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Year : 2016
Country : United-States

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DokBrowne  [ 8.5 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

This is one of those movies so intertwined with my tastes as a viewer that I could spend 1,000 paragraphs commenting on and dissecting every last pixel of it, so the wiser move would be brevity. Let's see: for the tropical Disney animation division, it's not as organic seeming and charmingly odd as "Lilo & Stitch", and the direct reminiscence to past triumphs in the Disney catalog has reached a dizzying density (I could practically trace the origin of every character, plot point, scene, song, joke, and line to an earlier movie of theirs). Also I kind of agree that for one of the first times in the Disney Animation family tree, they made a movie that's a bit too long - the middle section with Jemaine Clement's crab and a couple other bits drags. Enjoyable on their own but cancerous to the pacing.

However, only a monster would take for granted the brilliant scientific formula that this company continues to refine, and as a lifelong devotee of these animated features, I'm the last person who would. Who cares if they don't think outside the box; as part of their proud heritage, they WANT to keep doing variations on the classic princess tale, so why stop them? Have you ever seen a computer animated world so stunningly gorgeous on a big screen before? Even "Avatar" didn't look this good. In ways more realistic I suppose, but not nearly so luminescent in its colors. If you ever pictured a tropical island paradise in your head, or daydreamed of sailing an ocean untouched by man, or just marveled at the sight of the sea and the trees, nature in its majesty, has Disney got an experience for you. If I live to see virtual reality become a mass entertainment option, entering "Moana" and walking down a corridor of viscous, translucent blue ocean waves that are also sentient and nurturing is going to be one of my first selections. My "San Junipero". I want to be in this movie. I am going to find any excuse to re-watch it on a regular basis for the remaining 40 or so of my years.

Anyway, it's also got a wonderful titular heroine, a boisterous comic relief foil that finally lives up to The Rock's histrionic stage presence, a foundation of recurring Polynesian-tinged Broadway-pop showtunes whose catchy, soaring melodies are almost matched by their clever lyrics ("You're Welcome") and emotional potency ("How Far I'll Go", "Where You are", "I Am Moana", "Know Who You are"), and at long last a sophisticated evolutionary step beyond the need for a villain. The climax of this movie is positively Miyazaki-an: instead of the violent defeat of a mustache-twirling a-hole, it's the benevolent spiritual cleansing of a mythological force. It's something that actually works as a progressive breakthrough for the protagonist in her development, promotes sympathy towards our enemies, and evokes a wondrous appreciation for nature, instead of just a superficial checkmate in the game between good and evil. It may be the most conceptually and visually beautiful climax the Disney Animation Studio has ever come up with.

Damn, I failed at brevity again. Whatever. The more I think about this movie, the more I love it. Its hit and miss humor, stretched out mid-section, and overly familiar ingredients are dwarfed by its grandiose entertainment value, extraordinary technical craftsmanship, exotic canvas that's the stuff dreams are made of, and currents of existential wisdom that Disney rarely aspires to.

Weighted Rating : 7.0
No. Ratings : 1
No. Reviews : 1

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Ranked by Rating
2016 5
2010's 136
All-time 3158

Ranked by No. Ratings
2016 4
2010's 460
All-time 7776

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