The official trailer for Moana has dropped, and hype for the upcoming animated Disney film reaches new heights. After a few teasers, audiences are falling in love with this adorable musical comedy. Its lovable characters and stunning visuals are appealing, but what’s really got fans excited is the film’s unique soundtrack. The snippets of Moana‘s songs we’ve heard so far sound like they could be one of the film’s highlights. However, is Moana set to become the new Frozen?
Music has always been a vital element in animated Disney features, be it lyrical songs or just the soundtrack, and Moana looks like it is no exception. The music in the trailers is beautiful and gives a terrific sense of the story and background.
The film features the talents of composers Lin-Manuel Miranda, best known for creating the wildly popular Broadway musical Hamilton as well as New Zealand songwriter Opetaia Foa’i. The combination of these two accomplished musicians adds a unique flavor to this mystic Pacific adventure. Dwayne Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho voice Maui and Moana Waialiki, but whether or not they’ll have singing parts remains to be seen.
What does this all mean for Moana? The last Disney film that got this much out of its soundtrack was Frozen, so will Moana become Disney’s new poster child?
How Far Can Music Go?
How far will Disney stretch their formula that saw Frozen find resonance and unprecedented popularity largely based on its hit song “Let It Go“? The song spread like wildfire and filled theaters across the world. It became the highest-grossing animated film of all time and Disney capitalized on its success. The success of the song was, in part, why Frozen got the spotlight while other animated Disney films like Bolt and Tangled, quietly faded away.
With Frozen‘s extraordinary success still fresh in our memories, it’s easy to guess what Disney will do with the excitement over Moana‘s music. It’s too early to tell, of course, as it will come down to how well movie tickets sell this November and how much of an earworm the soundtrack becomes.
Letting Frozen Go
Let me clarify this first: I enjoyed Frozen. Good music, great characters, and a fun story. All in all, it’s a good movie. However, there is a point at which it becomes too much of a good thing, and Disney has long since passed it. For a while, it didn’t look like we’d ever hear the end of that song. Maybe this November, we finally will. If Moana does well, it might tone down the Frozen fad. On the other hand, if it does too well, it could become a phenomenon all its own.
Moana has all the basic ingredients that made Frozen what it is: a strong princess with magical powers, light-hearted supporting characters, and amazing music. That doesn’t mean it will do well, nor does it mean Disney will give it a bigger fanfare than it needs. But maybe it should, if not just so Disney can move on from Frozen. I don’t think any one film should hold the spotlight longer than others in its league. At the same time, Moana shouldn’t be loved just for not being Frozen. It should get the attention it deserves for what it is, music and all.
All in all, Moana doesn’t have to be just popular enough to take Disney’s mind off Frozen. There’s no magic number that it has to hit, in songs or story or anything else. Like any movie, it only has one job: have a good story and tell it in the best way possible. From what I can tell so far, it looks to do just that. We’ll see soon enough what Moana brings to the table, and whether or not Disney can let it go.
Moana hits cinemas on Nov 23.
Check out the official trailer for Moana here.