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Friday, February 10, 2017

Moana (2016)

Here is another Disney movie with a strong character with brown skin, this time from Hawaii.  Moana  draws on themes that are familiar from films like Mulan and Pocahontas: The heroine isn’t just buoyed by her own inner strength, she’s drawing on the teachings and traditions of her culture as well. Moana is the daughter of a Polynesian chief, being groomed to succeed her father and advise her people, but she’s as much the recipient of received wisdom as she is blazing her own path.  She is guided by her grandmother, the tales of her people, and the desire to fix things that have happened in the past to make the future bright for her people.  She is brave, resourceful, and independent.  But she also gets a little help from Maui, the god who tilted the world off it's axis when he stole the heart of Te Fiti, and Moana aims to have him help her restore it.  The music is a winning combination of a collaboration between Samoan musician Opetaia Foa’i, composer Mark Mancina, and Hamilton composer/star Lin-Manuel Miranda, and it draws on Polynesian drumming and choral vocals for a rich, hypnotic sound.  All in all a great option in the Best Animated Film category, and a step above Zootopia, the only other that I have seen to date.

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