How often is it that there’s an accurate fiction movie with culture at the heart of it? Not often, at least not that I’ve seen.
That’s what I love so much about the Disney movie “Moana.” Its strong female lead, culture and focus on family are what makes this such a fantastic movie.
When a curse is released over the south Pacific Ocean, Moana, voiced by Auli’i Cravalho, has to set out to gain the help of Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, and stop the curse to save her people. Cravalho is from Hawaii, which makes it even better that she’s the voice for Moana. It’s authentic, and keeps to the central focus of culture.
The movie focus on the culture of the islands, showing their traditions and myths, such as creation and the character of Maui. I also loved the focus on family. In the main song, “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana doesn’t want to abandon her family, which reflects the values of her and her culture. Also, it’s Moana’s family that both holds her back, and encourages to go on her adventure, her grandmother, voiced by Rachel House, the strongest factor.
It’s also amazing how strong of a character Moana is. She’s her own person, curious, adventurous, but also realistic, struggling to balance her dreams and love for her family and people and responsibility. It’s a relatable struggle, how to live life while not letting down family and neglecting responsibility.
The music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda is my favorite, “How Far I’ll Go,” especially. I think it highlights the strength and weaknesses of Moana’s character, while also showing the culture of her people. Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i also wrote music for this movie.
Overall, I love the themes of this movie and the way they were carried out. The ‘Shiny’ scene, in my opinion, seemed to take away from that. However, all in all, that was a small part, so I still think that this was a fantastic movie, 5 out of 5 stars.