My initial reaction to the film was that I saw elements of two other adventure stories – Hercules and the Odyssey. I also enjoyed the fact that the protagonist, in this case, was a curious, respectful, albeit somewhat stubborn, girl. Moana’s determination, even in the face of the demigod Maui, was refreshing to see.
The songs were great, visually the movie is enticing and rewarding. The characters, from the grandmother to Moana, to Maui (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) all spring to life and seem to encourage you to not only follow Moana on her journey, but to also listen for the callings in your own life.
As far as subplots are concerned, this is not a simple movie. There is a conflict that threatens the well-being of Moana’s people, an internal conflict that is even illustrated on the tattooed body of Maui, a classic struggle between good and evil, our protagonist’s internal struggle for identity, and the ultimate external struggle to complete her journey.
I often judge kids’ movies not only by the story itself, but by two sounds – the reaction of adults and the reaction of the kids in the audience. In this case, the story was met by the thunderous laughter of adults and children throughout the film. My own son enjoyed the movie and asked if we can buy it as soon as it comes out. For those of you wondering if the story of a young female protagonist transfers to the enjoyment of young boys, there’s your answer. The story is fun, full of adventure and intrigue.
I highly encourage you to find your way to a theater and check out Moana.