I took my kids to their first movie in the theater this past weekend. We went and saw the latest Disney offering, Moana. I wasn’t aware of much about this movie, aside from the fact that The Rock voiced one of the characters. I was also concerned about how my three-year old would behave. Luckily, the kids were incredibly well-behaved, and the movie was quite entertaining.
The film tells the story of Moana, chieftain’s daughter of a Polynesian island, and her quest to save her people by restoring the heart of a goddess, stolen a thousand years ago by the trickster Maui(The Rock). Moana overcomes numerous obstacles to save her people, first her father’s unwillingness to let her near the sea, Maui’s trickster nature, some homicidal coconut pirates(called Kakamora), and finally the demon Te Ka.
I liked Moana quite a bit. She was tough, funny, and unflinching in the face of adversity. She also spent no time whatsoever mooning over a boy. It’s nice to see a Disney princess that only seeks out a male character as a means to succeed in her quest. She outsmarts Maui and helps him grow to a point where the trickster finally accepts responsibility for his actions and helps her save the day. Even then, his brawn and power only serve to buy time to allow Moana to figure out the solution to the conflict, and it is her that resolves it, not him. Me sitting on my soapbox thinks this is a good thing for my young daughter to see; young girls saving the day, using their brains and courage to solve problems.
I enjoyed the singing as well, in particular the vocals of Auli’i Cravalho, who voices Moana. She’s got a great voice, and does an excellent job infusing our heroine with life and passion. The Rock surprisingly enough does a passable job in his singing, more importantly, he makes Maui a very unlikable character when we meet him. As the movie progresses and he learns from Moana’s example(ie her courage), he slowly grows to become a more likeable and heroic character.
As for my kids? They had a blast seeing this movie. My son was incredibly excited when he first saw Maui utilize his shapeshifting powers, and my daughter was enthralled with the film as a whole. She did have a bit of a rough time with Moana’s grandmother passing(sorry, spoilers), but was on her feet during the conclusion.
I’m looking forward to the next family trip to the theater, we’ll just have to see what comes out that will be a good fit for us all!