So just got back from my showing of Moana and it was ok. Not great, not very rewatchable, just ok. Visuals are sort of ok, story is sort of ok, just generally it felt like the opportunity was there to do something that could have felt sort of like the old greek style adventure, although set to a Polynesia background.
Plot can be read here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moana_(2016_film)
Warning spoilers kind of (Im not trying to give away plot but some of it might be guessable from my writing)
Dwayne Johnson was a good laugh as the mighty Maui, his song are well sung and his characters design is interesting, but maybe a little too in-human? I guess since he was made a Demigod he lost the need for a neck. Compared to the rest of the cast who are all human looking he does stand out a bit. Maybe its more to do with his birth as he mentioned? Maybe he was born deformed and the gods made him super human to compensate. I dunno, just seemed a little odd.
Moana is ok when she’s not bursting into song at inopportune moments. The way her face is some god damn shiny and cartoony really is starting to look odd against the lush backgrounds that she and the rest of the cast are running about in. Also in some of her songs her face really seemed to stretch out a little too far. Looked weird at the time.
The Pig, funny but why is he even on the poster, the chicken gets more air time then him!
The chicken, funny for a couple of scenes, but seems like it was going for some pay off with it that never came. He was just basic comic relief that even the main cast (including the water!) got sick of.
The macguffin, er I mean the Water. It was there when the script allowed it. Otherwise it wasn’t, even Maui points out plot holes that aren’t explained like why didn’t the water just take them to the island or pick up the hook? It was there at the end to sort of try and help Moana, but it seemed the only reason for its existence is to explain why Maui couldn’t just drop kick Moana off her boat like he tried. Several times.
The grandmother, I liked her she was fine.
The Chief and Moanas mother, meh they did a few songs I forgot about.
Tamatoa or the David Bowie Crab, Jemaine Clements song and the crab design was interesting but somewhat side tracked moment. His song didn’t seem to fit into the world, more like something you’d hear in a David Bowie cover or Theatre production of the little mermaid sung by a male Ursula. (Although the end credits joke did make me chuckle).
The Pygmy pirates called Kakamora, I literally forgot about this scene till I started writing this post, Moana looking pretty bad ass. It was funny but felt rushed.
Ok issues I had in brief:
No tension, never thought the characters were in any danger, and the most badass moment at the end when Moana is facing off again Te Kā is brought to a screeching halt when she goes into slowmo singing mode. Killed the tension and could have had a much greater impact if she had just said what she had sung. Felt like they were crow-baring in songs left and right. The adults in the crowd were noticeable bored with the constant sing song being done through out.
Im not a princess says the princess, Maui calls her out on it. Its a nice nod to how every female protagonist in Disney movies of late has to be royal in some way. Regardless if they see themselves that way.
Cartoon visuals are starting to look tired and needs some more detail in the faces, its starting to give me that barbie doll feel about them all. So damn smooth. Puts some asymmetry or some scarring in there for pete sake! Also did this really need to be a animation, Id have loved to see Dwayne Johnson do it for real with some visual effects thrown in. Its like the complaint with films like Sing being done with animals instead of humans. Sure it looks nice but would it have been impossible to see a load of people sailing about ala Life of Pi style with the effects added in. Could have been cool. (and knowing Disney give it 3 years for a theatre production and 5 years for a remake and they will probably do just that).
Wasn’t expecting a sing a thon throughout the animation, and boy did they love sticking them in whenever they could. Felt very much like this was written for a stage rather then a movie.
Story was a little paint by numbers, third act was pointless drama between Moana and Maui that was resolved in the next scene and really something else could have been done.
In the end I don’t mind having gone seen it but it doesn’t go into my Ill buy it for my collection pile.
A good movie but not a great movie.
7/8 out of 10