What do two uni students do on a Tuesday afternoon? They go to the cinema of course! Work? What work??
Now I’m going to be honest here, I mainly went for the Lin-Manuel Miranda soundtrack and the fact I haven’t been to the cinema for ages. I am so so so so happy I went to see this one.
Transporting us from the dreary rainfall of Nottingham to the lush tropical world of Motunui, we went on an adventure across oceans and time, fighting monsters and following our hearts. Now if that is not a Disney film I don’t know what is. But it was such a self-aware Disney film that even though it tugged on our heart-strings, there were still quips such as “You wear a dress and have an animal side-kick. You’re a Princess.” Also I see that Mad Max reference Disney. Well played to you. Well played. The film had some big concepts it was playing with so the actual story line is fairly short, but it is created so beautifully that it doesn’t need to have things happening every two seconds to make it engaging and interesting.
The characters were all amazing and fully-rounded despite some only getting a few moments of screen time. But Moana totally carried this film and did it with all the grace and dignity a Chief’s Daughter should. I wish I could have seen something like this when I was younger. She wants to go to the water but, unlike other characters from other Disney films, she does try to be who her family want her to be, and finds she is good at it and you can see she does enjoy being in a leadership role. However, because it’s Disney, it’s also about following your heart and doing what you are truly meant to do. Shout out to the rooster side-kick Hei Hei as I spent the entire film giggling and looking out for him in the frame. I don’t know why but even though I knew what kind of scrape he’d be in, it still got me every time. And the line: “I will tell you! Through song…” made me and my friend laugh for several minutes after everyone else settled down.
I confess I don’t know much, if anything about the culture this film draws inspiration for but in the world right now, I think it so valuable to show that these stories can be enjoyed by anyone. I think understanding goes a long way to helping and uniting and I hope Disney keep up with the diversity they’ve shown they can do if they try.
Also the soundtrack. is. gorgeous. Just amazing. If you are a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda (and I mean who isn’t these days?), this is the score for you as you can totally tell it being steered by his creative drive and you can really hear the Hamilton vibes. But it is also still a Disney film score, riffing on those older soundtracks to make something new. I will definitely have this on repeat for weeks to come.
And finally we come to the animation. THE ANIMATION. As someone who has not been blessed with the greatest drawing talent in the world, I could only watch in awe. I know animating water is not easy but to make it have a personality of itself and then to show it splashing and I just can’t. And Moana’s hair. From it blowing in the breeze, to it becoming water drenched, I just couldn’t look away from it. You could pretty much watch this film as a piece of art.
So definitely go and check this out if you can. I think it is a wonderful treat for a rainy day and I would happily see it again.