Disney's Moana Review

Updated on December 11, 2016


Moana, like Mulan before her, may not technically be a princess, but she's as entertaining a character as any classic Disney heroine. Her adventure, released on November 23 2016, explore a breathtaking environment with a diverse cast of characters. Disney's known for its high-quality, family-friendly films; how does Moana compare to decades of animated greatness? Read on to find out!

Have you seen Moana yet?

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Score: 10/10

Moana is an absolute visual delight. The bright colors of the island, the smooth colors of the sea, and some beautiful lights will dazzle you from start to finish. I'd even venture this as Disney's prettiest movie yet.

Moana debuted in both normal and 3D offerings. Personally, I've always viewed 3D as gimmicky, and prefer the default option, but whichever version you see, you're in for a meticulously designed visual treat.

Young Moana
Young Moana


Score: 9.5/10

For the unfamiliar, Moana is a young chief's daughter living in a peaceful Hawaiian island. She loves her community, but longs to explore the ocean, and finds her reason to do so when crops start dying and fish scattering, leaving the village in need.

Moana sets out to find Maui, a demigod said to be responsible for the unfortunate turn of events. She encounters him before long, discovering there's more to him than her village's tales, but that's only the beginning of her adventures..

Moana's plot offers an entertaining adventure with plenty of laughs mixed with serious moments. Between the pretty colors and heartwarming "Disney" moments you'll find some darker tidbits. Moana's dad lost his best friend in a storm at sea, and his mother's age is finally catching up with her. Speaking of the grandma, she's an awesome character and role model for Moana, and it's nice to see some realistic maternal relationships explored.

Moana herself is young and headstrong, but also clever and relatable. Maui comes across as arrogant but may have a heart of gold buried deep within, and the amusingly oblivious chicken Hei Hei had many of the children (and some adults) in the theater bursting with laughter. The characters are complex, relatable, and entertaining from start to finish, even if there is a distinct lack of an antagonist.

"You're Welcome" Clip


Score: 9/10

Going in, I half-expected music similar to pieces from Lilo and Stich, which (while not bad) didn't seem to resonate with most audiences the way Frozen (I could hum Let It Go backwards by now) or Tangled's songs did.

Thankfully, as all too often is the case, I was wrong. Moana's songs manage to both fit the setting and leave an impression. The vocalists performed brilliantly, the lyrics are clever, and they're spaced well throughout the movie. Who knew Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Maui) could sing?

The one exception comes about halfway through the film with a song called "Shiny", which gets props for creativity, but notably divides viewers on its overall quality.


Score: 9.5/10

A must-see for Disney fans, and highly recommended to everyone else, Moana's a new contender for best Disney movie. I went in with high expectations, and each one was matched and surpassed.

Both children and adults will love this heartwarming tropical adventure. Heck, I'm in college, and though my people may consume too much ramen, and pull excessive all-nighters, we dragged ourselves to the cinema and didn't regret a second of it. Definitely check it out, and sit through the credits to see an amusing after-credits scene!

Questions & Answers

  • Do you think Moana is better than Frozen?

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