Moana sets sail on a journey of self-discovery


Chloe Morbelli, Staff Writer

Disney’s latest movie, Moana, revolves around a Polynesian teenager who is not your typical Disney princess. Adventurous and free-spirited, Moana, the daughter of the island chief, is called by the ocean to sail beyond the reef in search of Maui, demigod of wind and sea, to save her people’s island from death.

Moana is Disney’s first Polynesian princess, and the movie features stunning and realistic visuals of that region. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker are no amateurs when it comes to Disney animation, having directed successes such as Peter Pan, Hercules, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and several others.

Vibrant colors in the crystal clear water, plants, and characters make this film appealing to the eye. Moana is possibly one of the most technically advanced films that Disney has created.

Moana is voiced by Auli’i Cravalho, a 15 year old native Hawaiian. Moana is the first film she has been cast in, and she is the perfect fit for the role. 

Maui, demigod of the wind and sea,  is the other main character of the film. He is played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson’s witty and charming, yet overconfident personality in the film is similar to his roles in other movies such as The Game Plan and Tooth Fairy.

Moana has humor that appeals to not only children, but also adults. Johnson is especially amusing and has a few lines that poke fun at other Disney movies, creating comedy for an older audience. In general, the film has a juvenile sense of humor that appeals to audiences of all ages.

The film’s soundtrack is based around the movie and is not as mainstream as the extremely successful Disney film, Frozen. It has a select few songs likely to become popular such as “How Far I’ll Go” which is sung by Cravalho and pop star Alessia Cara.

The movie touches upon aspects such as self identity, friendship, family, heritage, and materialism, leaving valuable messages for its viewers. Moana is a rebellious, stubborn, intelligent and independent teenager who embarks on a life changing journey to save her people. The four elements play a role in Moana, with water calling and guiding her on this path. One major take away from the film is the importance of self identity; Moana looks to discover who she truly is during her trip.

Overall, I would rate Moana an 8.5/10 and predict it will become a major success in theaters. It is different than other Disney movies yet has the same witty flair that audiences of all ages love. Moana’s journey shares life lessons that are good reminders for all. It is a must-see for all who enjoy a story of adventure and self-discovery.