In Ancient Polynesia, when an terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.
Release Date: Out Now (US) December 2nd (UK)
I have to say right out the bat, this film is absolutely adorable and should be bigger than Frozen but probably won’t be, sadly. It has all you want in a great film, a three-dimensional protagonist on a beautifully animated island surrounded by this gorgeous blue sea. Moana as a child is awkward and struggles to walk but her heart is golden as she saves Squirt from certain doom.
This film is a master of animated CGI although the tattoos on Maui’s body can steal the show. They are hand drawn and super sassy. Actually a lot in this film is super sassy, the sea, Moana, Maui, Maui’s tattoos… However it is very immersive and takes you too the Polynesian islands where the land is green and the sea is super blue while hinting at the more dangerous elements to the islanders such as the weather and food shortages. This was in a time before cargo ships.
There is a good mix of emotions in the film with really sad scenes being followed by comical scenes or ones with a sense of self – purpose. You are with the character at all times with however they are feeling, no matter if you want to feel what they do or not. A highlight is the fact there is absolutely no “Prince Charming” type of character in this film. Nada. Zilch.
The musical numbers are very typical of a Disney Princess film and where as there is no stand out like Frozen’s Let it Go the song, How far i’ll Go performed by Auli’i Cravalho is the sort of song that finds your soul. The character has to find out who she is and this song has no limits. There are other songs in this movie that are comical and speak the personality of a character at that time, Maui is very self assured and so his song reflects this. There is also a number that left me slightly baffled, it works in the movie but as this movie likes to break the fourth wall this one speaks to the audience in that “I’m the bad guy so here is my terrible cheesy song”.
This film really does carry on that family friendly magic that we know and love from Disney, there is plenty to keep adults entertained while the deceptively simple story line – and the little twist – should keep a child engrossed through out. Look out for the Disney references and stay right till the end for that last little end credit scene. It’s a doozy.