Fast Five Review: Moana (2016)

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MOANA
2016 | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the Demigod to set things right.

1) Did you like it?

Yes.

2) Why?

It was good fun, with the obligatory catchy songs and cute animal sidekicks you expect from a Disney movie. The title character, Moana, is a different kind of Disney Princess – the daughter of a Polynesian tribal chief, she is an independent spirit who is shown caring for and participating in her community. I found her much more relatable than a Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. As a bonus, marriage doesn’t even come into the story! There’s a great mixture of physical comedy and jokes for the kids, along with some more grown-up humour for the parents watching (including some cheeky digs at the Disney Princess tradition).

While Moana isn’t quite the game-changer that Frozen was, it’s a wonderful addition to Disney’s new-look, 21st Century film catalogue.

3) “You would enjoy this movie if…”

You’re a fan of Disney’s butt-kicking girl-power princesses like Mulan, and Merida from Brave.

4) “This movie made me think…”

Disney released Pocahontas in 1995, and it depicted Native Americans in a way that was culturally insensitive as well as historically inaccurate. I might feel differently if I were Polynesian, but 20 years on it looks like Disney have learned from their past mistakes, avoiding many hurtful stereotypes of traditional societies. Some of the voice cast are of Pacific Islander and Maori descent, and Polynesian composers and musicians were involved in making the soundtrack.

5) Overall rating?

4-stars