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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film Handlers' Movie Reviews   » Moana (2016)

   
Author Topic: Moana (2016)
Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12090
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-18-2017 10:51 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Walt Disney Feature Animation continues to outshine Pixar in delivering what audiences really want out of a Disney movie. This show was infectious, innovative, great-looking and had a killer musical score to top it off. The story was involving enough to keep the grownups interested, with there being plenty of action and color for the kiddos. Maybe a bit scary for the littlest kids.

I thought all of the actors did a fine job, with Dwayne Johnson continuing to impress with his comedic timing and singing (!) voice. Newcomer, Auli'i Cravalho did an outstanding job as Moana; I'd say she has a bright future in front of her, either as an actor or a singer; she's good at both, especially considering she was only 14 when her performances were recorded.

The overall look of the movie is really great. The color palette is beautiful to look at. It's amazing to watch the progress from one year to the next in terms of animated hair, water, etc. This is definitely the prettiest movie to come out in quite a long time.

The story is pretty standard-issue Disney stuff, and the movie uses the "Frozen" template pretty well (character ventures off into the unknown to bring back a disappeared character to save the day), but the island/ocean backdrop and various inventive touches (like Maui's animated tattoos, or the ocean itself being a character) make up for any narrative shortcomings. The usual animal sidekicks are present, but never border on annoying, the way they do in some other movies.

The jokes usually land well, and there is the (now) usual bathroom humor sequence which I guess they put in for the kids, but I laughed at it too, so why not?

I got a kick out of the post-credit scene, which I won't spoil here; but a nice touch, I thought, was that they included a half-minute or so of extra closing music after that scene ended, so the die-hards weren't walking out in total silence, as is the case with just about every other movie with an ending scene like that.

My rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars.

The show opens with a short called "Inner Workings," which is pretty deep for a cartoon short -- it's a comic fable about the wisdom of enjoying life, as told from the perspective of the hero's brain, heart, lungs and other bodily organs; as has become normal for these shorts, the inventiveness is dialed WAY up on this. Very cool and unusual.

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