NTWON: Moana

For July's Nothing to Watch on Netflix, Mick watched Moana, an animated film by Disney Animation Studios starring Auli'i Cravalho as the titular Moana and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Maui.

Moana is a story about a Polynesian tribe, more specifically the daughter of their chief (who is not a Princess). The plot borrows heavily from Polynesian island mythology in order to add a new flair the typical Disney animated feature. The story centers mostly on Moana's journey to find herself as a young woman with big dreams of seeing the world. However, she is forbidden to see the world because her dad says so. It is only when there's a blight on her island paradise home does Moana take it upon herself to save her village.

In many ways, Moana fits the typical model of a Disney animated feature. At one point, they even hang a lampshade on the fact that Moana is pretty much a princess since she is the daughter of the chief and has an animal sidekick. However, it many other more important ways Moana flips the script on the Disney model as the story focuses more on her personal development instead of securing a main love interest. There is most certainly a happily ever after, but not in the traditional "they get married and have a lil baby" kind of way. Again, Moana is a story that primarily focuses on a young woman's self-discovery and her rapidly developing confidence in a world full of doubt. 

However, things do not stray too far from the Disney mold, as it still features several original songs. The Rock actually has a decent set of pipes on him and sings what is easily the catchiest song in the entire film. The movie's music features some heavy hitters as writers and performers, including Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Concords and Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame. 

Moana is a fun and flighty fling that perfect for relaxing on a hot summer night. While the target audience is for children, there are still plenty of scenes and themes that keep adult audiences entertained as well. If you're a fan of other Disney animated features, you'll certainly like Moana as well.