Of the movies I've seen in 2017, two have hit me with an emotional punch that no others have. Those films are Moana and Wonder Woman. This won't be a traditional review of either film, rather an unpacking of ideas and feelings about why they really hit a nerve with me.
Author's Note: I'm aware Moana was released theatrically in 2016.
SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. CONTINUE READING AT YOUR DISCRETION/PERIL.
I loved both Moana and Wonder Woman.
I love the brightness, vivid color, and clarity both films presented. Both films are buttressed by a terrific musical score. Both women are portrayed beautifully, by Auli'i Cravalho as Moana & Gal Gadot as Diana, and they get splendid support from Dwyane Johnson as Maui and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. Both films touched a nerve for me in really unexpected ways. Both are elegant in the simplicity and directness with which they engage their audiences.
There's real pleasure and joy in watching these women fulfill their destinies. As befits great heroes, they have to overcome everything: their parents, social norms, overbearing machismo, and finally using love to both overcome the final challenge and fulfill their own considerable potential. Both films' heroes achieve greatness by simply becoming that which they have always been, and being willing to commit the ultimate act of love - sacrifice - to save humanity.
With this in mind, I'm going to spend some time comparing these two films and seeing what it is they've done well and why I've felt so moved by both of them.
There's a lot to unpack here, so let's get to it. More below the jump.