Movie Review – Moana

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Moana This is a beautifully crafted animated work from Disney – the care and attention really shows. Everything in the scenery is stunning, and will make you long to live in the sun on these beautiful tropical islands.

The story itself is a bit simplistic and drags in parts. It does take about an hour before we even leave the home island and meet Maui, enjoyably embraced by the Rock (Dwayne Johnson). Everything in this tale is fairly predictable.

But honestly, the audience didn’t seem to care. The theater was packed, and there were equal amounts of children, preteens, teens and young adults. Everyone laughed, clapped, danced to the fun musical hits, and cried rivers when sad things happened. I’ve never seen an audience so involved in a movie. That really impressed me.

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The young lady next to me cried and snuffled and laughed and cheered through the whole thing, and when it was over, I heard her telling her friend (while still crying), “It was so good. It was so good.” Her friend replied, “It was so beautiful; I loved it so much.” The movie was relatable and stirring to these girls, who were well into their teens. During the credits, a bunch of young people went up to the front of the screen to dance to the music and shake their stuff. There was so much goodwill. Little children were singing along, and dancing in their mothers’ laps. It was more like a party than a movie showing. 🙂

There are three really good song numbers, and I made sure the Peetimes don’t overlap any of those. One is the bright and amusing You’re Welcome, by the Rock (singing about how awesome he is, which is just as cute at it sounds), and another is the the hero anthem How Far I’ll Go – a beautifully stirring song with well-used refrains. But the real show stopper is Shiny, sung by a monstrous crab who ISN’T Sebastian from The Little Mermaid (he gets in a nice little dig about that, if you stay for the after credits stinger).

I highly recommend taking the kids to this in the theaters, and I especially recommend grandmothers taking their grandkids to it (you’ll appreciate why, once you see it). I didn’t see this in 3D (it is hard to get Peetimes in that format), but I really think the movie will be even more visually glorious in the 3D setting. It already feels like a relaxing trip to the tropics.

I anticipate this getting endless replays once the movie hits DVD. That’s a good thing. There is a great eco-cultural-awareness vibe, and the characters are lively. People have real body types too, which is a welcome departure from the usual Disney princess film. The potty humor is low-key, but enough to get big laughs out of everyone (peeing in the ocean jokes, mainly). The astoundingly stupid chicken is adorable (here is a sidekick that actually isn’t like a wee person in animal form – it really is just a super dumb little bird. It cracked me up).

And the notable thing to appreciate in the story of Moana herself is that she grows as a person…without a single romantic interest. At all. That’s a great step for Disney, and I can’t wait to see a ton of little girls emulate this sunny, smart, strong, and self-assured heroine.

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes:

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Moana. (What we mean by Anything Extra)

Tags: movie review,Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Movie release date: 2016-11-23

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