MOANA | Movie Review

"You will learn great things, but first you must learn where you are meant to be."
- Chief Tui

Walt Disney Animation Studios has done it again by bringing us Moana, a princess like no other. Moana is a sweeping, CG-animated musical fantasy adventure film about the heir of a chief on a small Polynesian island and is chosen by the ocean to find a demigod and return the heart of an island goddess and stop the curse from a thousand years ago that has started spreading on their island.

Unlike all the other Disney Princesses that we love, Moana is a shortish teenager with a fully rounded character with an idealized yet likely body and flaws that she recognizes and fights as she embarks on a journey to find herself and save her island.

She is a distant descendant of voyagers and has always been drawn to the ocean. Ever since she was young, Moana has always been fond of the sea but her father is totally against her hitting the waters. And as the daughter of the village chief on the small island of Motunui, she's expected to lead her people and keep them safe from monsters in the seas told by her peculiar grandma.

They have everything they need and the people are happy. However, after a curse that was set in motion a thousand years ago, their resources started to dwindle but the people of their island are not allowed to venture beyond the reef by Moana's father, Tui. Because of this, Moana has decided to steal a canoe and go beyond the dangerous reef to save her people.

Moana's endeavor to acquire the skills to sail and successfully get past the reef of her home island became the starting point for her learning the art of wayfinding.

The movie's heart is in place and the story is stunning and exciting.  And there's a lot of things to enjoy. Unlike any other Disney Princess' movie, Moana is completely romance free that makes it refreshing. Moana, as the main character or the 'princess' of the movie, strives to save her island instead of looking for  'prince'. It felt like a breath of fresh air.

What can I say? It is an absolute delight and it is well worth seeing! Moana is enjoyable and fun to watch. The story is well crafted and was done in a very tasteful way, with incredibly stunning visuals that features catchy songs and genuinely fantastic animation. It's as fun as I want it to be. The theme as well feels perfectly authentic. It's engrossing and very satisfying.

What I really love about this movie are the songs! The songs are destined to be remarkably beautiful. The story is universal and the lyrics of each song are relatable to anyone. The songs can heavily tell you what the story is all about. The songs are a reflection of the characters singing them. Most of them are catchy and emotionally inspirational. Moana's personal theme of "How Far I'll Go" has great lyrics and some melodic turns especially as it builds.

And the casting is great as well! As Dwayne Johnson portrays the demigod, Maui, the movie itself becomes an instant goddess! Moana herself is a great character, very inspiring and has an understandable personality. She's feisty but still clumsy, empowered but still filled with doubts, independent but considerate of others.

Auli'i Cravalho voices Moana and without a doubt, she did a terrific job with her amazing vocals. I also want to commend her on how  she was able to convey the emotion through her vocal performance. I am highly impressed.

On the other part, Maui is very bouncy, eccentric and egotistical. And who would have thought that Dwayne Johnson's boundless charisma can be amazingly channeled to this guy? And who knew he could sing? He sure knows how to surprise his fans.

Overall, the voice acting of Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson was undeniably excellent.

Moana is a spectacular movie. It is a vibrant, joyful film with great music, great plot, and characters that made me laugh, cry and entertained. It's highly enjoyable with some great life lessons. And it has a conclusion that will have your heart singing at the end.

I encourage you to go see it. It is an exceptional movie and you are going to love it!

(You might also want to check out my movie review for the animated film, Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa). You can also check out some romantic movies that you might want to watch on a weekend.


  1. Thank you for posting this review! The movie looks really great and I definitely want to go see it now!



  2. My family went to see this about a week after it came out. So we avoided the crowd which is always nice. We all loved it. It was beautifully written and I loved the bright, vivid colors. Throwing in a love scene is not always necessary maybe this will be a trend.

  3. My 5 year old has been wanting to see this ever since we saw a preview. I'm so glad to see a review as I never know what she's going to be too young for or what she might like, thanks!

  4. I've seen so many awesome reviews on this movie. It's killing me! I want to go see it so bad. Haha. Awesome post!


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