Strangely, this is the first Disney film in a while I've been surprisingly split on...
Yes the animation is spectacular and the setting seems completely original. And don't get me wrong.. This is a solid, smart, well-paced movie. But by Disney's massively high standards, I was a little disappointed with certain aspects.
But the entire movie felt strangely cookie-cutter to me.. The characters felt unusually predictable. Moana felt like a repeat of Ariel from The Little Mermaid to me with a bit of Jasmine from Aladdin thrown in with the same "see the world!" motivation. While she has more spunk and strength than Ariel might have, this movie feels strangely like a re-treat of previous Disney movies to me.
That being said, the movie is very funny. I saw this one with animetist
and we were both chuckling all the way through. The delivery and timing of some of the comedy was excellent, though I certainly would've enjoyed seeing that chicken finally cooked! Both of us kept on hoping that the chicken would disappear every time he was thrown overboard and cheering when it looked like he would be killed. But the chicken just wouldn't be offed! The chicken was a bit like a cockroach overstaying its welcome. But despite this, the pleasant characters, even if very predictable, were funny and enjoyable to watch.
The ocean concept was perhaps my favourite part of the movie. Moana having the ocean actively helping her all throughout the movie was so original and amazing to watch. Somehow Disney created "ocean body language" .... How is that even possible?! If it is, only Disney was able to figure it out so perfectly. Loved any scenes with the ocean.
I guess I normally expect more complexity from Disney movies nowadays after things like Zootopia and deeper core issues to be addressed. But I guess every movie can't be a Zootopia. And Moana is still a humourous, relatively original, beautifully animated Disney movie. Even if my standards are very high for Disney, I still recommend this movie highly.