god who stole the heart of Tafiti (the mother goddess that created all of the lands of the ocean), and therefore began to tear the world apart. Moana, has to brave the dangers of the open sea and those within herself to reunite Tafiti with her heart. Kinda a dual life lesson there, eh Disney?

And then you have music written by Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton, a American Musical. Music in a movie can make a story more profound, and the song, We Know the Way, is about as profound as you can get, telling the story of Moana's heritage and her peoples travels to discover new lands; and there's How Far I'll Go, sung by Moana, yearning for something more, feeling just a little out of place, much is the way that Belle (Reprise) calls out Belle's desire for something greater.

How Far I'll Go

I've been standing at the edge of the water
Long as I can remember
Never really knowing why
I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water
No matter how hard I try...

I can talk about each of these songs and great length, but the point is that the songwriters knew what they were doing in building a story with music and words, from the love of a Gramma Tala to her granddaughter, and your pride within yourself, Moana to her people. Even the Shiny song, with the David Bowie-esque Crab pulls at your core. Although, it is less about personal growth and just a bad ass song.

Moana is a worthy addition to the Disney pantheon, and is definitely NOT A PRINCESS! She is a girl, designed to look like a girl, and voiced/sung by an ACTUAL 16 year old Hawaiian teenager. There are so many things that Disney got right. Also, Hei-Hei the chicken is voiced by Alan Tudyk (from Firefly). Hear the fan girl/fan boy squeeing (you're welcome, Sara)!!

If you get a chance to see Moana, please do. It is worth the watch!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave me a note: