Disney's Moana continues to rule the box office, taking an impressive $81.1 million over the Thanksgiving weekend. Worldwide, its takings currently sit at around $94.4 million, and that's before the movie opens in the U.K. and most of Europe. All things point to Moana being an absolute triumph for the House of Mouse, and it's pretty easy to see why.
With top notch animation, Moana tells the story of the titular heroine, a young girl destined to become leader of her small island. Moana sets out across the ocean to find the demi-God, Maui, and restore the heart of Te Fiti in order to save her island. However, she hadn't bargained for Maui being so... big, and also difficult. Voiced by Dwayne Johnson, Maui is undoubtedly a Disney character that will become beloved by many for his humor and shape-shifting. He also sports some impressive tattoos. In his role, Johnson also gets to deliver one of the movie's best songs, "You're Welcome". No, really, you are. Take a look, above.
While Johnson might not be the best singer, he really does do an admirable job here, suiting the style very well indeed, and the song has composer Lin-Manuel Miranda's hallmark all over it. It's catchy, upbeat, and a joy to watch on screen, whether you've seen the movie or not. In fact, the whole score has come in for some high praise from critics, and Miranda's songs (with Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina) are highly infectious.
Moana has also been praised for subverting the usual Disney Princess movie; there's no romance, no heroine weakened by her need to find a man, and it gives young audiences a strong, independent role model to look up to. Actress Auli'i Cravalho, who lends her voice to Moana, also praised the movie for being a journey of discovery that an audience can relate to, pointing out that female empowerment is something that is needed in society right now. It's been noted that Moana follows a Disney movie formula, but also brings something fresh, new, and exciting; a perfect combination which has resulted in very favorable reviews.
Moana is another big tick for Disney, who have enjoyed a lot of success with their original offerings in recent years, including Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and of course, Frozen. While the latter might still be beloved in households across the globe, it looks as though Moana could finally break its spell and deliver some new songs for young kids to sing over and over again. That might not be the best news for parents who are still trying to let it go, but at least the songs in Moana are equally as good. You're Welcome.
- Moana (2016) release date: Nov 23, 2016