I got the opportunity to see Disney’s “Moana” over the weekend, and was blown away. There is a reason Disney is the animation company to beat, because they’re the best at it. “Moana” is a family film for every part of your brood, and take the brood, they’ll love it.
“Moana” is about ‘princess’ (she’s the daughter of the chief, so same thing) Moana (voiced by new comer Auli’i Cravalho), who has been drawn to the water all of her life, despite her father, Chief Tui (Temuere Morrison) protests. When the island begins to have troubles, and by prompting of her Grandmother (Rachel House) she takes a stone, the heart of Te Fiti, and leaves her home to seek out the demi-God Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and to have him return the heart to where he stole it from. Many adventures, and songs, ensue.
This Disney film is refreshing, to say the least. This is a story of a girl discovering and becoming who is she, without a dude. Spoiler – there’s not even a male character her age in this. None! I love it!! A teenager scared of who is she and what she’s expected to become, goes through her own journey. Love it madly!!
As the usual Disney animated film, this one is driven by its music. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) and Opetaia Foa’i (band ‘Te Vaka’) wrote the music. The songs and music drive the soul of this film. It becomes embedded so much that you don’t even realize that’s why your heart is beating faster – it’s the music that grips you.
Directed and written by Ron Clemens and John Musker, these two also did another oceanic Disney film – a little flick called “The Little Mermaid”. Although Ron and John worked with ‘water’ on Mermaid, this is their first digital film, and it’s a whole different…. Ocean. This water is a character not just an element. Like the rest of the characters, it is well thought out and beautifully done. They have another instant classic on their hands.
“Moana” hits theaters November 23rd, just in time for the long weekend so take the family – especially your tween and teenage girls. This is a lovely story of strength, empowerment and discovery of who a person can be. Be prepared, by the December holidays everyone will be singing “How Far I’ll Go” “You’re Welcome” or my favorite “Shiny”. Grab a lei and sail as fast as you can to your local theater!!