Disney has decided to release two animations in a year, which is a rare feat ever since 2002. With the earlier Zootopia being a huge success, Disney perhaps will try to capitalise the market yet again with Moana. Instead of animals characters, we are introduced to Maoi or Polynesian culture theme story. Can Moana manage to achieve Zootopia’s popularity or even surpass it? We will decide it now!
The basic premise is regarding the tale of Maui, a demigod who stole a precious life stone to give it to humanity. This causes darkness to appear and destroys all lives, and a monster Te-ka appears to attack anyone who comes near Te Fiti, the original location of the stone. A millennium later, a young chief girl Moana is chosen by the ocean to retrieve the stone and put it back into the Te Fiti. She has to brave through the dangerous ocean to find Maui and then to destroy the darkness by traveling to Te Fiti.
Dayum! The animation is really top notch with one of the best graphics I have ever seen in a film. Disney has truly pulled out all stops in order to create such beautiful masterpiece. What’s more, it mixes the traditional 3D with several different types of 2D animation that resemble the Polynesian artworks. They fit one another surprisingly well that I am just amazed at the quality! Furthermore, the rendering of almost realistic water and stars create wonderful scenes when all of these different varieties of arts come together as one, they are simply impactful and memorable.
The characters themselves are full of personality. Moana is not your typical girl hero as well, but she exhibits the feminine strength and courage without overly appearing masculine. Maui is her opposite, depicting masculinity but retaining a child-like heart and dream of becoming a hero for the humanity. It’s just too bad that he is quite one-dimensional in other aspects, as the story hardly mentions about his dark sad past and his reason to be a hero is too simple and vague. The pieces of music are great, with some truly memorable songs that play dazzlingly with the shiny top-notch graphics and animations. They also work to tell the story and include some songs sung in Polynesian language and using their instruments.