Moana (2016)


Rating: 7.5/10

Been gone like two weeks, finished my fourth draft of my second book, and it still sucks *Long Drawn out sigh* Anyway I’m ready to get back in the habit of watching movies all the time again. I’ve also decided that I’m going to more or less review every movie I watch. Maybe even things that aren’t movies, I guess we’ll see?

As most Hamilton fans know, the music in this movie was written by its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda. I mention that because the music in this film is what stands out the most. Disney musicals are nothing knew but I don’t think there’s been one with music quite as good as this one since the Lion King. That movie’s music was written by Elton John. Maybe that should be some kind of lesson to Disney, I mean, I’m sure it’s expensive to get the best songwriters in the world to write your music, but if there’s one company that can afford, it’s Disney. Also, when’s the Star Wars Marvel crossover coming out? Or when are they going to add the X-Men to the MCU? Or when are they going to buy WB as well so that they can make Arrow fight Daredevil just for my amusement? Anyway, I also really like the music in the Princess and the Frog as well, which I just looked up and was written by Randy Newman? Wait, what? Well, I guess he’s much better than I gave him credit for. You’re okay in my book Mr. Newman.

Well, this music is great. The other thing that’s great is the animation. I kept thinking that if not for the cartoony people the scenes of islands and water would look completely real. Computer graphics have come a very long way since Toy Story came out. Another movie where Randy Newman wrote the music.

I’m also a pretty big fan of the story. I guess I’m a sucker for a good adventure story, though you might consider it a little cliche of Disney to have yet another story where the Main Character has to leave their home for some reason only to “learn a valuable lesson” in the process. Also, I’m a little tired of the musical montage of someone growing up. It’s been done to death, stop it Hollywood.

The humor in the movie most audiences might find a bit childish, you may argue “it’s a movie for children!” but you’re wrong. Disney’s animated films have transgressed being just for kids throughout the years, and they have become movies that are literally for everyone, no matter how old you are. Now, I don’t mind a little slapstick but when it’s taking up almost the entirety of the funny stuff (unless it’s a silent movie, I guess, but even then there’s smart stuff and misdirects which ADDS to the slapstick and makes it FUNNIER). I mean, I’m also fine with an animated film if it’s NOT funny and could have just been an action-adventure film with some comedic moments, hell the Lion King was basically that so I know they’ve done it before. It doesn’t have to be a laugh a minute to be a good Disney film, but this film feels like it’s trying too hard to be funny to the kiddies. Seriously though, what’s with all the pee jokes? It does get a bit better later, the fight with the giant crab is pretty funny, and the jokes seem to “grow up” a bit after that.

Why you should watch it: You’re into good music in films or love animated movies, or you’re under the age of 12 as I think this movie would probably be a bit better for kids than adults, not by too much though as it’s pretty entertaining throughout. This is a strange thing for me though in that I feel that most people should should watch or already have watched it but I wouldn’t put in on my list because it’s A) Not old enough and B) doesn’t stand out enough. I mean, something doesn’t have to be old to be put on my list or anything but they definitely have to stand out on their own, like Phantom Thread, which is really something special but only about 6-7 months old. I’d probably put it on my list though I feel the people making this list will put it on there later this year so I’ll just wait for that. Anyway…


+6.5: Pretty good flick all around.

+1: Great music

+1: Great animation

-1: Too much childish humor

3 thoughts on “Moana (2016)

  1. As a crazy Disney music fan, I think it’s worth mentioning Alan Menken and all his amazing scores both before (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin) and since The Lion King. (Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Tangled) Elton John is fantastic but when they used Phil Collins on Tarzan I thought the result, and the entire film, was pretty underwhelming. Of course it’s all highly subjective. I see people say they adore the Tarzan songs Collins did. I think I’m just biased towards the more “musical” sounding songs that Menken does. With The Lion King the only songs I really like are I Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Be Prepared, the two songs that are more in the traditional style of Disney songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not dissing other Disney music, just these are the movies I feel the music stands out in, though I haven’t seen Tarzan, but you’re right that it’s all good.


  2. I didn’t think you were. Just chiming in reminding you of Alan Menken’s catalog and that pop stars don’t necessarily mean the music will be good. I just listened to most of the Moana score to refresh my memory a bit and very few of those tracks are in the vein of the standard Disney animation song. How Far I’ll Go and Shiny fit that mold but the rest is much more in the style of the Pacific culture the story is based on. Something like Frozen, which I also love, is what many people imagine when they think of Disney animation music, or the early Disney Renaissance era films. While neither Frozen or Moana’s scores are more complex or sophisticated than the other, I think both Moana and The Lion King stand out to people because they are drawing heavily on the cultures that inspire the film’s story. The South Pacific and African lore those films incorporate aren’t really familiar to most people, and I think that lends a fresh or new quality to those scores that make them “pop” to the viewer. As to why I love the Moana score and The Lion King doesn’t do much for me, I guess the mythological elements of Moana’s story and human characters are more appealing to me than a cast of animals, so the music has a better chance to resonate with me.

    Liked by 1 person

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