Moana film review: introducing a new kind of Disney princess

moana film review

Two days into our Christmas holiday break I took the twins to see Moana the new Disney movie. I had watched the trailers at another recent movie trip and it looked good, plus who doesn’t like a Disney film?

Following the box office success of Frozen I was curious to see how Moana could possibly come even close to that success, after all Frozen is still as big today as it was when it first appeared.

The setting for the latest story is in the south Pacific, so the backdrop is breathtaking. We are taken onto an island, Motunui where a Polynesian tribe live and introduced to the chief’s daughter Moana who we first meet as a delightful toddler learning the tribe’s history from her grandmother as she tells their history in story form.

In the beginning, when there was only ocean, Te Fiti, an island goddess, emerged. Te Fiti’s heart, a small pounamu stone, possessed the power to create life and raise islands. But it also attracted monsters who tried to steal it for its creative power. It was stolen by the demigod Maui, who planned to give it to humanity as a gift. Upon removing the stone, Te Fiti was enveloped in darkness. As Maui made his escape, he was attacked by the lava demon Te K?, causing the heart to become lost in the ocean along with his magical fishhook.

Moana the toddler, searching for shells by the edge of the sea, is chosen by the ocean to receive the heart which her grandmother keeps safe for her. A few years later the fish becomes scarce, the vegetation starts to perish and the coconuts begin to spoil, Moana is urged by her dying grandmother to leave the island and reunite Te Fiti with her heart, by doing this she will save her tribe’s future.

Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demi God, in the hope of saving her people.

Moana the princess

moana film review

‘Im not a princess, I’m the chief’s daughter!’

Thank you Disney for finally creating a princess that isn’t waifer thin, white skinned and just sitting around waiting for her prince to come. Moana is a feisty, intelligent young girl who plays a great role in the day to day running of the island, learning everything from her father for the day she will one day take over. Moana has thick calves and a body that represents far more young girls out there. Moana is also trying to find her place in the world and the story focuses on her search to discover who she is.

‘The Gods aren’t the ones who make you Maui, you are!’

Her search takes her on a fabulous journey across the ocean with the demi God Maui and together they learn a lot from each other. For once there is no love interest at all, simply a story between two characters who meet, get to know one another and become great friends.

Moana meets many challenges and difficulties on her journey to restore Te Fiti with her heart but she is strong and determined, showing viewers that it can be done even if it takes a couple of times to achieve your goal.

Maui the demi God

moana film reveiw

The male main character also steps away from the usual Disney characters, Maui is huge, he is also covered in tattoos which tell his life story. He has made a huge mistake in the past, at first he doesn’t want to admit it and justifies his wrong saying it was done to help others, however, we watch him come to terms with the fact and then put the past right with Moana’s help.

I really enjoyed this film and hope it gives the twins the knowledge that they don’t need a man in their life. They don’t have to stay home, behave and wait for a man to appear but they can grow and discover themselves. They can experience life by themselves before thinking of marriage and princes. Having spent the past five years watching the girls play marriage I really hope this gives them another role play, a better role play to follow.

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1 Comment

  1. December 22, 2016 / 10:33 AM

    This movie sounds great! I’m so glad to hear of a movie where there is finally a strong female lead without a love interest. It drives me crazy that so often, even in children’s movies, as soon as a female character is introduced (and there’s often only one) she is automatically placed as a love interest to one of the male characters. I can’t wait to see this movie.

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