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Indyfreak's Movie Reviews (503)

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Moana (2016) 
Moana - Shiny but a little shallow...
3/4 stars

MOANA is Disney's latest princess movie and it's pretty good. The story beats are predictable but the characters are likable and interesting. The title protagonist Moana is a positive role model and Maui (Dwayne Johnson) is entertaining as the conceited but kindhearted demigod Maui.
MOANA does not feature a romance or a traditional cackling villain like FROZEN or TANGLED;how refreshing for a change. It's a coming of age seafaring tale which might once be considered a boys own adventure except this time it's a girl. The animation is the most fascinating thing about MOANA since it's so beautifully done. The water effects and the characters' body movement carries on the fluidity achieved in TANGLED and FROZEN.
The musical numbers are well done but sometimes the transition seems expected if not forced. Which leads to the problem with MOANA. As well accomplished as the animation and the character development is, it's nothing new to be frank. Now this doesn't detract from the movie or make it bad but it's hard to ignore. There's even meta-humor about the formulaic plot in the script but it's not enough to avert attention to this. One moment which doesn't fit the movie but is perhaps the most interesting because of its originality is an encounter with a giant villainous crab (Jemaine Clement) whose villain song looks like a campy David Bowie number;it's way more fun than it sounds. Trust me.
Still, despite those complaints, its strengths make MOANA a fine family movie and a crowd pleaser for casual moviegoers of all ages. It's solid but not spectacular Disney fare.


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