When the newly-crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter, her sister Anna teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition.
The magically long-haired Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but now that a runaway thief has stumbled upon her, she is about to discover the world for the first time, and who she really is.
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.
Moana Waialiki is a sea voyaging enthusiast and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators. When her island's fishermen can't catch any fish and the crops fail, she learns that the demigod Maui caused the blight by stealing the heart of the goddess, Te Fiti. The only way to heal the island is to persuade Maui to return Te Fiti's heart, so Moana sets off on an epic journey across the Pacific. The film is based on stories from Polynesian mythology.Written by
Doug Walker of Nostalgia Critic fame received a lot of letters from his fans asking if he had any involvement in this movie. Walker responded by making a video explaining that he had no involvement with the film, and the person in the end credits simply had the same name as him. See more »
In the beginning, Gramma Tala is telling the story in the gazebo. When Chief Tui knocks down the banners, the one to the left of the picture of Maui and to the right of Te Ka is a large monster but switches to a mountain and sea scene as baby Moana sneaks out of the tent. See more »
In the beginning there was only ocean until the Mother Island emerged. Te Fiti. Her heart held the greatest power ever known. It could create life itself. And Te Fiti shared it with the world. But in time, some began to seek Te Fiti's heart. They believed if they could possess it, the great power of creation would be theirs. And one day, the most daring of them all voyaged across the vast ocean to take it. He was a demi-god of the wind and sea. He was a warrior. A trickster. A ...
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There is a post-credit scene where Tamatoa the Crab (Jemaine Clement) breaks the fourth wall by telling the audience that they would help him turn over if he had a Jamaican accent and was called Sebastian. A clear nod to the directors Ron Clements and John Musker's crab character "Sebastian" in The Little Mermaid, which they wrote. See more »
Visually beautiful, but problems with plot and characterization cause this movie to stumble.
I have been largely unimpressed with Disney's recent animated movies, and many of my criticisms with them hold true with Moana. Looking back at Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia, and Frozen, it seems to me that Disney is more interested in building a visually beautiful world than building a great story. This is true with Moana. The animation is wonderful. The world is gorgeous. The story, however, is rather dull and shallow.
The world is by design fairly sparse. There aren't a lot of characters in this movie. So to make up for that, the story or the characters need to be particularly compelling. Unfortunately, they aren't.
Disney breaks no new ground with Moana's story. That isn't new for Disney, and to be fair, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. Many good movies are just well-done re-imaginings of classic stories. But Moana isn't even that. At every step of the way, I couldn't shake a feeling that I'd seen it all before. The story never gripped me nor did it leave me feeling fulfilled. Thus, the film just feels empty.
If either Moana or Maui were engaging characters, this movie could have been good. Despite a good performance from Auli'i Cravalho, Moana had a very small character arc. She was not that different a person at the end of the film than she was at the beginning. For much of the film, she had very little agency of her own. The plot seemed to carry her along, rather than she driving the plot.
Maui did everything he could to cause the plot to stall. This could have been great, as his antagonistic attempts to stop the main character could have worked as the central conflict. But since Moana is rarely actually trying to move the plot forward, the conflict just seems to be her-vs-him, which is mildly interesting at best.
It's a shame. Moana could have been such a good movie. But it suffers from the same failings as most recent Disney animated ventures: wonderfully crafted world without a story worthy of that world.
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