Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Moana

Moana is the latest film by Pixar, with a story based on Polynesian mythology and a cast made up largely of actors from the region.

The story is that in the beginning there was only ocean, but then the goddess Te Fiti created islands and life, before going to sleep as an island herself.
Later, the shape-shifting demi-god Maui (Dwane "The Rock" Johnson) steals Te Fiti's heart, but gets defeated by a demon while trying to escape, losing the heart.
Due to the theft, a black miasma is spreading throughout the world, and will eventually envelop it all.

Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) is the daughter of the chief (Temuera Morrison) of a self-sufficient island with a policy of isolationism, surrounded by a reef that means the sea around the island is peaceful. Encouraged by her grandmother (Rachel House), and magically chosen by the ocean itself, Moana goes against her father's wishes to leave the island, find Maui and return the heart.

The songs throughout the film are fairly good, though the one that is nominated for an Oscar is not to my tastes. I greatly enjoyed Maui's introduction "You're welcome!", and felt a little bit disappointed by Jermain Clement's "Shiny" - in that case I found the music drowned out the lyrics, but that might have just been an issue with the cinema.

I cannot find any fault with the actors in the film, but I will say that Dwane Johnson brings his usual incredible charisma to the role.

The script is full of brilliant jokes, including a wonderfully self-aware reference to the fact that Moana will inevitably become a Disney Princess, despite not being a princess. The story is touching, and since I didn't know anything of the mythology involved, the story was fascinating to me (though I imagine there was some artistic liberty at play.)

The actual rendering and character designs are fantastic - they are obviously stylised, yet the skin textures (including the tattoos) are extremely convincing.

I'm not sure what else I can say - it's absolutely a top-tier film, well worth watching.

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