Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review |  #Moana


Disclosure: My family was invited to attend a complimentary press screening of this film in order to facilitate this review. #Moana #ad #RWM

Here in lies my review of the new Disney film "Moana" in theatres November 23rd, 2016.  The accounts are from my personal experiences and connections that pulled me into the film.  These experiences may differ from your own but I believe a personal intimate connection will exist for all who watch the film.

As a young girl I grew up in a mixed race family in the continental United States, white mother and an pacific islander father.  Although raised on the main-land I was born on the island of Maui, Hawai'i.  I admired both my parents but seeing as my mother appeared "normal" in contrast to all other whites I went to school with, played with, and grew up with I always secretly wanted to look like her, blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin.  Disney was a very important part of my life as a child as it likely was for most children my age.  I dreamed of being as beautiful as Aurora, as smart as Belle, or as adventurous as Ariel.  I never knew of a princess that mirrored my heritage or my physique growing up so I constantly felt like an outsider, different from the other children and characters portrayed on film.  Don't get me wrong, I grew up without these differences negatively impacting my life but I will say they did weigh heavy at times.  I am extremely pleased that Disney has taken diversity on as one of their core values recently to give all children a platform of commonality so they no longer have to feel the inadequacies I felt.

Princess Moana, voiced by Auli'i Cravalho, has curves, thick black hair, wide nose and tanned skin.  I took my 3 year old daughter to the film and prior to entering the viewing she continuously kept pointing to a cardboard cutout of Princess Moana and then excitedly questioning "Mommy, is that you?".  As small as this experience might have seemed to others around us I found it honoring that my daughter saw me in a way that I never have been able to see myself, in Moana's image as a strong, beautiful, independent, driven, and fearless woman.

As most Disney movies there are life lessons to take away from the film.  I noticed that there are quite a few themes in this film and instead of listing all of them and potentially spoiling the movie experience for you; here are two that were more frequently presented throughout the whole film. 

 Have you ever had that feeling that you were called to do a certain thing in life; had a passion that resonates a fire in your heart?  I personally have always thought I was meant to do something great in relation to the ocean.  There is this power that overcomes me when I’m around it or just thinking about it.  My heart yearns to be one with the ocean, if I could do anything I would love to travel the seven seas and help with aquatic life.   The film has definite themes of the importance of fulfilling one's destiny and one's path is preordained.  We have inside of us a special calling or passion that will open up who we truly are, ultimately bringing us happiness.  This movie shows that there will be obstacles, whether it be physical or emotional that we will need to overcome and persevere on our path to achieve happiness.  Usually these themes exist but typically in the form of finding true love.  This is the first princess film that Disney has produced that doesn’t have a love interest involved.  I admire Disney for doing this, as a mother I want my little girl to have a strong female heroin to admire that helps her find her own path to happiness without the pressure of waiting for that "one day her prince will come" to save the damsel in distress.  Only through her own strength, determination and self-discovery will she find her true happiness.

 There comes a time in everyone's life that they ask themselves “Who is this person I’ve become?”  or thinking to yourself “I’m not the monster they are making me out to be.”   it’s important to provide the lesson this movie portrays to our children that we need to take time to invest in understanding others and to make unique connections, especially in our current society where we are just another pixel on a screen or a faceless consumer in a store.  Most of us have heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but this film took that concept and went a little deeper, in a real and literal way.  The hero character Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, is covered in tribal tattoos that all represent his vast achievements and life experiences.  The character is ego driven and he constantly fights with the characterized images of him self in his tattoos.  This is clearly an expression of one fighting with their internal conscience to do what is right vs. what is easy.  This theme also can be empathize with our current experiences where our society can reference one's social media feed and see something potentially totally different from reality of one's true character or self-worth.  Maui struggles throughout the film to set his wrongs right and make amends with his tattooed depictions of himself thus balancing his internal struggle to overcome fear and help the ones he loves, mankind.


Are you ready to watch a unique Disney princess movie that uses vibrant colors to produce breathtaking landscapes, scenes that will instill awe with the amazing water physics and effects, a great Disney soundtrack with a Polynesian twist?  Then come sail along with Moana and Maui on an epic water adventure that leads to self-discovery, friendship and happiness.  Moana comes out to the public on Wednesday November 23, 2016. 

To watch the official trailer please click here.

To watch the official music video of "How Far I'll Go" please click here

If you are interested in purchasing the soundtrack you can click the link to the right.






Moana was released to Blu-Ray and DVD on March 7th 2017. If you would like to purchase the movie feel free to click the links below:

For other great Moana themed gifts for the kiddos please check my suggestions below:

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