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Disney’s Moana Sails to Great Heights

Ariel Barbera, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

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Disney’s Moana set sail on November 23 and has been dominating the box office for the past week.

The movie is a musical, similar to Frozen and Tangled, and is staged around the Pacific islands. With its moving story, catchy tunes and detailed animation, Moana is sure to stick around as one of Disney’s greatest films, similar to how Zootopia was praised back in March earlier this year.

Moana sets out on a quest to defend her homeland. Screenshot by: Ariel Barbera

Consisting of the voices of Dwayne Johnson [Maui] and newcomer Auli’i Cravalho [Moana], Moana is a story about an adventurous teenage girl who sails out on a perilous journey to save her home from destruction. Her goal is to find the demi-god Maui and help him restore the heart of Te Fiti, the mother island, which he stole around a thousand years ago.

What makes Moana different from Disney’s most recent successes is how similar it is to a traditional Disney film. The movie has a story about a young protagonist who goes through different struggles, breaks into song throughout the film and defeats the main antagonist in the end. One big difference is how Maui would tease Moana about singing and provided quite a lot of comedy relief, similar as to how Zootopia teased the consistency of singing in past Disney films.

Throughout the movie, we follow Moana, her pet chicken Hei-Hei and Maui on a journey to restore the heart. The movie does a great job of showing conflict between the two leads, and it shows plenty of neat action scenes, from escaping Tamatoa the giant crab to defeating the Lava Witch, Te Kā.

Maui and Te Kā fight for the heart of Te Fiti. Screenshot by: Ariel Barbera

Despite the overall success of the film, some people found the film to be controversial. Some believe that the portrayals in the film are fantastic, while others believe that the film gave the main characters a negative portrayal.

One positive controversial topic revolved around Moana having a “normal sized body,” and not a skinny waist that most other princesses had in the past. A negative controversial topic though was Maui’s portrayal. Some critics believed him to be too “big and bulky” and believe he gave Polynesians a distorted view. Other than these topics, other sites, such as BBC, took the time to compare Moana to past Disney princesses.

Overall, the film is definitely worth the money to see in theaters, and it holds exceptional themes and a great new princess for kids, or anyone, to look up to.

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The student news site of Susquehannock High School in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania.
Disney’s Moana Sails to Great Heights