Moana (2016) – The Ocean Is Calling

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Writer: Jared Bush

Three years after the overhyped and overrated of “Frozen”, Disney again presented the classic concept of princess movies directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. “Moana” tells about, you guess it, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho). She is a daughter of a tribal chief on a small island, Motunui. Moana, in the Polynesian language, is the “ocean” and has been eager to sail across the ocean since childhood. However, her desire to do so always thwarted by his father, Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison). He thought the sea was dangerous. When she discovered that the island where she lived suddenly fell, she learned about Maui (Dwayne Johnson) the demigod had caused it. Maui has hunted the heart of the goddess, Te Fiti. The only way to be able to fix the island again is to go travel into the ocean together with Maui to look for Fiti’s heart.

This film is based on stories from Polynesian mythology. The impressions beauty of the sea in this film portrayed beautifully through its point of views. There are memorable impressions existed in “The Little Mermaid” the 1989 version. However, what distinguishes both movies is the lack of cliché tropes. The story goes on as Gramma Tala (Rachel House) states that there is a myth on the island. Te Fiti is a goddess who created everything. After her heart was stolen, she became angry and destroyed the island.

This film is very magical because of classic Disney concepts. In addition, this film is no different from the story about a brave princess looking for her destiny and identity. Of course, there is a lot of singing scenes which does not really annoy except for “Frozen” with its “Let It Go” piece. In literary theory, I was told to research this film using the theory of feminism with modern ecocriticism. In fact, this film is more complex than it is. It’s about nature being destroyed, a reality fully controlled by modern people. Just like Maui illustrates as a modern man. Te Fiti is a representation of disasters after humans have destroyed its nature. And Moana is a hero with critical thinking.

“Moana” has a very, very predictable story. However, this film has such a cool yet magnificent animation. There are so many details that are so realistic in its background. The blue sea, white sand, beautiful tropical forest, the audience as if they were in a pure tropical resort in the style of Polynesia. Apart from which, the songs in this film are very pleasing and in accordance with their ethnic mood. There are some songs that did not fit with the scene. Yet, Dwayne Johnson and Auli’I Cravalho are another thumbs up.

The characters and chemistry between Maui and Moana are quite predictable. Most I like the best is Johnson’s Maui character. He is as big as The Rock himself who also has a tattoo. Throughout his body, the tattoo also represents the narrative into a moving image. Sometimes it acts as an introduction to the story but as comic relief as well. But, if you want to find out who the comic relief here actually, just look out on Alan Tudyk’s Heihei. I mean, how could you not laugh with Tudyk cast a chicken? It’s just out of the box and the humor’s placement on such a character never feels ruin anything.

More than that, “Moana” successfully became a Disney inspiring character and did not feel typical of other princess characters. Here, Moana is not Mary Sue or anything because she has parents and home. However, she went to sea to find her true identity, seek experience, and become an adult. In the end, this is a film that uses an oldskool theme that feels fresh.