Disney’s MOANA is in theaters everywhere, and is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday weekend! Last Sunday my family got to attend a very special screening of MOANA — right on the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The evening kicked off with a delicious Polynesian inspired dinner at Luau Cove where we met MOANA screenwriter, Jared Bush, and Moana herself who you will see making appearances around the Disney Parks. Next we got to tour Disney’s new Polynesian Villas & Bungalows at Disney Polynesian Village Resorts, and ended the evening with an under the stars screening of MOANA. The magical nighttime movie was the latest Disney Parks Blog meet-up. Sitting under the stars on the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was the perfect setting to watch the adventures of Disney’s new Polynesian Princess.
Here’s my attempt at a spoiler-free review:
The film was everything that I hoped it would be and more. The music, the imagery, the story, made the film one of the best Disney movies ever created. The soundtrack is spectacular. I don’t often purchase movie soundtracks, but with instant favorites like “How Far I’ll Go” & “We Know the Way” I couldn’t resist.
MOANA is a story about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. This particular teenager also happens to be a chieftain’s daughter (aka Princess). Moana is torn between doing what is expected of her by her father, Chief Tuias, and what she knows in her heart she is meant to do — save her island and her people from the darkness that has begun to take over — even if this means voyaging beyond the safety of the reef that lies just beyond their shores.
During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
In addition to Moana, you’ll meet some very fun and interesting characters in this film, including: Maui demigod of the wind and sea, a really odd chicken, walking coconuts and Gramma Tala who comes across as half crazy. But is she really?
The struggle between good and evil, mystical creatures, a beautiful heroine, a goofy side-kick, lots of humor, a few life lessons, and a storybook ending. If that’s not enough, you might even shed a tear or two. MOANA is everything you want in a Disney movie.
Disney’s MOANA captures the Aloha spirit.
Pacific Island storytelling culture is celebrated throughout the film. As explained to us by screenwriter, Jared Bush, the story is inspired in part by oral histories of the people and cultures of Oceania, where film makers traveled to learn as much as possible. The story of Moana is very representative of the types of stories that make up Hawaiian and Pacific Island mythology. As a girl who has yet to visit Hawaii, I was excited to see the Aloha spirit displayed on the big screen. This movie has moved Hawaii and the Pacific Islands to the top of my travel bucket list.
MOANA is directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), and featuring music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i, “Moana” is currently showing in U.S. theaters.
About the PG Rating
Following traditional island culture, MOANA has history deeply rooted in Polynesian customs. This includes Gods, demi-Gods, creatures and monsters. MOANA is an action-packed voyage! While my 8 year old absolutely loved this movie, some of the monsters may be a little scary for younger children. As someone who likes to explore and travel with my family to learn about different cultures and religions, I was perfect comfortable with the mystical aspect of this film. Ultimately, that is your call as a parent. Regarding the PG rating of MOANA, I think it’s right on par with FROZEN.
Side Note: If you ever have a chance to stay at the Disney Polynesian Village Resort or experience Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Luau Cove, it’s a fun way to expose kids to Polynesian culture right here in sunny Florida.
Many thanks to Disney Parks Blog and Disney Polynesian Village Resort for hosting my family.