In my opinion, I grew up in the ‘bad Disney’ era.
The era of the handsome prince, the beautiful dress, the downtrodden servant girl and the ‘ugly’ relatives. The era of the happy ending which only ever involved getting your guy.
To be honest, the only Disney film I really saw until adulthood was Jungle Book, and I wasn’t bothered. I grew up unaware that my only fulfilment would be through a fabulous ball debut and the fittest guy in the room. In fact, I grew up aware that the whole premise was ridiculous and sexist and a bit crap, really, whilst at the same time, retaining a love of clothes, nice shoes, handbags and even, sometimes, pink and glitter. I survived a non-Disney childhood, essentially, with gusto.
However, when my girl (who is four tomorrow, which I can’t believe), got the princess bug early on, I decided to put aside my preconceptions, in a maternal show of altruism. Like most kids born this decade, the first words she ever sang were ‘Ledditgo’, even before she knew where the song was from or who sung the words, she’d picked it up from her nursery buddies.
We sat down to watch Frozen, and within 10 minutes I was in bits. If you have a sister, the scenes where Elsa and Anna grow apart, unable to play together, are so, so sad. It made me want to go and play with my sister, and I’m in my forties. Of course, when true love’s kiss turned out to be that of her sister too, I was sobbing into the back of Tibbs’ hair.
Since then, we’ve enjoyed Brave and Tangled, too. Strong, healthy girls with a plan and ambition and all the best lines.
Moana was an easy choice for us at the cinema, because I choose what films we see, and I have a lot of love for Dwayne Johnson, or The Rock. He provides a major character voice in the film. Both Tibbs and I fell for the film in seconds. If you’re considering seeing it, here’s some reasons why you should:
- The soundtrack is wonderful. It has some fantastic songs, which have great meaning and are really lyrically rich too. If you have Spotify Premium you can get the whole album, which we have, and we listen in the car and sing along.
- Moana is a cool girl. Really cool. The film is about adventuring beyond your borders, and she couldn’t be more inspirational as a character. Plus, Moana is pretty normal looking, although her head and eyes could be more proportionate, otherwise, she’s a nice shape for a young woman, with gorgeous, natural hair.
- Moana’s grandmother is a central and influential character, and a brilliantly off-beat heroine and inspiration. She also has some very cool songs, and her line, “I’m his mother, I don’t have to tell him anything” is a classic.
- Maui, the shapeshifting demigod, has these wicked tattoos, which explain his life and his significance in folklore. They are great for getting kids interested in the Polynesian history and culture.
- If you are interested in history, honestly, Moana got me reading and exploring more – I learned about the Long Pause. Google it!
- There’s some genuinely cinematic moments in the animation, the sort of long sweeps of naval scenery you get in Game of Thrones, or aerial shots in films like Gladiator. It’s stunning, and focused all around the beautiful ocean and its treasures, which is a thrilling subject for children, isn’t it?
- It is most definitely NOT a girl’s film. It’s a film for all. Dads and daughters, mums and grandmas, – there’s something in it for all. I think, or at least I interpreted it that Moana is an only child, so it’s a good call if you’re a parent of one.
- The colours. Polynesian pinks, corals, blues and greens, beautiful gentle seas and stars, it’s a real thrill for the eyes.
This is my very favourite song from the film:
Hope I’ve convinced you! I noticed it’s available on Sky Cinema to rent or buy, so I bought it, so that we have the DVD forever. I really hope it remains a house favourite for a long while to come!
So, maybe this generation of children’s parents don’t have to make the call about whether their kids are Disney or not, because Disney’s made the changes and the changes are good.
Although…still not sure about Beauty and the Beast.