Young navigator Moana (voice of Auli'i Cravalho), the daughter of a Polynesian tribal chief, is chosen to find a precious artifact that could save her people. She teams with demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to locate a legendary island, and together the pair explore fantastical lands and encounter incredible sea creatures in this animated adventure from Disney. The film's soundtrack includes contributions from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony and Grammy-winning creator of the popular stage musical Hamilton. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. ~ Daniel Gelb, Rovi
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Auli'i Cravalho, Jemaine Clement, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Scherzinger.
Release Date: Nov 23, 2016
Rated PG for peril, some scary images and brief thematic elements.
Runtime: 2 hr. 13 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Animated, Comedy, Family
Moana is a wonderful breath of fresh air into the Disney princess genre which had relied on damsel in distress for far too long. Moana luscious visuals and joyful music perfectly captures the energy of the storytelling on display. Moana’s story is a classic example of “The Heroes Journey” with all the hallmarks evident along the way. Auli'i Cravalho voices Moana with an earnestness that brings true heart and depth to her character. Dwayne Johnson is well cast as Maui, a Polynesian Prometheus trickster character, and works as a perfect counter balance to Cravalho. Moana relies on so many classic tropes that it sounds like it should come off as stale. Instead it is a vibrant journey which is closer to what I’d hoped Pixar’s Brave would have been. Moana will likely face a bevy of comparisons to Frozen, an overrated movie in my opinion, but it’s a far better film overall.