Moana: The BRWC Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Moana: The BRWC Review

Dirs. John Musker & Ron Clements.

I watched this movie right before I emigrated from my home country to the UK, literally the day before, so this tale of a girl going off to create her destiny may have entranced me more than normal. However, this movie is still objectively wonderful, and inspiring, and happy and another Disney success.

Total newcomer Auli’i Cravalho graces the screen as Moana, a wilful daughter of a chief (not a princess! Definitely not another Disney princess!) who aches to discover the world beyond her island’s reef. Her father forbids it, and she intuitively knows he fears something in her that may defy him.



Sure enough, her free-spirited, water dancing grandmother shows her an untold story of her tribe – they were once voyagers who sailed far and wide, unafraid and fulfilled with their true purpose.

After this discovery, brilliantly showed by shadow play on a cave wall, Moana’s mother gives her some food, she takes her pet rooster HeiHei (because every non-princess needs a dumb animal sidekick) and sets sail.

Chosen by the ocean.

It’s actually an amazing Disney movie. The songs are incredible – who knew the Rock could sing? Is there anything he can’t do? (Yes, he can never button his cuff links but nobody’s perfect) Maui (Dwayne Johnson) is a demigod Moana finds to ask his help in delivering the heart of Te Fiti back to her island, the loss of which is causing a disease to spread throughout Polynesia. They face dangers along the way including Jermaine Clement as a giant coconut crab – his song is a fantastic David Bowie tribute – with a low point of the movie being sentient coconut pirates who briefly assault Moana and her crew. Lame, but it is still a kid’s movie I guess.

Moana is awesome – she is independent, kind and willing to ask for help and give her own generously. She will make a strong and wise chief to her people, and is a fantastic instalment for the next generation of Disney loving boys and girls to be inspired by.


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Lauren Turner is an Australian media specialist and keen cinephile. She loves Robert Eggers and can be found at her local offbeat cinema in Melbourne.

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