Moana (2016) presents a myth that we don’t see that often. Moana is a very Polynesian story. This animated film has beautiful characters, a good story, a tropical island, music and song, and a lovely look.

There is no mistaking its roots with the culture firmly embedded. There’s Polynesian garb, way of life, and characters. There’s also mythical gods.

On a Polynesian island a village is in danger of losing its livelihood. So the important teenager on the island, Moana, tries to bring back the powers of life by restoring the heart of goddess Te Fiti. Without Te Fiti’s heart the powers of darkness have their way on the island and the ocean.


Maui is a demi-god who’s a bit of a villain because he stole Te Fiti’s heart.

Strangely enough, he’s Moana’s companion as she ventures out. Moana needs Maui to help her–if he can, considering he stole the heart of Te Fiti.

But there’s a very down to earth reason for him stealing the goddess’ heart, which is portrayed sentimentally. Underneath lies a history.

Maui is bulgy muscles and bushy hair with a personality the size and shape of a mischievous god on the loose. Maui is a bit of a performer, but he has a good heart. Dwayne Johnson has good voice for the character as he effortlessly contributes to Maui’s whole package. Maui is never boring and is humorous.

Moana herself is spunky and bright.

The elders of the village are a mix of the wise—Moana’s influential grandmother—and the stern—the village chief who is Moana’s father, who strictly warns Moana going beyond the reef–who both reflect something of Polynesian culture.

A comical dumb rooster comes on board Moana’s journey on the ocean. On the way, there’s the scary stuff—a huge demon—but lots of lovely Blue Ocean and song.  The sacredness of water is very important.

The mythical tones are ingrained, but if there is one problem I had with the movie Moana is when Moana is on the seas with Maui it tends to drag a little. However, others will find their personality clashes and learning to get along entertaining.

* * * * (out of * * * * * stars)—good

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