You can never deny the fact that every time Disney comes out with a movie especially during the holidays, it might bring out the brilliance of the company with great power. We just had Zootopia last spring and now Directors John Musker and Ron Clements (Aladdin and The Little Mermaid) brought upon us another great animation for families to watch. An adventurous teenager, Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, she meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Moana was the most enjoyable family films to come out in the past few months and to be fair, it’s what Disney is being known for. To start off, the animation is ridiculously beautiful. It’s crystal clear with each passing film the studio makes especially when the ocean’s in the background, it looks so realistic. Newcomer and Hawaiian native, Auli’i Cravalho as the voice of the title character was absolutely outstanding. In her debut role, what a way to start a career that will hopefully become popular in the future. Moana has so much charm to herself and proving that Disney does a great job at focusing on female protagonist to honestly care about and making her a princess girls can have as a role model. There should a rhetorical question about “What can’t “The Rock” do?” As Maui, he’s so charismatic traveling alongside our heroine as he makes funny jokes and can shape-shift into animals. Also, he can really sing. This is also has a very good amount of humor when it’s between our lead characters and her stupid pet chicken, Heihei (voiced by Alan Tu. And the tattoo’s on Maui’s body provided a great ounce of laughter throughout. The music was a standpoint and you know it’s going to be great if one of the writers for the music is Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. There was probably two songs that really stood out. The First being “How Far I’ll Go”. Such a great song that it’s probably gonna be nowhere near the greatness of “Let it Go” from Frozen (still love the song). But it’s a possible contender for Best Original Song for the Oscars. And “You’re Welcome” which was sang by Johnson. What almost made this a great one was that it felt a bit rushed at the beginning and there something missing that should’ve been explored. It’s a bit formulaic for these types of Disney movies and the ending felt a little bit anti-climatic but still a satisfying conclusion at best. It totally feels like a traditional Disney movie as the provides a good message and explores the Hawaiian culture without insulting them just like Lilo and Stitch. Perhaps it isn’t my favorites animated movie of the year as Kubo and the Two Strings still has the reigns and out of the most recent Disney animations, I feel like Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen are better.
Moana keeps the Disney animation streak alive. Great female lead, beautiful lush animation, a compelling story and terrific music.