While in LA for the #MoanaEvent press trip and the MOANA World Premiere, I had the pleasure of seeing the movie twice! I liked it even better the second time and I’m already eager to see it again! In addition to seeing MOANA, we interviewed the main cast members, filmmakers, and music writers for the film. In talking with them, I have some background & insights as to their thoughts & feelings about the film. So, with all of that in mind, I’m sharing the top 7 reasons that you should plan to go see Disney’s MOANA when it sails into theaters on November 23rd!
- BREATHTAKING Imagery – the animation in this film is SO well done. The water (which is SO incredibly difficult to animate) is GORGEOUS, as is all the island scenery. In fact, the ocean is actually a character is the movie (and a VERY important one at that). You are going to find yourself wanting to plan a trip to the islands immediately!! Hawaii or Fiji, anyone?! YES PLEASE!
- Polynesian Culture – According to everyone we spoke to (including native Samoans, Hawaiians, etc), Disney gives a very accurate portrayal of Polynesian culture in this film. To keep things accurate, Disney actually created the “Oceanic Story Trust” consisting of anthropologists, cultural historians, linguists, musicians, etc. There was A LOT of research that went into making this movie and it was incredible to see (with often teary eyes) how passionate, happy, and proud those with roots in the Pacific Islands feel about this film. There really was just SUCH a great sense about pride for how this turned out and how truthful the representation is. You can get a sense of that in this “The Way to Moana” Featurette:
- The MUSIC!!! Oh the music! It is SO good. SO SO good! Combine rhythmic Polynesian beats with the lyrical genius in Lin-Manuel Miranda and you have some seriously AWESOME music! Samoan-born Opetaia Foa’i (leader of the group Te Vaka) and Lin-Manuel Miranda actually sing together on the highlight song, “We Know the Way”. The soundtrack drops November 18th (affiliate link) and I definitely think it’s worth the buy! Plus, who doesn’t want to listen to The Rock sing “You’re Welcome”?! HA!
- Something new from Disney! PLEASE do NOT go into this movie expecting “Frozen 2″ (they’re working on that though by the way)! This is MOANA and I think it’s completely unique compared to anything we’ve seen from Disney before. NOTHING about this movie (other than great animation and music) is the same as Frozen. The sound and look for MOANA is totally unique because it’s rooted in culture, in history, and mythical folklore. Also, there is NO love interest. I repeat – this is NOT a love story. At all. This is a hero story – the story of a young heroine, finding herself! And it’s FABULOUS!
- GREAT characters (& casting) – The filmakers did SUCH a great job with this! Dwayne Johnson is just perfection as Maui. And, seriously, Auli’i Cravalho IS Moana. They are the same age and look so similar. In real life, these two were SO fun to talk to (and SO proud of their roles) and they really played the characters SO well. In these main characters, both boys and girls will really find something to relate to and look up to.
- Disney Easter Eggs – Disney animation has long-been known to put little “easter eggs” in their movies – where they put characters & little “shout-outs” to former and upcoming Disney movies/characters! This one is no different. We heard from the directors that there are actually quite a few Easter eggs in this one. Look out for Baymax, Olaf, Sven, Squirt, Flounder, Flash (from Zootopia), Wreck it Ralph, and maybe more! WHOA! In seeing it twice, I’ve spotted Squirt, Sven, and Wreck it Ralph, but have yet to find the others! Let us know if you spot any!
- The animated short- Inner Workings. We LOVE the animated shorts before the movies and this one is no different. In fact, the former biology teacher (and psychology major) in me REALLY liked this one as we get to go inside the body to see the brain and heart havng a literal tug-o-war match inside “Paul”. It’s HILARIOUS and has a great message!
SO much good stuff!!! I can’t wait to see it again!
For parents, here are a few things to note:
- A key character does die (off screen) in the movie. It is sad, but it’s integral to the storyline. Since it happens off screen, younger kids likely won’t even make the connection right way (if at all). But, if you’ve recently lost a loved one, that might be something to be aware of.
- There are a few moments of peril and some scarier scenes. I think the lava monster is the scariest. But, I don’t think it ranks up there with some other villains at all in terms of “scare factor”.
- My boys haven’t seen it yet, but as soon as they do, I’ll report back here to give you a better feel for those scary parts and the movie as a whole through their eyes.
So, make a splash with the family and see MOANA when it sails into theaters on Nov. 23rd!
Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.