Moana is the next movie out of Disney Animation following Zootopia, but in their Disney Princess line. This means that there should be characters breaking out into song once in awhile and a story focused, well, on a princess. Moana does just that along with a side comment about not being a princess herself (which she totally is).
Moana was fast tracked after the success of Frozen, Disney thinking that they could capitalize on its box office performance. Moana tried to reach that same status but has fallen short on that dream of success.
So if the financial situation is not looking as good, is that due to the movie not being as good? To be honest, Moana has a better arcing story than Frozen does but its message is not as strong. While Frozen was a great movie about sisterhood and independence, Moana is a story about growing up and believing in one’s self. Now that sounds great, but that story has been done so many times that you almost miss it. While Frozen was memorable Moana was forgetful, so are there any good things?
Frozen was known primarily for its soundtrack, mainly two songs that stood out to audiences, but does Moana have equivalents? The soundtrack for Moana, get ready, is overall better than Frozen’s. While Frozen had those two songs, Moana has at least three that I find personally very appealing. So since it has more songs that I like, leading to me preferring the soundtrack to Moana better.
Now that music is out of the way, what made Moana good and bad? Simply put, Moana is a really amazing animated movie on the verge of photorealism. Its depictions of the water, greenery, and landscapes are breathtaking. Sadly that praise does not carry over to other parts of the movie. The story like most recent Disney Animation and Pixar movies seems to be slightly rushed, slowing towards the end. Nothing felt fisted into the project but nothing stood out either. One glaring missed opportunity that the movie did pass up on was bringing the pig along for thee journey because it was so adorable for like 10 minutes. I could watch a whole movie about that pig because it was the best animal in this movie.
Moving on though this move was above average, but not a movie that reached for the stars. It had a simple plot with simple tropey storytelling devices, but executed well. It doesn’t evoke feeling, even though it might of tried to do so. It just seems like another adventure story, just animated very nicely.
Overall, Moana’s “saving grace” comes from its soundtrack and animation quality. There is talk about other animation studios becoming “Pixar quality good”, but I think they need to watch some of these recent Disney animated studios (both of them ie. Pixar and Disney Animation) and rethink that statement.