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Circus Rambles - Moana

June 15, 2017

I can't call this a full review, so I'm instead calling it a ramble.

 

I saw Moana right at the end of 2016 with a friend, and throughout the movie I had this certain nagging feeling that I couldn't quite put a name to. I eventually figured it out, though: guilt. Specifically, I felt guilty for not being as into Moana as I should have been.

 

There are so many points in this movie's favor. It has good music, great voice acting, absolutely gorgeous animation. I really appreciate that Moana and Maui are just friends and never develop anything romantic; it's refreshing. The scenes with Moana and her grandmother are heartwarming, and there's a particular scene with the two of them near the end that I won't spoil but that literally moved me to tears. I was really close to my grandmother before she passed away in 2011, and so that hit close to home for me.

 

But...something about it keeps me from calling it an amazing movie. I guess part of it is the story? Nothing in the story itself ever really grabbed me, with the exception of the ending, which I thought did enough different from the Disney norm to be really interesting. And I never got attached to the pig or the rooster, whose names I don't remember at the moment. In a movie that works so hard to subvert Disney tropes, they felt particularly unnecessary, and I didn't find their antics charming most of the time. It's especially egregious that there are two sidekicks at all, when only one of them even goes on the big epic journey.

 

I definitely can't say that I disliked this movie, and on some level I feel like I'm nitpicking. But I just can't call Moana great. I can call it good, though. It was definitely good, and I still feel comfortable recommending it. I'm just not in love here. Or rather, I'm in love with parts but not with the whole. I know...I'm a horrible person.

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