Moana / Vaiana (a review)

Day 74. 123,730 words.

(Reviewer’s note: I am not adding images to this review, and probably won’t bother in future. Google image search has gimpversioned itself to death and basically made it a huge pain in the arse to find images of decent size and quality that don’t breach sharing agreements, so fuck ‘em)

Not having seen this movie either for some unfathomable reason (although Wump did reveal that she’d seen it at the cinema with mommo, the fact that she was happy to sit through it again was enough to tell me that it was alright), the other day we sat down to watch Moana. Or, as it’s called in Europe for some reason, Vaiana.

My original assumption, which was that the main character’s name was Moana and that’s why the movie was called that and the “translation” to Vaiana made no sense, was shattered by the main character’s name being revealed to be Vaiana. So it was Moana that made no sense!

Don’t worry, USians. I’m getting there.

In fact, the movie was dubbed both ways, so the name of the main character and the name of the movie remains perfectly consistent. She’s Moana in some places, and Vaiana in others. I didn’t quite get to the bottom of why, but it was something to do with copyrights and trademarks. Also moana being a brand of ice cream in Romania, and Moana being a famous porn star in Spain.

None of which really makes much difference to the movie.

I really enjoyed this one too. It had some great characters, some nice reversals of expectations while still maintaining that familiar set of Disney tropes. And some great voice performances from the cast. But we all knew that The Rock could sing.


Yes, a very enjoyable movie, great songs, and a few laugh-out-loud moments. I didn’t find anything to be dissatisfied with, although I am admittedly an uncritical movie watcher. Oh, Alan Tudyk was in the movie, but he played like “Villager #2”. I would have liked him to have more of a role … but I don’t know, maybe this was an intentional move to not make it all about The Alan Tudyk Character. Which happens – to me at least, because I love him – in every movie where he has a role.

As an amusing link-up to yesterday’s movie review, Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame provided the voice of Tamatoa in this movie, and did a pretty good job. He also voiced the Fleshlumpeater in The BFG. So there was that. Oh, he’s also a friend of Taika Waititi and they performed together, but they’re both New Zealanders so that checks out.

In conclusion:

Another great movie. Go check it out on, uh, Netflix or on DVD or download or stream it from somewhere, I don’t know. By the time I finish writing this review, the technology and platform will have changed again so why bother.

This movie earned a Vaiana out of a possible Moana.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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8 Responses to Moana / Vaiana (a review)

  1. stchucky says:

    And yeah, I guess I concur with most of what the Honest Trailer said this time too, only Hell no you didn’t just say Dwayne couldn’t sing. He did fine. You want to see bad singing, check out Vinnie Jones in Galavant.

  2. stchucky says:

    And speaking of singing, from now on every time I hear Wump telling Toop about how she’s going to move out and get a place of her own as soon as she turns eighteen, I will hear this song in my head and have a very, very hard time not crying.

    Although yes, some days it seems like eighteen can’t come soon enough.

  3. thelinza says:

    Alan Tudyk was the chicken.

    • stchucky says:

      Holy crap, you’re right! I completely missed that on IMDB, I only saw the villager credit.

      Oh man, okay, I’m back on board. This movie was perfect.

  4. It was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it, but the entire plot was unnecessary and pointless, as I realized before the honest trailer came out. That’s about the most honest honest trailer evar. XD

    • stchucky says:

      I don’t know about pointless, Moana / Vaiana did have to leave her island and its stagnating settlement to return the heart to its rightful place before the Nothing could destroy the world. That much seemed to have a point.

      Now, Maui was a pointless extra. I mean, I loved the character and it was a lot of fun to watch, and I guess he taught Moana / Vaiana to navigate and he ran interference in the final showdown … but really, was that necessary?

      The story could have worked if Moana / Vaiana had just learned to navigate some other way, or if her grandma had told her to bypass Maui and go straight to the right island. Or, you know, if the ocean had helped a bit more.

      But it would have been a pretty boring movie.

      • Agree about Maui, and that’s not even to mention he CAUSED this problem and supposedly gave all those things (thank you, you’re welcome) to the people by what he stole, right? Using it? So, yeah.

        But if Moana was necessary to solve the issue, which the ocean had known the solution to the entire time, it certainly was nice that the world could wait 10 years for her to grow up. Thanks, Nothing, for waiting all that time for the Chosen One to get old enough to travel on her own.

        Or, you know, choose someone who is ready when the emergency has first begun. Maybe try that.

        Or do it yourself because actually the solution is within your demonstrated skills. You can make big waves, and you can carry the stone.

        So again, Honest Trailers nailed it.

        Sorry if this is flippant. My level of interest in this debate is proportional to how important the debate is!

  5. Pingback: Jungle Cruise (a review) | Hatboy's Hatstand

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