Tony's Take

MOANA review

moana-posterCome Sail Away on a Brand New Magical Ocean Adventure

From the studio who brought you “Frozen” and “Zootopia”, Disney’s latest tale revolves around a Polynesian island in the South Pacific.  “Moana” follows the young daughter of the Chief named Moana, as her people’s way of life is explored and her love for something greater is uncovered on the island of Motunui.  The island’s curiosities and gifts are dying and the only hope is to replace the heart of Te Fiti, an ancient stone that was once stolen by a demigod named Maui.  Since a young age, the Ocean has called to Moana and, with the help of her grandma, she learns that her fellow islanders were once a proud tribe of master wayfinders, sailing from island to island for their people.  Moana must follow the stars to find Maui and his magical fish hook and put-back the heart of Te Fiti, to save not only her island, but to fulfill her true desire in life.

The voice of Moana Waialiki is performed by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho.  Cravalho not only does a great job as her voice, but her singing voice is sublime; you can feel the emotion in every pitch of her voice.  Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, voices the demigod Maui.  His humor works very well in the role, but the biggest surprise comes in his singing voice.  Temuera Morrison voices Moana’s father, Chief Tui Waialiki.  Nicole Scherzinger voices Moana’s loving mother, Sina.  Rachel House voices Moana’s wise grandmother who also loves the Ocean, Gramma Tala.  Jemaine Clement voices an oversized crab with an obsession of shiny objects from the Realm of Monsters named Tamatoa.  Alan Tudyk voices Moana’s pet rooster sidekick, Hei.

“Moana” is a stunning mixture of a heartwarming story of the search for one’s true self with fun characters, a mysterious journey, incredibly beautiful animation, and a batch of new, catchy songs that only Disney can craft; one of the most fun journeys I’ve been on this year!  Let me start-off by saying that this is going to be a rave review.  “Moana” marks our second Disney trip to the South Pacific (Lilo and Stitch being the first), but the film isn’t just about the culture.  “Moana” blends the beautiful customs of Polynesian culture with the battle we all ultimately face with ourselves, what is our true purpose.  This theme is one of the biggest reasons that “Moana” will not only be successful, but successful across all demographics.  “Moana” has a strong cast of characters as well; Cravalho excels as the young Moana, Johnson is funny and perfect as the Polynesian demigod (as he is of Polynesian heritage), and Tudyk gets to portray one of the kookiest characters Disney has featured yet!  The film adds another layer to the viewing experience with its breathtaking animation; the waters of the Ocean look incredibly real, so real that you want to just jump-in!  As Disney can only do, “Moana” also features an impressive musical component.  Mark Mancina’s score uses authentic music combined with his usual orchestra to add another impressive element to Moana’s story.  The music also consists of new songs for you to play in your car for your children, courtesy of the impressive Lin-Manuel Miranda.  You’ll walk out of the theater singing “How Far I’ll Go”, “We Know the Way”, “You’re Welcome”, and many others for days!  It is here that the true talent of Auli’i Cravalho is uncovered and can be completely adored; bravo!  Last but not least, “Moana” follows a very fun and compelling Ocean journey, one that will appeal to both boys and girls.  What’s the most impressive thing about “Moana”?  The film marks the first Disney princess that doesn’t require a single love interest.  How about that!  “Moana” is as fun as it is important though, it shows that a Disney Princess doesn’t have to be a princess if she doesn’t want to, its powerful message of choosing your own destiny is heard loud and clear; hopefully paving the way for the future.  “Moana” has a run time of 103 minutes and it flows just like its Ocean, beautifully!  I absolutely loved “Moana” and I cannot wait to see it again!  “Moana” portrays a beautiful message to children of all ages, ethnicities, and genders; one that couldn’t be more appropriate in our current World.  “Moana” is my front-runner for Best Animated Feature, just wait until you see it for yourself!

“Moana” follows a young Polynesian princess as she must go on a quest to save her island before it’s too late.  The film features plenty of fun characters, a great story, beautiful animation, and an ear-pleasing soundtrack with a bunch of songs to sing-along to.  Do yourself a favor, take the whole family to see “Moana” this week!!    

clapbrd-004a-2576047clapbrd-004a-2576047clapbrd-004a-2576047clapbrd-004a-2576047clapbrd-004a-2576047 5/5

MOANA is rated PG for peril, some scary images and brief thematic elements, in theaters NOVEMBER 23RD!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *