Reporters find ‘Moana’ to be more appealing for children, but enjoy upbeat soundtrack

The ‘Moana’ logo.

On Dec. 2, freshmen Emma Boersma and Anna Frankel saw the new Disney movie “Moana.” The movie tells the story of Moana Waialiki, the daughter of her home island’s chief, and the demigod Maui working together to return the heart of the goddess Te Fiti in order to save Moana’s people. Along the way, the two meet a variety of monsters who are after the heart and its power to create life itself.

Emma: Aww, I liked “Moana.” It was cute.

Anna: I really liked a lot of the scenes. My favorite by far was when Moana had the conversation with her grandma.

E: What? Why was that your favorite? You’re so weird, Anna. I liked the scene where Maui hit the lava guy with his magic fishhook and made a loud boom. Also the self-deprecating shade on other Disney princess movies was so funny. Like when Maui said something like “If you start singing a song right now, I’ll throw you off the boat” to Moana.

A: The lava guy scene was way too dramatic. Her conversation with her grandma was so much more important. Before the conversation, she was so discouraged. Her grandma convinced her that she could save the world by herself! She also sang the best song in the whole movie in this scene: “I Am Moana.”

E: First of all, I said I liked the part where Maui hit the lava guy, not the scene afterward, which I agree was too dramatic.

Second of all, the best song in the whole movie was the one the crab sang, “Shiny.”

A: That song was good, but that crab was so creepy. If I was Moana in that situation, I would have run away screaming.

E: You’re right, the crab guy was pretty creepy. I liked his shell a lot, though, especially when it caught the light. And if you were Moana, there wouldn’t be a movie about you because you’re not very heroic.

A: Emma, if I were Moana, this would be the best movie ever made, which it isn’t.

Moana was pretty impressive, though. I think she might have been my favorite character – or the grandma.

E: What is with you and the grandma?

I don’t know who I liked best. I didn’t really like any particular character, but I do know that I didn’t like Maui. He was so annoying! And his song was stupid!

A: “You’re Welcome!” That song was my second favorite!

But Maui was probably my least favorite character. I hated how self-confident he was. He thought he was the most important guy in the universe and that no one else could possibly do what he could. It was so annoying.

E: Hmm, my second favorite song was “We Know the Way,” the one where the voyagers were sailing on their boats.

And you’re exactly right. I hate how full of himself Maui was.

Now that I think of it, the plot was pretty generic – a chosen one who tries to save the world with only one other person is not anything special. And the characters weren’t even likeable enough to be invested in.

A: Yeah, the plot was pretty generic.

But I loved how independent and strong Moana was. She wouldn’t let anyone keep her from doing what she believed in. I totally got invested in Moana, and I loved how in the end she accomplished what her grandma had always wanted for her.

E: Stop with the grandma!

You’re right, I did like how independent Moana was. But Maui! This dude just kept raining on her parade.

A: I can’t believe she stuck with him that whole time.

E: Well, she thought she needed him. It kind of contradicts her self-sufficient attitude, though, because she was leaning on a man to do something she could have done by herself.

Also, she kept on insisting she wasn’t a princess when she totally was. She’s the daughter of a chief! That makes you a princess.

A: No it doesn’t! It makes you the daughter of a chief.

Anyway, I agree that relying on Maui diminished her ability to rely on herself. I’m pretty sure this is the first Disney princess movie to not actually have a Prince Charming because Maui and Moana didn’t fall in love. I wish she could have been completely independent.

 E: I really liked the animation style too. Moana was so pretty. I liked how it was animated, but certain parts of the movie were pretty realistic – like people’s hair. It was kind of like the “Frozen” style, but certain things were a little different – again, like the hair.

A: Yeah, I was surprised about how much I liked the animation. I usually am more interested in movies that seem realistic, but everything in Moana was just so pretty – the scenes reminded me of being in Hawaii – and I didn’t mind the style of animation at all.

E: But can we just talk about how completely useless that rooster Hay Hay was? He was there only to be funny, but he wasn’t funny at all. He was just stupid. This may be kind of dark, but I light-weight wanted him to be left on an island or to have drowned each time he walked off the side of the canoe instead of Moana saving him.

And back to the plot, there were so many holes in it. Like, why did Moana and Maui need to save the day? Why couldn’t the Ocean do it with its magical powers?

A: I have no idea why they even included the rooster. It didn’t add anything to the movie. I was kind of hoping for him to die too.

The whole ocean thing was confusing. Why did the Ocean choose Moana? How did the grandma even know the legend about the heart of Te Fiti? No one else on the island seemed to know or care about it.

E: And the grandma said that the voyagers stopped sailing pretty recently, but there were like 10 rocks stacked on that hill. If each rock represents a chief, that means there were 10 rulers on that island. If each chief rules for about 50 years, then that’s 500 years ago. That is not recent!

A:  There were more like 20 rocks on that hill, which would make the grandma about 1,000 years old!

E: Yeah, that can’t be right…

Well, it’s not like a little kid will be thinking this hard about the plot holes.

I think it’s the type of movie someone our age or older won’t like, but a little girl or boy would definitely like the characters and laugh at the stupidity of Hay Hay the rooster.

Now that I’m realizing all the plot holes and how much I actually didn’t like the characters, I don’t like the movie as much.

A: It’s the type of movie I would have watched five times in a row when I was little.

E: That reminds me! Maybe that’s why Maui was included – to attract boys as well as girls!

A: If so, it was probably successful. It got 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

By Emma Boersma and Anna Frankel

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