I didn't really want to see Moana, but I have an 8 year old daughter who has been wanting to see it for about 2 months now. She even marked the calendar, so there was no hoping she would forget.
Moana is the newest Disney princess. It is a story of a young woman who will soon be chief of her tribe. But she is drawn to the ocean and was chosen by the ocean to return the heart of Tafiti that was taken by the demigod Maui. Maui is a narcissist anti-hero who thinks only about getting back his fishhook, and predictably he ends up being a good guy in the end. It is his fault that the islands surrounding Moana's are dying. We find out through Moana's grandmother that Moana needs to have Maui (who has been exiled to a deserted island for 1000 years) return the heart to Tafiti, but in order to get there, they must journey through very dangerous territory. Their last foe is the most scary and the CG on the volcanic Te Ka is outstanding. There is a twist at the end story when Te Ka is defeated that I didn't expect and that I won't share in order not to spoil the movie.
This movie was not stirring at all. The plot was bland and the "villains" didn't really personify evil or hate like other Disney villains have so perfectly done before. Also, it really frustrates me the lack of strong male roles these princess movies have been producing. I get it that she's independent. I get it that the only wisdom in the movie comes from a grandma. I get it that her father is irrational and risks starving his people. I get it that Moana's mother and not her father encourages her to "seek out her heart". I get it that the other leading character Maui is a self-absorbed demigod male. And the ending (which I won't spoil, but I want to) just confirms my thoughts: men aren't needed and just ruin everything. No clear line between good and evil. No love between male and female partnership.
In the end, my daughter and her friends loved the movie. The chicken and the little pig were pretty funny. And the animation was great. I can't get over how real their hair looks. The music was not that inspiring, but like all Disney movies, the princess' voice and ability to hit super high notes was admiring.
I recommend this movie to little girls. Also, if it isn't obvious, Moana is Polynesian. So there is a lot about their culture that was nice to know. Although, I don't think they had female chiefs, but I may be wrong.
To the Christian: There is really nothing wrong with the movie. Disney is not proactively bashing strong males, they just seem to not think they're that important to make them co-heros.