Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Moana (2016)

Chief Tui and his wife, Sina, are trying to do their best to raise their daughter, Moana.  She’s a curious girl who’s not satisfied with a life limited by the shores of the island she was born on.  She wants to go out beyond the reef, which her father prohibits.  Inside the reef is safe.  Outside the reef is dangerous.  Alas, the water calls to her.  She tries to go out on the water every chance she gets.  Tui and Sina have to think of the safety of the future chief, though.

One day, the island’s food sources dry up in short order.  Coconuts look diseased.  Fish disappear.  If something isn’t done soon, the people will starve.  That’s when Moana’s grandmother reveals something:  Moana’s people were once travelers.  They went from island to island.  Moana knows that she has to go out towards an oddly shaped constellation that leads her to none other than Maui.  (Yes, that Maui.)

Maui has been stranded on an island for a thousand years.  (Since he lost his fishhook, he can‘t change form and leave.)  Moana wants Maui to return the heart of Te Fiti, which he stole.  Maui says this can’t be done without his fishhook, which Moana agrees to help him get.  They then set out to return the heart, which proves much more difficult than either imagined.

It’s somewhat difficult to review a Disney movie.  While they’re enjoyable and aren’t repetitious, you do have some predictability with what’s called the Disney Princess Movie.  You have someone that’s royalty who has a problem.  In Frozen, you have a princess-turned-queen that freezes things.  In Brave, you have a princess that doesn’t want to be married off.  In Moana, you have a princess…er…chief-to-be that wants desperately to get off her island, then has to save her people.

Moana is a little different in that she doesn’t really have a clear love interest.  In other princess movies, the princess either gets married or is worried about who she’ll marry. Instead,  Moana even takes offense at being called a princess.  There‘s no building relationship, here. Moana and Maui have a more friendly relationship.  Maui even teaches Moana how to work a boat.

From what I can tell, Maui loosely fits the legend of the demigod.  He’s known for creating islands.  (In Hawaiian mythology, Māui was the one who brought forth the Hawaiian Islands.)  He’s also noted for making the summer days longer.)  He is also known as being a trickster and is known for giving or trying to give things to humanity.

It’s a fun movie to watch.  There is one epic battle in the end, which might be a little scary for small children, but is otherwise safe.  After all, it is a Disney movie.  You can expect a certain level of safety in that regard.  Overall, Moana doesn’t disappoint.

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