The Lance

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New on DVD: Moana

Moana makes waves and smashes clichés

Auli%27i+Cravalho+stars+as+the+eponymous+Moana.+Dwayne+Johnson+voices+demigod+Maui.
Auli'i Cravalho stars as the eponymous Moana. Dwayne Johnson voices demigod Maui.

Auli'i Cravalho stars as the eponymous Moana. Dwayne Johnson voices demigod Maui.

From https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8408/29721606381_13c42d4041_b.jpg

From https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8408/29721606381_13c42d4041_b.jpg

Auli'i Cravalho stars as the eponymous Moana. Dwayne Johnson voices demigod Maui.

Disney Princess movies have become such an iconic staple of American culture that their plots, characters, and themes can be boiled down to an almost mathematical formula; a beautiful, but troubled, girl craves more from her life, so she embarks on a buddy comedy-esque adventure where she discovers a sense of purpose and falls in love along the way.

In Disney’s most recent smash hit Moana, the animation giant manages to adhere to their formula for success, while simultaneously challenging clichés and modernizing the idea of a princess movie.

The film chronicles the story of Polynesian princess Moana, who is expertly voiced by sixteen-year-old Auli’i Cravalho. The young girl disobeys her overbearing father by leaving her island to seek the help of the ocean and an infamous demigod, Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, to help restore her island to its former glory.

Like her many princess predecessors, Moana discovers her true potential along her journey and undergoes a personal turning point. What makes this movie different, however, is the distinct lack of romance and the heroine’s fierce sense of independence. Moana has been praised as “the most unapologetically feminist princess yet,” by The Daily Beast and a “badass feminist” by The Odyssey Online. This influence, combined with the expert songwriting of Lin Manuel Miranda sets Moana apart from Disney’s other animated princess movies.

In this situation, the age-old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” holds true. Disney manages to adeptly manipulate its classic formula for success, while still providing an interesting and fresh heroine, who is an excellent role model for young girls everywhere.

 

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New on DVD: Moana