Following in the footsteps of Mulan and Frozen, Moana tells the story of a strong-willed, adventurous girl who will stop at nothing to follow her dreams. Being chosen at a young age by the ocean (a divine force throughout the entire movie), the plot focuses on Moana and how she battles between her duty as the chief’s daughter and her inner-calling to travel the sea.
In hopes of saving her community from ‘climate-change-like’ forces (reduced crop yield, dwindling fish populations), Moana sets sail to find the legendary demi-god, Maui. Initially believing he is the answer to all of her tribe’s problems, she quickly learns that in order to reach her goals, she will personally have to overcome internal and external challenges.
Moana’s story is woven together with empowering themes such as the choices between following your duty and your fate, and understanding how to truly be a supportive friend – all while getting a healthy dose of your classic Disney comedy. Who would have thought you could laugh so much at a rooster devoid of rational or constructive thought, while learning about the importance of following your dreams?
On the off-chance that the empowered female-centric story wasn’t enough, Moana’s soundtrack will do the trick. Using traditional Polynesian elements in tandem with Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda’s music genius, a catchy and vibrant soundtrack perfectly accompanies the atmosphere of the film. (Plus, it’s impossible to not get How Far I’ll Go stuck in your head… have fun with that).
Overall, Disney deserves some major props for creating a film that not only has positive messages for women everywhere, but one that also accurately brings the beautiful Polynesian culture to life.