Among the most difficult aspects of parenting is the matter of simply filling the hours in a day. Kids become bored after approximately twenty unstimulating minutes, so moms and dads have to constantly plan out diversions to keep their offspring occupied. Disney just did the parents of America a real solid, however. Animated movies have long been a go-to option for parents hoping to run out the clock, and they’ll be able to go back to Moana for seconds later this month, when the film re-enters theaters for a one-day sing-along engagement.
It’s a big year for the Oscars, and not just because of the movies. 2016 brought us a record-breaking 27 animated films eligible for Best Animated Feature, and today the Academy announced that there is a whopping 91 tracks eligible for Best Original Song.
Consider this the calm before the storm. Next weekend, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will open and dominate both the box office and every headline, drowning out each and every other movie currently screening in theaters. In the meantime, Moana took advantage of this quiet window to win one more strong weekend while Office Christmas Party got off to a pretty good start.
This weekend’s box office was essentially the hangover from last week’s big holiday: the numbers are a little smaller, very little in the top 10 actually moved around, and the only new release didn’t even come close to threatening the dominion of Moana and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The box office success of Moana feels like destiny: an old school Disney formula plus 21st century polish plus great songs plus the mere presence of Dwayne Johnson and near-universal critical notices is a surefire recipe for success. How do you bet...
It seems to me that Moana brought in two very different audiences this holiday weekend. For some, Moana was the newest entry in a long line of Disney princess movies and a step in the right direction for the studio in terms of inclusiveness and empowering young women. For others, it was a chance to cure their Lin-Manuel Miranda withdrawals after the turnover of the Hamilton cast and the end of the regular Ham4Ham sidewalk performances. That probably explains the odd mix of millennials and children at the recent matinee you attended.
Over nearly 80 years, the 56 feature films from Walt Disney Animation Studios have become beloved and instantly recognizable their iconic fairy tales, memorable comic-relief sidekicks, terrifying villains, and some of the greatest songs in cinema history. This week heralds the release of Disney’s latest animated film, Moana, which boasts songs co-written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. So there’s no better time to compile a list of the 25 best songs in animated Disney history — with a couple of important pre-list caveats. First, to avoid overloading the list with songs from only a few films, each movie here could only be represented by a maximum of two songs. Second, this list has films in the official Disney animation canon only, so nothing from Pixar or even The Nightmare Before Christmas. With that in mind, here’s the list!
Like many of the shorts that play before Disney and Pixar’s latest animated films, the one attached to Moana — Inner Workings — shares some similarities with the feature it precedes. Both are stories that explore the familiar conflict between head and heart; between pursuing one’s passions and begrudgingly submitting to practicality. Oh, and they both feature the ocean. Moana also shares a few similarities with other Disney films (like Finding Dory, it also has a hilariously stupid bird), but it could benefit from having a little more in common with Frozen.
Since the introduction of the Best Animated Feature Oscar at the 74th Academy Awards in 2002, we’ve seen a steady exponential increase in animated movies over the years. Pixar, and, by extent, Disney, has usually dominated the competition, with eight wins out of ten nominations, followed by DreamWorks and Disney’s animation studio. This year, we have a record 27 movies eligible for the award, and while the Academy can pick only five to nominate, for now it’s anyone’s game.
With Moana as Disney’s first Pacific Islander princess, it’s essential for the team working on the movie to do their subject justice. She’s the first non-white princess since Tiana from 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, and her story is based on a real South Pacific legend. It looks like the story and animation crew behind Moana know that putting in as much truth as they can about the Pacific Islanders’ heritage is essential to the movie. This won’t be a weak-sauce pastiche film, stitching together the bits of culture the filmmakers are interested in and eschewing the rest.