Posted on Picturehouse blog, 1st December 2016.
Disney has a runaway hit on its hands with Moana, a heart-warming coming-of-age tale that will leave you wiping away a tear and singing the songs all the way home.
Young Moana (newcomer Auli’i Cravalho) is faced with a classic Disney princess dilemma; to do her duty as laid out by her loving and protective parents (Temuera Morrison and Nicole Scherzinger) or to follow her adventurous spirit and discover what she is capable of. Moana’s free-spirited grandmother Tala (Rachel House) tells Moana of the legend of Maui (Dwayne Johnson); a shapeshifting demigod who once stole a precious green stone from the life-giving goddess Te Fiti. When food becomes scarce on her home island of Motunui, Moana knows that she must set sail to restore the ‘heart’ of Te Fiti and bring life back to her village.
Moana is next in a great line of strong female Disney role models that began with the likes of Pocahontas and most recently took the form of Frozen’s Elsa and Anna and it is a joy to watch this head-strong young girl step out of everything she knows to rediscover her roots and the will of her ancestors without a romantic plot in sight.
The animation is bright, rich and visually spectacular and the story is compelling and moving with more than a little sprinkling of magic. Heihei the chicken makes for an adorable companion to Moana and is quite possibly Disney’s most endearingly dim character to date and Dwayne Johnson’s Maui brings humour to Moana’s crucial quest. The songs, however, will clinch Moana’s success with ‘How Far I’ll Go’ likely to give Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ a run for its money.
Moana is an entertaining emotional journey and a must-see for all of the family. Whoever knew Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson can sing?