I liked this so much more than I liked Frozen. That’s a low bar, though, because aside from the fact that Frozen hinges on how much Elsa and Anna love each other, I really didn’t care for it. So let me say that Moana is my favorite Disney movie since Beauty and the Beast.
SPOILERS BELOW THE CUT! Although by the time this posts, I hope everyone on earth has seen it. Twice.
1. Moana is exactly the sort of girl I like to see in a movie: she’s a good person, trying her best, we see her learning things, we see her getting better at the stuff she’d learning, she’s hilarious, she has a ridiculously stupid chicken buddy, SHE HAS NO LOVE INTEREST ANYWHERE BECAUSE SHE HAS SHIT TO DO.
2. No, seriously, she’s training to be Chief. Her parents are teaching her to lead their people, and there’s no arranged marriage talk, no “you’ll need a husband” discussion; the closest we get is a precocious little boy putting some obviously-a-seven-year-old-would-think-these-are-moves on her, and she’s suitably horrified and it’s funny.
3. The only mis-step, I felt, was when the Chief is telling Moana about the sacred pile of rocks each Chief has to add to: he talks about himself, and his father, and his father–and I think it would have been better had he mentioned someone’s mother in there, too.
4. Everyone has clear, understandable motives. They may lead them to do the wrong thing, but you get why they do what they do.
5. I want to be Moana’s grandma. “I’m his mother; I don’t have to tell him anything.” “I’m the village crazy lady; it’s my job.” Yes, I totally cried when Moana was sailing out to save the world and the damn glowing manta ray swooped out into the sea and under her. I had a grandma like Moana’s, and I miss her very much.
6. The music is really good. The crab song cracked me up and was creepy as hell.
7. I loved Maui. Dwayne Johnson is actually a demi-god.
8. THE CHICKEN THE CHICKEN THE CHICKEN.
9. The scene with the coconut-warrior guys, with the giant-ass ship that breaks into three, and then the little guys bungee-jump onto the enormous drum and IT’S FURY ROAD FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLERS YAAAAASSSS.
10. I will need Funko Pop figures of the chicken and the coconut guys as soon as possible.
11. Z. called the big reveal (THIS IS A HUGE SPOILER, LIKE I’M GONNA LEAVE SPACE SO YOU CAN AVOID, OKAY?)
He asked me if the lava demon was a girl, and then we saw the mythical island was gone and he said, “That’s because she’s not *there* anymore,” and I went “Oh!”
You steal her heart and she becomes a monster.
And then Moana has the ocean part so the creature can get to her, and it stops looking scary and starts looking desperate and hurting, and goddammit, that was amazing.