There's been so much controversy over the House of Mouse's latest entry in the princess adventure genre that no one is giving it much credit for the things the movie does right.
I'm not putting the following under the normal Pros column because Disney should have been doing this all along:
- The producers actually used actors of Polynesian/Oceanic descent.
- There's finally a princess story that doesn't even hint at a romance.
My only address to one particular controversy: Maui is not fucking overweight! If people can't tell the difference between exaggerated musculature (just like Disney freakin' did with Hercules) and morbid obesity, maybe the critics need to go to medical school.
To me, Maui's appearance is based on two very popular Samoan public figures, both of whom do voice characterizations in this movie: Dwayne Johnson and Troy Polamalu.
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1) Moana is the princess I would have loved to see when I was a child. She's brave and curious, someone who tries to do the right thing even when it goes against her parents' wishes. Auli'i Cravalho embodies Moana perfectly, and she has a damn fine singing voice to boot.
2) The demigod Maui is one of the few consistencies across the many Pacific island cultures, so he's the perfect choice as Moana's antagonist/mentor. Yeah that's right. He works against our heroine for a chunk of the movie, not out spite, but a certain amount of denial/regret/shame for fouling things up.
3) Dwayne Johnson plays against his normal superdude stereotype. Maui has a major flaw that Johnson tries to earnestly convey.
4) Maui's tattoos as comedy relief (besides the chicken).
5) Lin-Manuel Miranda's gorgeous tunes.
6) This is a movie that you can definitely take your young children, too. No sexy stuff and no sly double entendres. This is a pretty straight forward adventure/quest story.
1) As much as I love Dwayne Johnson, I really hope he doesn't cut an album any time soon. I give him credit for trying something new.
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