I love Disney movies. They always have such a magical feeling. This is why I was very excited when Disney announced a new animation called Vaiana or Moana (depending on where you live). In this movie you follow Vaiana on her journey across the ocean to find Maui and restore the heart of Te Fiti. During these adventures Vaiana comes across all different kinds of characters/ creatures and ofcourse this movie has its fair share of songs. Did I make you curious? Then do continue reading. However before you do, I would like to give you a small spoiler warning.
Just like most Disney movies, Vaiana has amazing music that you will remember long after the movie has finished. My favourite is the song “I am Vaiana”. It is just beautiful. This might be one of my new favourite Disney soundtracks. Especially this song in combination with the scene in the movie gives it an overall magical feeling.
All the different characters
There were so many amazing characters in this movie. There is ofcourse Vaiana. She is the daughter of the village chief, who wants to go and explore the sea. However due to her responsibilities she stays home and learns how to take care of her people. Yet when a darkness threatens to take over the island she leaves her people behind and goes on a quest to find Maui and restore Te Fiti’s heart. She is a brave girl with a great sense of responsibility. She is strong and very relatable as a character.
Then ofcourse there is Maui the demi-god. What makes him such a powerful character is his background story. He was left behind by his parents, only to be found and trained by the gods. Ever since he has been doing what he can to receive the love of the people.
Vaiana’s grandmother Gramma Tala is Vaiana’s guide through out this movie. Without her Vaiana would not have gone on her quest to save her people. Although she looses her grandmother early on, she’s never truly gone. Even at the end of the movie she helps Vaiana make the difficult decisions. She also has a part in one of my favourite songs, ‘I am Vaiana’.
Lastly I have to mention HeiHei and Pua. The two adorable, but slightly strange animal sidekicks. HeiHei is a weird rooster that unintentionally joins Vaiana on her quest. How he manages to survive is a mystery to everyone. Pua is the adorable pig that stays behind on the island. Honestly, no Disney movie is truly complete without some cute sidekicks and these two were really cute and funny.
The overall design of the movie
The overall designs of this movie are amazing. From the vibrant colours, to the different landscapes, I really love it. I cannot wait to get the artbook for this movie.
The folklore inspired story
Disney tends to use folklore, or legends, as its inspiration and I expect that this movie is no exception. After searching the internet I came across several pages that mentioned some of Polynesian stories that Disney was influenced by. Apparently Maui is a well-known figure in Polynesian stories and there is a being who resembles Te fiti as well, although called differently. However that is all I know so far. I am very curious to read more about these stories.
The villain (shiny)
One of the villains in Vaiana is Tamatoa. He is a giant crab who stole Maui’s hook and lives in the realm of the monsters. Here he hides all of his treasure and he attaches treasure to his back in order to elevate himself and make him more shiny. As a villain, I didn’t find him particularly interesting. Moreover, Disney villains tend to have the best songs and his song about being ‘shiny’ was a bit underwhelming for me.
Released in the winter?
Obviously this movie has a summer theme with its beautiful weather and tropical islands. Yet it was released in the winter. I wonder if it would have had better results if it had been released in the summer. What do you think?
Overall Vaiana was a wonderful movie and probably one of my new favourites. It has amazing characters, great songs and a beautiful and vibrant landscape. It was an amazing movie. I highly recommend this movie to any Disney fan or anyone who loves animation movies.