1.) This is Disney…what do you expect the animation will be like. I will note that the water animation is incredibly well-done. It is like the ocean has a mind of its own (which is actually true in this film’s case).
2.) The artistic designs are…who am I kidding? This is Disney. Let’s just say that Disney does not know how to quit on how to be artistically creative. The Pacific Islander-inspired art is a nice touch on making this world look unique.
3.) The characters are fascinating enough to make you care for them. There are Moana (the chosen one to help the islands), Gramma Tala (the crazy yet fun grandma), Maui (the proud show-off), and Heihei (which I feel like the only reason he existed is they need to put in the typical animal sidekick). Most of these characters are great and enjoyable to watch (although Maui does have a certain problem that I will get to in a moment).
1.) I do enjoy the songs in the film. The one that stands out for me is How Far I’ll Go. I do find that a couple of the songs just did not work. One sticks out like a sore thumb, because it is a pop song while the rest are Pacific Islander songs. It is especially annoying when the character declares that he is going to sing about himself. Not a good way to introduce a song in a musical.
2.) Considering that the film establishes that the ocean is alive and helpful to Moana, it could have helped her much more in the main plot. To be fair, it does not goes as far as becoming a huge deus ex machina, but some of the things that happened could have been prevented if the ocean just helped out. I get what they are trying to do it with it, so this does not really bother me, but I can understand if this bothers others.
3.) At first, I thought I have something against Maui for a while (I thought he was just an uninteresting character). Eventually, I realized that something is wrong with the story. The story itself is fine, but the emotional connection is not really that strong for Disney fans. If you have been watching Disney films for a long time, you kind of know what is coming. It contains the typical cliches of any Disney film even if it is slightly altered. I still like the film, but if I am supposed to be emotionally invested, I barely did.
Moana is the latest Disney animated film to be released. A friend of mine has told me that this film is as good as Frozen, which is my favorite film of 2013. After watching it, I would not go that far. It is a great film, but nowhere in the same level as Frozen (although it manages to put a pretty cool Frozen Easter egg). Not that I expected it to be; the past Disney films show that Disney still got it. While the story is pretty typical, I enjoy the characters and the world much more. If you do not mind the typical story, I say Moana is a good watch for everyone in the family.
As for the Disney short Inner Workings, two words: not bad.