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Reviews Comments: Good but still a letdown Moana film/book review by The Real Yuma

The production design is great. Motunui and the Mother Island are beautiful, the Kakamora fortresses are stunning, and Lalotai is as spectacular as it is deadly. The cast is a great one, with one exception, and Dwayne Johnson steals the show. The songs are the most beautiful I\'ve heard from a Disney musical since Princess and The Frog, and the score is great. Personally though, I would have gone with John Powell as the composer. The animation is the best computer animation that Disney\'s done thus far, and the 2D animation is no slouch either. However, this blend is nowhere near as impressive as Treasure Planet\'s blend. That film still remains the directors\' magnum opus. Moana is sadly a big step down from it.

As far as character designs go, I\'m not seeing any specific reason they absolutely had to go with CGI over hand-drawn animation.

Moana herself is a pretty generic protagonist. Auli\'i Cravalho\'s singing is sublime, but her acting is just all right. I can\'t help but feel that one of the previous actresses was a better fit. This wouldn\'t be a problem if it wasn\'t for the fact that Maui is such a better-developed character. Pua would have been a better companion for Moana since he\'s an actual pet of hers, and a true friend.

Maui\'s backstory would have been better shown through his tattoo\'s. He should have been a quarter-god: not enough deity to join the gods, but not human enough to be accepted by his people, and so he was cast out into the ocean, rescued by his goddess grandmother (or the Mother Island herself) and given his fish hook.

Tamatoa steals the show for the few minutes he shows up, and that\'s it. He should have been Te Ka\'s second-in-command to make him a true villain instead of a mere obstacle. The Kakamora should have been her mooks. Te Ka herself should have had dialogue and given more complexity. She could have been a truly insane villain and given lines such as \"Te Ka? Is that who I am?\" And it\'s not like there\'s a shortage of actresses that would have been fitting for her.

They should have add in forgiveness as a theme of the movie, and although the theme of identity isn\'t badly-handled, it is damaging when a previous film (KP 3) handles the theme so much better. They should have hired Terry Elliot & Ted Rosso as screenwriters instead of Jared Bush. I would have loved to have known how xenophobic Chief Tui is. They should have added a scene where someone from another island washes up on Motunui\'s shore. He could have mentioned \"the Taint\" and its spreading, which would have justified so much of the movie taking place in open water. Instead of an epic adventure we are just given an adventure.

In the end, although it is a good movie it is far from the greatness we\'ve come to expect from masters of the Disney Renaissance. In fact, by the end of the movie, this feels like some sort of origin story, as if they\'re just setting up for a sequel. Personally, I would prefer another movie being a prequel entitled \"Maui.\"

Comments

  • MFM
  • 10th Dec 16
Both your commendations and criticisms of the movie are pretty shallow and not really explained in any meaningful capacity, and you instead just spend most of the review talking about what they should have done. The bizarre specifics with which you explain these alternative courses of action make it feel like you either went into the movie expecting to not like it because it didn't have those things, or your expectations for the movie were otherwise misplaced.
  • TheRealYuma
  • 11th Dec 16
Excuse me for being tired, wary of spoilers, and space-conscious. Also, you might want to rethink that. How could I expect to not like for the above-mentioned when I didn't even know about those things in the first place?
  • Valiona
  • 24th Apr 17
MFM has some good points, particularly about TheRealYuma\'s alternate suggestions for the film (one of my pet peeves with They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot entries, but I digress). I also believe that lack of space generally isn\'t an excuse, nor is avoiding spoilers- they should respectively be an impetus to write concisely, and one thing you should keep in mind while writing the reviews for people who haven\'t seen it yet. As it stands now, it seems to be more a listing of how the movie should have been than an evaluation of the quality of the work.

That said, I didn\'t especially care for this movie, and one of my main complaints was the cast of characters. Moana seemed fairly generic, and while her determination to save her people was an admirable trait, I personally think Anna from Frozen worked better as a more human character. Maui is a good example of two major risks in writing a Jerk with a Heart of Gold- the first is that if you err a bit too far on the jerk side, you make them unlikable, and the latter is that you don\'t provide a good and relatively believable process of Character Development, it comes off as forced. Tamatoa was a One-Scene Wonder, and somewhat memorable, but not well-developed or relevant enough to be a good main antagonist. Te Ka turning out to be Te Fiti was a nice twist, but the fact that it happens at the end of the movie means that the revelation doesn\'t get that much mileage, and Te Ka ends up coming off as a practically mindless lava monster for much of the film. The complaint about Te Ka not having dialogue is a bit simplistic, but good antagonists need to have meaningful interactions with other characters, and to do so, they generally need to speak. Most of the other characters (apart from Moana\'s grandmother, whom I actually liked), were somewhat forgettable, particularly Moana\'s animal companions.

I also didn\'t especially like the songs. I may not be a music critic, but the music wasn\'t quite as catchy as in some of the more memorable Disney films, and the singing occasionally seemed a bit lackluster (particularly Moana\'s), such as in the opening song about life on the island. The song was a good attempt at a montage, but it didn\'t quite work as well as \"Do you want to build a snowman?\" or the montage of Carl and Ellie\'s lives from Up.

So why haven\'t I written a review at this point? To put it simply, the movie inspired little more than apathy, disappointment and the desire to get to the next DVD on my Netflix queue, and those aren\'t especially conducive to writing a review that\'s supposed to evaluate something fairly. I make a point of pointing out the flaws in works I liked, and trying to find at least some redeeming qualities in works I didn\'t like, but the latter is a somewhat harder task this time. I may change my mind later, but I\'ll need to get into a better frame of mind for reviewing.

But I digress. My point is that this review, while not the best, is probably the closest to how I feel of the ones on this site, which is why it\'s a bit disappointing that it isn\'t better written.
  • TheRealYuma
  • 1st May 17
Valiona, I really can\'t fit much more, if anything, in this review. I tried before.
  • marcellX
  • 2nd May 17
Excuse me for being tired

Ah yes, the good old I was tired, off/on my meds, sleep deprived, etc. excuse. This is not an assingment with a deadline, you chose out or your own volition to make it, when to make it and how to make it, take responsability.

I really can't fit much more, if anything, in this review. I tried before.

The issue is not that you needed more space, but that you used the space given very poorly.

On to the review itself, I gotta agree with MFM, it seems less that the movie did things badly and more that the movie didn't do specifically what you wanted and specifically how you wanted. I don't know what to tell you, the movie was not made specifically for you.

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