#1 – Moana (2016)
I really fought the urge to rank Disney’s Moana as my #1 film of the 2010s. I tried every other film in my top five at this position. The rational part of my brain told me I couldn’t call a movie in which the third lead is a chicken the best of the decade.
But ultimately the decision came down to one thing. If I were asked to create a list of my ten favorite movies of all time, I would put Moana on it. I would consider the other titles on this list, maybe even include one or two of them depending on my mood, but Moana would definitely be there. And therefore it’s here.
Moana is adrift at sea after failing at her mission and being abandoned by the demigod Maui. At her lowest moment, she is visited by the spirit of her grandmother, who gives her just the musical pep talk she needed.
‘Shiny’ is a glam rock song that Clement performs in full-on David Bowie mode. Lin-Miranda Manuel says that he was inspired to write the track after Bowie’s passing.
Though Moana‘s title character is obviously in the lead role, the film’s biggest star is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who voices the demi-god Maui. Based on an actual figure in Hawaiian mythology, Maui is said to have wielded a giant fishhook, raised islands from the deep, lifted the sky, slowed down the sun and invented the coconut tree.
Johnson is a hoot in what’s essentially the genie role from Aladdin with a lot more tattoos. But unlike Robin Williams, he complements the film more than takes it over.