Animé and Toons
Moana Blu-Ray Review
By Hervé St-Louis
March 29, 2017 - 14:19

Studios: The Walt Disney Studios
Writer(s): Jared Bush
Starring: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison Temuera Morrison
Directed by: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Produced by: Osnat Shurer
Running Time: 90 minutes
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

When demi-god Maui steels the heart of the goddess that gave life to the Pacific islands, the ocean decides that island princess Moana is the right person to return the heart, stopping the rotting and destruction of life across the Pacific Ocean. But Maui is an unwilling partner the quest and Moana faces many challenges that make it impossible for her to return the heart to the goddess.

I liked this movie but it had flaws. On the Blu-Ray, one can see many deleted scenes that would have shaped the movie into something better. The alternate story had Moana proving her worth against her six brothers and father ad sailing actively with them for the heart. The story that we got instead made Moana a single child and the chieftain’s successor whose connection and worth for her quest was encouraged by her spiritual and crazy grandmother. The connection to water was stronger in the movie that we saw since the sibling rivalry and woman empowerment message was now gone.

It is not to say that Moana is not a strong role model for girls. This movie aims to be just that. But it is uneven. Moana’s mother has very few lines in this film compared with her father. Moana’s grandma though has a strong relationship. I’m glad that the movie-makers resisted giving a romantic inclination to Moana and Maui. Yet Maui was treated the same way many male lead or supporting lead are treated when it’s time to make the female character a strong one. They end up like bumbling idiots that are not committed and slackers. The only director to avoid turning male leads into idiots is Miyazaki. His male leads are as strong as his females, yet the women are clearly the central characters in his movies.

Now the best thing about Moana are the visuals. They challenge and at times outdo anything seen in Frozen. Water is fickle. Hair is as fickle. Combine hair and water, and you get a technical animation challenge no matter how much software and algorithms you throw at the problem. The colours are beautiful. It’s a beautiful movie but it lacks the soul of other Disney movies.

Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray & Digital 3D/HD/SD:

Rating: 7/10

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