As the very best animated Disney films often do, Moana marries mythology and musical to depict a princess struggling to find her place. However, Moana blasts beyond this tried-and-true method by introducing a transformative detail: Moana is more concerned with following her own values than she is on cozying up to a love interest and ruling as a princess. The film sports wonderful songs that are used in crucial bits of storytelling, the voice-acting is incredibly strong, and the plot features some interesting beats and develops a potent theme. There are interesting tweaks to the humor and animation styles as well, which keeps the film looking and feeling fresh throughout. Moana herself practically overflows with heroism, and she is perhaps the most complete and realistic Disney princess to date.
There is an undercurrent of awkwardness in almost every large-scale disaster movie that is very difficult to shake, and it is especially evident in San Andreas. The movie very badly wants to tell us the story of heroism in the face of abject disaster – and to do that the narrative necessarily focuses on a handful of characters for the audience to relate to during the calamity. Unfortunately, when coupled with the reality of showing city-wide destruction, the massive loss of life that must take place off-screen begins to weigh down the popcorn-flick levity that San Andreas really wants to create. This very basic conflict muddies this movie somewhat, but judged on the scale of a fairly mindless summer blockbuster movie, it does far more right than it does wrong, and most of what it does wrong is almost an artifact of this kind of disaster movie. if you’re capable of ignoring the massive loss of life occurring beyond the edges of the screen and focusing just on the characters that San Andreas wants you to, you will certainly have a fine time. If you’re not, you may start to wonder why you care so much about one girl when San Francisco just went 20 feet underwater after all of the buildings fell down and people were still trying to escape.