Last night, my family had a fun opportunity to see Disney’s new CG-animated feature film, Moana. Yes, two days before the official release and on a school night. That must make me a cool mom, right? We watched the movie in 3D which made many of the ocean scenes breathtakingly beautiful.
Moana is named by the main character, a girl who is next in line to become the chief of her village. She has a love for the ocean, but her father has forbidden everyone from leaving the island beyond the reef. As her island begins to lose precious resources, Moana is called to a daring journey to save her people, against her father’s wishes. She must take Maui, a mighty demigod with her to restore the heart of TeFiti and save her island from darkness. You can imagine what happens next is a great adventure.
In typical Disney fashion, Moana has adventure, humorous characters, heroes and villains. Moana’s struggle with staying true to her calling vs trying to please her parents gave us a great conversation after watching the film.
The music of Moana is catchy and central to the story. Just like the clothing, the songs are based on Pacific Island traditions and drumming. There are many elements that were carefully researched in order to honor the culture and setting of this movie. Of course this is an animated film, not a documentary, but the filmmakers took this task seriously in traveling and researching traditions. They changed the look of Maui for example after speaking with people who have researched this legendary demigod extensively.
Moana will be a fun family movie to see over the holiday season. There are a few scary parts but nothing out of the ordinary for Disney animated films (think Zootopia or Frozen, very similar in intensity). There will be great talking points about doing the right thing, being brave and following ones destiny. Our family was excited to see a new Disney Princess of color and of course we like that she is brave and determined.
A note to adoptive and foster parents: Maui, a central character of the story has many tattoos that have appeared to symbolize significant events of his life. One large tattoo on his back shows a woman throwing a child into the ocean. As Maui tells the story, his parents were “normal” and when they found out he was different, they did not want him and threw him into the ocean. While this is a minor, short part of the film, it’s worth mentioning in case it would be triggering to a child.
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