I watched it on Sunday and I have SO MANY feelings. I had really high expectations going in, and the movie didn’t disappoint.
The animation is so goddamn beautiful, it was hard to contain myself while watching. They apparently had two separate special effects/animation teams just for the hair and the ocean in the movie. I mean, just look:
They did a fantastic job casting it, with all of them of Pacific Islander descent (except for Alan Tudyk, who plays the chicken sidekick). My favorites were Jemaine Clement and The Rock. The girl they picked for Moana did a great job. I was really surprised to find out she did all the singing for her part.
Three things really captured me watching this movie (and I’ll admit I teared up through some of it):
1) Disney did their research and it showed. They successfully told a non-Western story without relying on a bunch of stereotypes (I mean, I like Aladdin, too, y’all, but it plays into a lot of orientalism that makes it harder to watch as I’ve grown older. Mulan is a slightly more successful attempt).
2) Moana was the focus of the story with no love interest in sight. There was no pressure for her to marry, either. And the movie didn’t seem to suffer from it.
3) The music is amazing! I BOUGHT the soundtrack (not typical of me) and have been listening to it non-stop. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote most of the songs and his style is present throughout. He managed to write something THE ROCK could sing (and rap) to. RedHandedJack was particularly shocked at that. A Samoan-born singer, Opetaia Foa’i (of the band Te Vaka) also significantly contributed to the music.
Anybody else seen this and want to talk about it? I’m finding it hard to contain my excitement over this movie, and I will definitely be watching it again in theaters.