Moana Review

Have you seen the most recent Disney movie, Moana, yet? If not, you definitely should. It’s my new favorite. From the stunning animation to the catchy songs, Moana is an instant classic, and no one knows how far it’ll go.

History and Culture in Moana

The movie Moana takes bits and pieces from various Polynesian cultures including Samoa, Hawaii and New Zealand. And almost all of the voice actors are from these countries as well. For example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (the voice of Maui) is part Samoan, Auli’i Cravalho (the voice of Moana) is Hawaiian, and Jemaine Clement (the voice of the crab Tamatoa) is from New Zealand. Because it’s a mashup of various cultures, it’s not 100% true to any one culture. Some people complained about Moana not being historically accurate, but come on, this is Disney. Did you see Pocahontas or Mulan? At least Moana isn’t based on a real person or historical character.

Maui, however, is based on a demigod from Polynesian culture. People are all up in arms because he’s “fat” and pompous and because Disney didn’t include his wife in the storyline. If you ask me, I think it’s refreshing that there is no love interest in Moana. It’s all about the strength she finds from within to help her people. Plus, I didn’t think Maui was fat but rather solid like a bodybuilder. When he flexes his muscles, you can tell that Disney was going for muscular rather than fat. All his accomplishments that Maui sings about in the “You’re Welcome” song are actually from folklore.

I killed an eel; I buried its guts. Sprouted a tree; now you got coconuts.

Another piece of historical significance in Moana is what’s known as “the long pause.” In fact, you could say this is what the whole movie was about. Polynesian people were voyagers and spent hundreds of years traversing the oceans and finding new islands. Then they stopped for about 2,000 years. I don’t think anyone really knows why. But then they started back up again like nothing happened and continued populating the rest of the south Pacific for hundreds more years. Moana discovers her ancestors were voyagers and sets forth on a quest to start voyaging again.

We were voyagers! Why’d we stop?

Review of Moana

When asked if we thought Moana was better than Frozen, I said yes but my sister said no. If you’re into sugar sweet and romance, then yes, Frozen was probably better. Princess Anna had TWO love interests. However, if you’re into empowering girls to stand up for themselves and be brave, then Moana was better. While Elsa may not have had a love interest, she was like the villain for half the movie. Moana doesn’t have a love interest and is strong and smart throughout the whole movie.

The music of Moana is just so darn catchy that even my husband (who hasn’t even seen the movie yet) loves the songs. We play them around our house all the time. I don’t think it’s possible for either one of us to say “thank you” without the other singing “You’re Welcome” back. And if anything is even remotely shiny, we have to sing “SHINY!”

I’ll never hide—I can’t! I’m too SHINY!

I think the animation in Moana is absolutely stunning, especially the vibrant colors and the way they animated the water. It’s just so breathtaking. I really wish Motunui was a real place so I could visit it!

Meet Moana at Disney World

Even though Moana doesn’t like it when Maui calls her a princess, as he pointed out, “if you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.” And just like all Disney princesses, there has to be a meet-and-greet area at Disney World. Moana is the only princess you’ll find at Disney’s Hollywood Studios because the rest take up residence in either Magic Kingdom or Epcot (or sometimes both). She’s located in the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream attraction, which I think is a little odd placement, but I guess they had nowhere else to put her because half that park is under construction for Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. Plus, Jasmine is already in Adventureland, and I can’t imagine anywhere else Moana would fit.

When you walk into Hollywood Studios, head to the right of the Great Movie Ride, past Star Wars Launch Bay and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. One Man’s Dream will be on your right. If you get to Toy Story Mania, you’ve gone too far. Once in One Man’s Dream, head all the way to the back to find Moana. I loved it when she showed me how to be a wayfinder!

My Favorite Moana Products

Do you love Moana and coffee? If so, you should buy this tumbler from my Etsy shop, Disney Desi Gifts. Want to make sure your makeup stays flawless throughout the day? The compact is from Fantakeys.

My favorite pair of Moana ears of course comes from my favorite mouse ears shop, All Ears Boutique.

You can get this shirt from 2319 Threads or the cozy from Allison’s Wonderland Co.

About disneydesi

I've been going to Disney World consistently since I was a little girl in the mid-'80s, yet it never gets old. Ask me anything about Disney, from Walt's personal life to the latest rides and attractions. I'm sure I know the answer.

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