Here’s another edition of “Dad Said, Son Said” but with a twist. This time, I took the 7-year old to see the new Disney animated feature “Moana”. One thing I learned is that asking a 7-year old to write a review isn’t really a brief activity.
Here’s how it started…
What’s it about?
SON SAID: This girl who’s the daughter of the Chief. She has to put a bunch of rocks – she found this special gem that gave her water powers. Her parents didn’t want her to go to the water. Her dad went on a boat, and lost his friend. They were being protective. Moana went on a boat and sailed to the spot her dad’s friend died….
DAD SAID: I’m gonna stop you there…
“Moana” is a story of the Hawaiian Islands and the legends told by its people. Moana is raised being told how the goddess Te Fiti created life out of nothing. The world was peaceful until the demigod, Maui, steals the Heart of Te Fiti. The legends say that Maui was attacked by the lava demon, Te Ka, and the Heart was lost to the sea. Until the heart is restored, the world will slowly be overwhelmed by dark forces.
Moana is the daughter of a chief and will eventually be responsible for the well-being of her entire island. As the island is slowly overtaken by decay, Moana decides to venture out past the island’s protective reef to find Maui and force him to return the Heart.
Despite the sabotaging hijinks of Maui the film is an adventure story that sees Moana overcome many obstacles with the help of a hilarious sidekick Chicken.
When offered the chance to see this movie, I wasn’t overly excited. The only thing I knew about the movie was from the trailer that, frankly, wasn’t very good. The trailer focused on Maui, voiced by The Rock. It seemed like a Disney movie trying to be like the obnoxious and ill-conceived Dreamworks Animation titles that I’m so good at avoiding. Being the excellent father that I am, I decided to take the boy and hope that the movie was at least a little better than the trailer.
I am happy to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. The animation is astounding. As you could imagine, a story of Hawaii involves a lot of water and greenery. All of the elements were so realistic that it looked like film at times. Disney Animation studios is doing an excellent job of matching their Pixar cousins in technical achievement and in storytelling. Ever since John Lasseter took charge, Disney Animation is on a pretty good streak.
Moana is a different type of Princess and one to be admired. She is born to be a leader of people and goes on a brave journey to protect them. The sidekick chicken, Hei Hei, is truly funny. The best part is that the chicken is just a chicken and not an anthropomorphized singing and dancing Disney animal. The songs weren’t really my favorite and there was no immediate stand-out like a “Let It Go”. What did stand out was the overall story.
Once again, Disney Animation put together an amazing technical achievement that serves as an accompaniment to a complete and thoughtful story.
Want to know what a 7 year old boy thought of Pixar's Moana, well here's your chance.