Moana is 2016 American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy comedy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, the 56th Disney animated feature film. It is being directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, and co-directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. The film introduces Auli’i Cravalho as Moana and features Dwayne Johnson as Maui. The film’s songs were co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It is scheduled to be released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 23, 2016.wikipedia
Moana Review :
The title character, 16-year-old Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) lives on the island of Motunui, the daughter of the local Chief (Temuera Morrison). Moana has a happy and loving life, but is filled with a wanderlust and upset by her father’s orders that no one ever travel beyond their island’s reef. A crisis begins when, without warning, Motunui’s fruit is spoiled and inedible, and the local fish seem to have vanished from the water, putting everyone’s life in danger. Encouraged by her grandmother (Rachel House), Moana defies her father’s orders and leaves her home, in order to save her people.
That quest includes finding the demigod, Maui (Dwayne Johnson), who is inadvertently responsible for what is happening to Motunui. 1000 years before, Maui — whose massive, magical fishhook gives him the ability to shapeshift into any animal — stole a powerful object from the lava monster Te Kā. Now, Te Kā’s vengeance is causing the plight facing Moana’s people. Moana must enlist Maui’s assistance in returning the “heart” of Te Kā to its rightful place – but that is, of course, easier said than done.
Moana quickly establishes itself as an entertaining, gorgeously animated film, but the opening scenes also feel a bit overly familiar when it comes to Disney animation storylines. A teenage girl who longs to see and do more than her daily life allows – possibly with a loving but stern/overly-protective father as an obstacle – is obviously not a new concept. Indeed, Moana directors Ron Clements and John Musker famously told a story with a similar set-up with the classic The Little Mermaid nearly three decades ago.
However, once Moana’s journey begins, those similarities aren’t overwhelming. It helps that Chief Tui Waialiki’s decree isn’t just for Moana, but for all of his people (so he’s overprotective about everybody!). Plus, Moana’s mission has high enough stakes that her wish to see more than she ever has, while important for her, isn’t the only thing on her mind by a long shot.
Walt Disney Animation Studios has been on quite a roll this decade, releasing Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck-it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia since 2010. Despite Winnie the Pooh being a rare box office bust (though reviews were strong), this is an incredibly impressive run of films, with all ranging from very good to excellent. Whatever alchemy is at work these days continues to thrive with Moana, which feels effortlessly funny and engaging, powered by very likable characters and great music.
Coming off the uber-success of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, working alongside Opetaia Foa’I and Mark Mancina, has delivered a wonderful array of songs. Appropriately, the main influence here is the music of the Pacific Islands, where Moana takes place, on display in numbers like the rousing “We Know the Way,” but the songs also venture into other terrain as well. There’s the high-tempo and very funny “You’re Welcome” (which would arguably be an instant classic simply by virtue of giving us The Rock singing a song in a Disney animated movie) and the wonderfully bizarre “Shiny,” sung by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement – an awesome, Bowie-inspired track. The film’s requisite Disney heroine track about wanting more from life (See “Part of Your World,” “Belle,” etc.) is “How Far I’ll Go,” which I felt was a bit pedestrian at first – but then grew on me via some well-done reprises.
Johnson and newcomer Cravalho are wonderful together, with Johnson once more proving what expert comic timing he has as the incredibly narcissistic, goofy Maui. Cravalho meanwhile helps make Moana lovable from the start and imbues her with the proper spirit and determination, as she sets out on her journey – oh, and she has a hell of a singing voice too!
Appropriately, for a film about a young woman on a hero’s journey, Moana is quite the hero. Her perseverance and courage are wonderfully conveyed and I imagine many kids will come out of this movie with a new character to look up to – and well they should. It’s also refreshing to realize that there’s a fun bit of a roll reversal here as far as making the plucky teen character the driving force and Maui, who is, essentially, a superhero, the sidekick. A very funny, meta moment in the movie involves the question of whether calling Moana — who is next in line to be Chief after her father — a “princess” is appropriate. Regardless of what you call her though, Moana stands out as a terrific protagonist, in a film that refreshingly discards any element of a love story and simply follows Moana doing what she must for her people.
Directors Ron Clements and John Musker’s — whose credits include not only Little Mermaid, but Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog and more — expertly propel the story forward backed by some incredible visuals. This is the first fully computer-animated film from the duo, but they feel completely at home here, with plenty of standout sequences, including a group of pirate creatures who seem like distant cousins of the Gremlins attacking Moana and Maui, or the trippy aforementioned sequence featuring Jemaine Clement as a giant crab.
Another important “character” to mention is the ocean itself, which is a living force that often helps Moana – who doesn’t have any powers herself, but often nearly seems like she does thanks to the ocean propelling her forward or parting before her. Several of these moments (including one in the beginning with Moana as a ridiculously cute toddler) are among the film’s best, and I loved the depiction of the ocean when it sometimes stretches a portion of itself out towards Moana, looking like the vivid CGI child of The Abyss’ breakthrough water tentacle.IGN
|Release||:||23 November 2016 (USA)|
|Stars||:||Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk, Phillipa Soo, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger|
|Overview||:||A young woman uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui.|