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The Magic of Moana

Let’s throw back to the morning of January 24th, Golden globes were still on my mind, but I did want to see who was nominated for the Oscars. I just saw La La Land (more details coming next week), and I wanted to see what I could secure on my Oscar ballot because I’m always ahead of the game *wink* *pause…not*

So I pulled up the Safari app on my phone and went to searching. Turns out it was the day that the nominees were released. I was reading through the nominees on this wonderful NPR article and got to this section by the author Glen Weldon regarding the animated feature film nominees:

“First Impressions: Kubo has a great story, The Red Turtle is achingly beautiful, Zootopia is wildly popular (which doesn’t hurt) and delivers a message (ditto), Moana is the juggernaut that is Moana, and My Life as a Zucchini …. I haven’t seen My Life as a Zucchini.”

I was so intrigued by the phrase “Moana is the juggernaut that is Moana.” From my little knowledge/experience with the movie, so far, I was puzzled. At that moment, I realized that I had to get off of my butt and see the movie that I have been delaying since it was released the day before Thanksgiving. I did not realize that this movie would become… and I am having a really tough time bringing myself to write this down for the whole internet to see … my favorite Disney movie of all time.

via Flickr

“JACK! WHAT? You are telling me that a new Disney movie is your favorite of all time? What about Lion King?!??!?!?!?!” says one of my imaginary readers. Yep, you heard it here first. Moana was an incredible movie. INCREDIBLE. I laughed. I cried. I smiled. I reminisced. Boy was it good. And there wasn’t just one reason that it was good. There were SO MANY FACTORS.

***SPOILER ALERT*** (There will be spoilers and the movie has been our for 3 months, sooooo……)

Before I dive in (pun 100% intended) to the factors, Moana is the latest Disney Princess movie. It stars a young girl named Moana,  who sails away from her family on a Polynesian island to find a demi-god named Maui and save her community and world. I hope that was a good high-level overview for those who have been living under a ROCK (incoming pun alert).

The Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Factor. I love Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This may come as a surprise but he is one of my favorite actors of all time. He just seems like such a great guy. He is the kind of person that I’d love to grab a meal with. This was (correct me if I am wrong) his first dive into voice acting… and it went very well. I was initially a bit worried as his physical expressions usually add a lot to his acting. I was happy to see that they brought a good bit of Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson’s physicality into his character, Maui. And I loved the way he sang! On that note…

The Music Factor. Weeks after seeing this movie, I am still listening to the soundtrack. And believe me, I’m not usually a big soundtrack guy (read as: a large human shaped like a compact disc). The music was naturally woven into the movie and was such an important part of the film’s storytelling. I really enjoyed the big songs including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “You’re Welcome” and “How Far I’ll Go” performed by the Auli’i Cravalho portraying the title character. But the song that blew me away the most was “Shiny” by Jermaine Clement, who you may know from Flight Of The Concords. He was channelling his inner David Bowie on a song that brought the house down while shedding deep insights on our cast of characters. Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame was involved in the musical direction, how is that for staying on trend, kudos to you Disney.

The Disney Animation Factor. There is nothing like when a movie has a budget of a $150 million. The high quality visuals and intricate details that they were able to create: astounding! Just take the ocean in the movie as an example, at some points, I felt as if I was looking directly out at a clear blue ocean on a calm day. You can see all of the little shells and crabs scattered throughout. At some points during the movie, I would just get taken back by the beauty of it all.

The Grandmother Factor. Do you want me to get emotional? Build a character with a great relationship with their grandmother. That relationship spurred along the entire plot and warmed my heart more and more each time. Moana’s grandma encouraged her to follow her dreams, each and every time. Such a beautiful character *insert crying emoji here*

via Flickr

Did i mention that I saw this movie alone… I will talk later about how much I enjoy going to movies by myself in a later post! Wow — I’m building a pretty long to-do list today.

As you can probably figure out, I really enjoyed Moana. I thought it was an excellent showcase of what Disney can do. What a juggernaut of a film! If you haven’t seen it, try to find a theater near you that is still showing it! 10/10, would recommend to a friend.

In the comments, what is your favorite Disney movie? My top three are Moana, The Little Mermaid, and Lilo & Stitch. Hmmm I never thought about it but all of my favorites have something to do with the ocean…

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