If you think Moana is Walt Disney's just another typical fairytale, then you are wrong. Moana is a fairytale adventure filled with girl power; Moana is triumphantly embracing its destiny as a princess-based adventure folktale in a righteous way.
The film, directed by Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker and Chris Williams on a screenplay by Jared Bush, includes a few earworm songs with heart-touching tunes and is inspired by Hawaiian mythology.
It follows a young 16-year-old princess Moana who will go on a mission to save her people from an impending natural disaster. Having the extraordinary navigational power, she convinces the demigod Maul to join her and help her to become a wayfinder.
Here, let's take a look at what critics worldwide have said about the Disney film:
AO Scott of the New York Times appreciated the delightful music in this Disney's new fairytale adventure: "In the Disney kingdom, the in-house influence of Pixar has reinvigorated the animation (though some of us may still pine for the classic, painterly Disney visual aesthetic), and the rejuvenation of American musical theatre has provided a fresh pool of songwriting talent."
He also described Moana as an inspiring heroine; "a smart, brave and decent young woman whose individual aspirations align perfectly with a larger, world-saving mission. She is also an exuberant and appealing self-marketer, whose likeness will proliferate on school bags and under Christmas trees for a long time to come."
Justin Chang wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "Nearly 30 years later, 'Moana' follows 'Tangled' and 'Frozen' in a newer wave of cleverly refurbished fairy tales, reinventing the company line with CG animation, self-referential humour, slyly feminist attitudes and other contemporary amenities."
"In other words, Moana, like most seemingly innocuous mainstream diversions, has its own undeniably political dimension. As both a gentle ecological parable and the first Disney cartoon showcase for a Polynesian cast since Lilo & Stitch (2002)."
While describing Maul, the demigod, he said, "Not unlike Robin Williams' Genie in "Aladdin," another Musker-Clements creation, Maui is a boisterous agent of show-stopping supernatural chaos."
"Despite Moana's denials, this is a Disney princess movie, which means it has certain royal obligations to fulfil: a role-model heroine, a magical quest, a wholesome message, a merchandisable animal sidekick (in this case, a supremely dumb chicken) and musical numbers that will pass the playground test," Steve Rose has written in the Guardian.
Peter Debruge of Variety has a message for the older audiences: "Especially those who came of age during the era of Beauty and the Beast, much of what follows will seem like Disney boilerplate, but that would be understating the shrewd yet significant ways Musker and Clements innovate. There's the welcome cultural aspect of the female explorer, of course, plus the fact that the film gives its heroine a healthy, more realistically proportioned physique (reminiscent of the Hawaiian characters in Lilo & Stitch), rather than forcing Moana into the mold of past princesses."
"Appealing equally to the eyes, ears, heart and funny bone, Moana represents contemporary Disney at its finest," said Michael Rechtshaffen of the Hollywood Reporter.
Moana's visuals are breathtakingly beautiful as "letting the natural light of the sun and the moon inform virtually every textured frame, the film boasts backgrounds that are awash in phosphorescent greenery and shimmering blue waters."
Speaking of Moana, Scott Mendelson of Forbes thinks that "Moana isn't just another solid princess-specific adventure. It's acknowledgement of Walt Disney using its awesome corporate power, either through outright original stories or using stories from other cultures, to craft yet another piece of potent and primal female-centric myth-making."
Moana is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested) with a running time of 1 hour and 53 minutes.