With spectacular reviews, Moana ranks No. 16 in Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 Movies of 2016. It boasts a cast featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho, who plays protagonist Moana Waialiki, and has songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, known for his Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. Additionally, Disney expands the ethnicities of its main characters with a new heroine of the Polynesian minority.
The movie features Moana, the young daughter of a chief, who sets off on a journey to seek the demigod Maui in order to ask him for help in returning the heart of Te Fiti, the Earth Goddess. Because it was stolen, plants and animals – which are necessary for the survival of the Polynesian people – begin to die.
The theater was packed with an excited audience who were all eager to experience the story of the newest Disney princess. Due to the trailer, I had originally expected that Moana would be an action movie, and because of my high expectations from the reviews, I was disappointed in the beginning. Many of the jokes fell flat, and the dialogue was boring. A man in the theater even fell asleep and began snoring loudly. However, the second half made up for the first, with spectacular action sequences and touching moments.
The movie used stunning graphics and catchy songs. I also enjoyed its message: to know who we are and to embrace it. Overall, I would recommend this for younger audiences, but older viewers may enjoy this movie as well.
Review by Joyce Shea
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars