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Disney sails a century back in “Moana”


A series of full-length animated motion pictures swept through over last year ranging from the nostalgic comeback of Pixar’s Finding Dory to a recent Japanese hit Your Name. In the midst of this wave of animations, Disney released its latest film “Moana”, the tale of a 16-year-old Polynesian girl who sets out on a quest to save her homeland.

A meant-to-be explorer, Moana sails out to the sea in order to save her crumbling homeland by trying to restore the Heart of Te Fiti, a stolen magical stone, and meets Maui who appears as a demigod. Despite her father’s warning to stay in bounds of their island of Motunui, Moana throws herself out into the ocean, which had designated Moana ever since she was a child. The movie then follows Moana as she struggles both emotionally and physically to face her venture ahead.

“Moana” is certainly neither an action-packed blockbuster nor a deeply sentimental one, but it is rather a mixture of the two drawn in lovable digital animation. Attempting to offer another meaningful plotline through a new Disney character, directors John Musker and Ron Clements spice up the movie with heartwarming messages about family, home, and respect for the past and future.

The film paints a touching story with stunning visuals, revolving around colorfully tinted landscape sceneries of the animated island, and eye-watering depictions of the azure-blue ocean waves. Although the scenes are all animated with CG, those realistically depicted scenes and the efforts put in behind the technology all deserve a big round of ovation. Moreover, the film includes series of earworm songs that underpins not only the theme of the movie but simply delights the listening ears. Unlike the well-known songs presented from previous Disney movie “Frozen,” songs from “Moana” are fixed on strong and sturdy rhythms that embody the Polynesian culture.

Although such concrete content and mesmerizing animation captivates the audience, the film is not without its flaws. When initially introduced, “Moana” stirred a controversy regarding the character, Maui. According to The Guardians, viewers complained about how Maui was portrayed too big and bulky, essentially giving a misconstrued image of Polynesians in general.

Despite this minor flaw that Disney offered a valid counterargument to, “Moana” still deserves a standing applause for its strikingly picturesque illustrations, novel attempt to introduce a Polynesian female Disney character, and overall quality of content and effects that make up a strong presence in the movie theaters.