Of course, the animation was impeccable as always. (I can never say enough wonderful things about the Disney and Pixar animators!) The scenery in this movie was just as stunning as the other movies I've seen. However, there was another fun element that we haven't ever seen this much of before- the top of the ocean. In Moana, the ocean was like another character itself.
There's a scene in the beginning of the movie with Moana as a toddler. She goes into the ocean and it pulls up around her as if she's viewing the ocean life through an aquarium tank. The sea turtle swims by and it's just breathtaking. The white foam, sparkles on the water and countless shades of turquoise and blue are so lifelike; it's incredible. (I love this scene! I found the international trailer so you can see it too!)
It's not a Disney movie unless there are a few Easter eggs hidden throughout. I figured there would be a few placed in the film so I made sure to pay attention. While watching it, we saw Sven, Wreck-It-Ralph, and I think I even saw Rapunzel's magic flower at the end of the movie! There was also a reference to Sebastian from The Little Mermaid if you stayed to watch the end of the credits!
My absolute favorite song on the soundtrack is "How Far I'll Go" which is a song that Moana sings at the beginning of the movie. (It's a beautiful song that is reminiscent of "Let It Go.") Throughout the movie, there are a few rephrases, each more empowering than the last. I've had it stuck in my head for days... and I'm very ok with that! (Here's a music video of the version of "How Far I'll Go" sung at the end during the credits!)
Overall, the movie is beautiful, stunning, and pure Disney magic. I love most Disney movies I see, but not all of them stir deep feelings within me. I teared up a few times during the movie, which is normal for me. (Toy Story 3 anyone?) But, I've also teared up a few times simply by listening to the soundtrack. Not every movie evokes that much emotion from me, so I know this one is a winner based on that fact alone.
In fact, Eliot and I are planning to go see it again tonight! (I've literally been waiting all week for this; I wanted to see it again earlier this week but we've been too busy!) I'm also contemplating how we might be able to get my parents, Jeremy and Nana to go see it while we're home for Christmas or over New Year's Eve weekend...
I welcome Moana to the Disney movie family with open arms. I know it will become a classic and people will enjoy hearing her story for years to come. °o°