During the middle of Moana, the Demi-god Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) makes a sly joke about most Disney movie princess stereotypes when Moana says she's is not a princess. I'm paraphrasing, but he says something to the extent of "You're the daughter of a chief with a animal for a best friend. That makes you a princess." Moana (played by newcomer Auli'l Carvalho) is more than that and I'm glad that my daughter and I got to experience this movie together, because Moana, like Ana and Elsa, show that being strong and independent is a great thing to be.
On Monday night the Fandads got the chance to see an advance screening of Moana and this is a great movie about family, believing in yourself and what truly makes a person strong. Just look at how Moana is posed in the movie poster. She is standing in a strong stance with the oar on her shoulders and a confident look on her face. This is the image young girls should see in more movies. Meanwhile, Maui is hugging his hook and it kind of looks like he is using it as a crutch to stand. While the movie progresses we learn later on about the importance of being yourself and not relying on something to be you.
The look of this movie is just incredible. From the characters' hair, to the water crashing against the boats and even the puffiness of the tattoos on the islanders, the detail is just amazing. Just look at all the hair on the two main characters and you can only imagine the process it took to make it look so realistic when it is wet or being blown by the wind. That must have taken a lot of hours just working on that effect.
Disney movies always have that one character/sidekick that stays with you after the movie is over and I think Hei Hei, Moana's pet rooster, might just be that character. Although he doesn't say much (voiced by Alan Tudyk, whose voice is in the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One) he does steal some scenes in this movie. Disney should work on making a Hei Hei and Becky from Finding Dory short. I would love to see that combo on the big screen.
As with any Disney movie the music is always one of the driving forces that keeps the story moving. In Moana there were a few songs that stood out to me: "Where you are", "How Far I'll Go" and "You're Welcome". Parents, I guarantee you, you will be either humming or singing the last song to your children. I was singing it to my daughter for most of the ride home and you can customize it for them. "Here is the lunch, you wanted, you're welcome!"
Can I also say that Auli'l Carvalho has a incredible singing voice? I mean the notes she hits during "How Far I'll Go" just gave me chills. That is one song I will have on repeat when I get the soundtrack.
I stated earlier that Moana has a great message about believing in yourself and there is a great line in "Where you are" that says, "Moana that voice inside, is who you are." I think this is a perfect message about self confidence and always staying true to yourself, children need to hear more of that.
Here are our final thoughts:
Kid Friendly - Very kid friendly. There is something in this movie for kids of all ages.
Violence - Animated violence. The scenes of Maui fighting Te Fiti.
Fandads Rating - 5 out of 5.
Remember to enter our Moana Prize Pack giveaway and download some activity sheets while you are there.
Bonus: Keep your eyes open for characters from Frozen, Wreck it Ralph and a mention of a certain crustacean from The Little Mermaid. Also, stay after the credits.
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