Sunday, December 4, 2016

Disney's Moana Review

I saw Moana in theater today, and i liked it quite a lot. I liked specially Moana, probably one of my favorite Disney heroine since Tiana in Princess and the Frog. The animation is really good, and the colors all along are truly beautiful, so visually it's a delight from the start to the end. The storyline is good too, and there is a lot of superb scenes in Moana, so lot of good reasons to run to watch it at a theater near you.

BUT, as there is a "but", there is also some points which makes Moana missing perfection and here is what they are: first, too many songs, or to be more precise, not enough memorable songs, the best ones being the more Polynesian ones. Two, and although it's often the case in Disney animated films, it's specially obvious here: the characters too often behave the american way. What i am saying is that you'll never see someone from Polynesia move the way like they do, in a few scenes for the Moana character and more for the Maui character. Not all the time, but enough to be noticed and annoyed to see it. Thanks God, there is no hysterical scenes like we can see in animated films from Disney competitors. Still, Moana don't totally succeed to capture the Polynesian spirit as perfectly as it should have done, and i'm curious to know what Polynesians will think of the movie.

In fact, if we have a closer look, the storyline could have been one of a Hayao Miyazaki animated film, and i suspect that Disney animators tried to have been inspired by the old Japanese master. Except that Miyazaki knows "to take his time without losing it", something that an animated film happening in South Pacific islands should have as the pace in these islands is not the same than in the U.S. And Moana don't have this. In two words, it lacks poetry, and it's a pity because it wouldn't have been that difficult to have it. All what was needed was to trust enough the audience that they won't be bored if each sequence was not "awesome", one of the curse of today's animated films. Moana should have had a "Miyazaki" treatment in each scene but it is a Disney movie, not a Miyazaki movie, so i suppose there are things that we can't await from it. That said, to be fair, there IS some scenes in Moana who catch this, and that's why i liked it. But it's really irritating to see Moana missing greatness by a few inches. Anyway, go and watch it, i'm sure you won't be as difficult as i am and that you will enjoy it a lot.

Pictures and video: copyright Disney


Jones said...

Frankly, that is what I expected of Musker and Clements - there is no doubt that they are great directors, but they seem to be afraid to let a movie breathe, if you know what I mean. I am not the first to observe this, of course - I have even seen a interview with them (long before the release of Moana) during which the interviewer expressed her hope that Moana would not turn out as frantic as, say, Aladdin. Musker and Clements seemed uneasy and muttered sth about how animated movies can not exceed a certain running time, and that they had to squeeze a lot of plot into that given running time - which sounded less than convincing to me, given the fact that the plots of most animated movies are paper thin...
That is why I love Rapunzel (no, I won´t use that insipid official US-title) so much - it is never afraid to show just two people sitting at a fireplace, or to let the camera linger on a couple of dancing lanterns...

Tom said...

Thanks for your opinion! I saw Moana 2 times and going for a third this evening.
I love the movie, especially for it's songs, but also for it's original storyline and as you say, the visuals of the movie are amazing! I think the songs Moana herself sings tell a great story about her emotions, both songs moved me to tears. There can never be too many songs ;) And the "Shiny" song is so cool, hahaha!

If I have to make a comment about the movie, it's some jokes Maui makes, in my opinion they should have been left out of the movie, that's the only thing I really didn't like (a "contemporary" joke doesn't belong in a timeless Disney movie...).

And the short "Inner Working" is sooo good :)