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Moana: A Movie Review

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ECU chapter.

I love Disney movies, and I have loved them since I can remember being able to watch anything at all. I saw Frozen four times when it hit thetres and before that I saw Zootopia and so on. To say the least, I’m a bit of a fangirl. So when I saw the trailer for Moana I knew that it was one of the movies that I absolutely had to see. 

First of all, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius and I can not explain how much I love his works (Hamilton, In the Heights, now Moana). He wrote the songs like, “How Far I’ll go,” which Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) belts in the beginning of the movie, as well as others like “You’re Welcome,” which Maui (Dwayne Johnson) sings. I was absolutely escatic to hear that he was going to be writing features like those, and I could tell when I watched the movie that he wrote them. They were just one part of a whole movie that gave me chills, made me laugh, made me cry, and made me believe in humanity again.

The music was one thing, but the story was another. It was completely amazing, and after I forced my entire family to see it with me (because I knew before I even saw it that they would love it) I saw it again with my friends because I knew that they had to see it. I won’t give away any spoilers, but here’s the low down. Moana is about a young girl who is called to the ocean from the time she was really young to when she is a teenager. It’s a beautiful story about family, loss, support, love, loss, and triumph. 

Of course, Moana has two animals who are most definitely not her sidekicks (Heihei and Pua), and she is most definitely not a princess. The movie is about Polynesian people and their traditions, which I think is really cool of Disney to do. I think it’s done in a tasteful way and appropriate to the culture, but of course I’m not apart of that culture. My grandparents (who travel the world and have probably been to most countries) told me after the movie that they recognized the times when the characters would touch their foreheads and noses from when they visited New Zealand (New Zealand as a part of Polynesia). They also recognized Maui and told me that he was a demigod from the New Zealand culture and that it was really cool to see something that they had experienced in a kids movie. 

Overall, Moana is one of my all time favorite Disney movies, and I love nearly every Disney movie. Moana didn’t “save” Maui and Maui didn’t “save” Moana, it was a mutually supportive relationship where they helped each other to become better people. I highly recommend that you take some time during these stressful days coming up on finals and just watch it as a stress reliever, or as a study break. It’s such a beautiful movie.

I am currently a junior at ECU, majoring in Secondary English Education. I really just like to read and write.