Moana movie poster

Midway through, disgraced demigod Maui calls spunky quest-taker Moana a princess. She objects by noting that she’s actually a chief’s daughter, but he’ll have none of it: “You’re wearing a skirt, and you’ve got an animal sidekick — you’re a princess.” At another point, he warns her that if she breaks into song, he’ll throw up. This is Disney’s way of having its formulaic cake and eating it, too: “We know what we’re doing here, and we know that you know it, too. So please stop fretting and enjoy while the pieces fall into place.” Many of those pieces are deeply familiar for Disney fans, if not necessarily for Disney princesses : the musical introduction to the sheltered world of home, set against the sung longing for adventure (Beauty and the Beast), the rigid dad and campily evil undersea bad guy (The Little Mermaid), the unwelcome responsibility of rule (The Lion King), the jocular, magical assistant with dreams of his own (Aladdin)…heck, even the glorious finish is borrowed from Fantasia 2000. But more will be made, no doubt, of the familiar piece that never appears — the love interest — and the fact that no one at home bats an eye over the prospect of their first woman chief. Because in the absence of memorable songs, a great villain (demon coconuts?), story variation, happily-ever-after romance, or a character arc that extends beyond fully accepting your status as the chosen one, such things become what’s left for the heart to hold on to. John Musker and Ron Clements direct. 2016.

Matthew Lickona

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Comments

Chuckfinlay Dec. 2, 2016 @ 1 a.m.

Or or you could just be someone that hates brown people? Frankly you're full of shit! Moana has many memorable songs the fact that I can remember any of them speak to your IQ rather than the film. Also you take about formulas but according becuase the movie did follow your formula it wasn't any good? If I didn't make yet clear earlier ur full of crap and so is your article

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DavidTheGmone Dec. 2, 2016 @ 9:33 a.m.

Hold up, hold up!!! I am a person of color and I agree with this review! This film wasn't a masterpiece and shouldn't be treated as one! It has nothing at all to do with the skin color of the characters and frankly I'm sick and tired of people using the race card on practically everything! This is very likely the reason this film has been overly praised even though it isn't at all original! Critics are likely frightened of being called a racist for just telling the god damn truth!

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DavidTheGmone Dec. 2, 2016 @ 9:39 a.m.

Sir I appreciate you giving a honest review on this film! I've read countless other reviews from critics repeating over and over that this isn't original and it isn't Disney's best! Yet they continue to give it high marks anyway! I think it's shameful and completely disrespectful to other films that are just as good or better but have been met with much more judgement! Over all mediums of film making. This same issue happened earlier this year with Kubo and the two strings, another snoozer that felt like I was watching a art student finial exam project.

Don't allow that racist twat frighten you! I'm a mixed race person of color myself, have seen this film, and agree 100% with everything you said!

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cdfish Dec. 4, 2016 @ 6 p.m.

I agree with this reviewer. I'm a person of color as well and have to admit that Moana wasn't as strong as some of the Disney animated movies of the Golden Age (Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, et al) for the reasons that the reviewer offered. However, it is FAR from being a flop. Moana is rightly praised to the degree that it is right now because of its amazingly strong female heroine (Auil'i Cravalho is someone we should be looking out for in the near future) and for the palpable presence of Pacific Islander culture that the film was able to embody. That's a quality where Disney has failed over and over again until now. Chinese culture and mythology in Mulan, in particular, was an offensive joke.

I'd definitely rewatch this film some day (the music is awesome), but I probably wouldn't be moved to see it in theaters again.

But wow. You thought Kubo was a snoozer? You're crazy haha.

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