6 Reasons to See Disney’s Moana

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Screenshot from “We Know The Way” Youtube clip/ scene from Disney’s Moana

The Sound of the Islands

When Moana was announced, many latched onto the fact Hamilton impresario Lin-Manuel Miranda was working on songs alongside Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina. It would have been simple to recreate Lilo & Stitch’s Hawaiian-inflected “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride,” but the songs here are filled to bursting with the beating heart of the Polynesian islands. “We Know the Way,” the song used in the film’s marketing, is the one audiences will immediately recognize as Miranda’s. Its beating drum rhythm acts as a work song, a melody to galvanize Moana’s people as well as herself. Cravalho’s “How Far I’ll Go” will remind Disney fans especially of princess anthems like “Part of Your World” and “Reflection,” though where those two were melancholy wishes, this is a dominating call of confidence.

The song most reminiscent of Frozen is “I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors),” a clarion call when the young girl has lost her way. Even some of the odder songs, like Maui’s smug “You’re Welcome” illustrate the character, regardless of the fact that, tonally, it doesn’t quite fit the setting. It’s a song that plays on the thematically similar “Friend Like Me” from Ron Clements and John Musker’s juggernaut film Aladdin. As you’re driving to visit relatives this week and looking for a little joy to get through dinner, the Moana soundtrack will come in handy!

Next: Calling (Out) All Princesses