A Review: Moana – Disney’s newest triumph

In "Moana," Walt Disney Animation Studios' upcoming big-screen adventure, a spirited teenager named Moana (left) sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder. Along the way, she meets once-mighty demi-god Maui (right). Featuring Native Hawaiian newcomer Auli'i Cravalho as the voice of Moana, and Dwayne Johnson as the voice of Maui, "Moana" sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Moana is the newest arrival to the Disney’s Princess gang, and it is here so move aside Elsa and your white, overly neat, blonde hair. Do not get me wrong I am a super fan of Frozen before I receive the anger from Frozen/Disney-lovers out there as believe me, all Disney is wonderful, and I love it despite being in my twenties. But no amount of ‘Let it Go’s or cute ‘Sven the Reindeer’s can make me as happy as this stunningly beautiful animated Oceania phenomenon, with something that needs to be encouraged in cartoons everywhere: a princess of colour.

Moana, Disney’s first Polynesian Princess, or should I say “future Island Chief”, is what we feminists have truly been away for as she is curvy, clumsy, entirely human, her hair is a gorgeous curly mess, and there isn’t even a whiff of romance in the entire film.

Voiced by newbie Auli’i Carvalho, the film is as magical as one would think from watching the trailers. As a brief summary of the film, we see Moana using her love for the sea to save her family and her island from the devastation of the lava demon Te Kā with the help of shape-shifting, demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson). She is helped by in many ways by Maui, due to gaps in her knowledge due to the rules her father Chief Tui Waialiki (Temuera Morrison) imposed on her from babyhood, due to the loss of his beloved childhood friend who drowned. But really ultimately, and not to give away too much, it is a strong, 14-year old Moana who saves the island/her family/her ancient culture, not the muscly, male demigod. Halleloo!

There are elements of the film that are more classical Disney than other films recently released, and if you don’t fancy it for anything else, please just listen to the soundtrack, which provides you a catchy, vibrant mesh of Disney with the wonderful sounds of the south-east Pacific with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opertaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina.

Aside from all these things, the character of Gramma Tala Waialiki (Rachel House) is a treasure to the film and gives me life, in a way that reminds me ever so slightly of Grandmother Willow and the comforting eccentricity that everyone loves in their own grandmothers. And if you love animals, there’s a darling baby pig and a strange, cross-eyed chicken acting as the staple roles of the Princess’s furry companions as what is a Disney film without the bizarre companionship between human and animal? (Though I cannot say anything as my life revolves around Scandal and my dogs currently… I must be a disney princess, obvs.)

Anyhow, the film is amusing, the film is stunning, the film is going to probably make you cry, and it will not disappoint. So this Christmas, I truly recommend you wrap up warm, venture into the cold and go see it now.

Gifs & Featured Image//: tumblr

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