In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the Demigod to set things right.
“Moana” stars Auli‘i Cravalho as the voice of Moana, Dwayne Johnson as the voice of Maui, Temuera Morrison (“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” “Once Were Warriors,” “Six Days, Seven Nights”) as Moana’s no-nonsense father, Chief Tui; Rachel House (“Whale Rider,” “Hunt for Wilderpeople,” “Eagle vs Shark,” “Boy,” “White Lies”) as Moana’s trusted Gramma Tala; and Nicole Scherzinger (Grammy®-nominated singer, West End’s “Cats”) as Moana’s playful and strong-willed mother, Sina; Jemaine Clement (“The BFG,” “Despicable Me,” “Rio,” “Rio 2,” “What We Do in the Shadows,” Flight of the Conchords) voices Tamatoa, a self-absorbed, 50-foot crab; and Alan Tudyk (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Big Hero 6”) lends his voice to stowaway rooster Heihei.
Moana is a welcome step forward for today’s young viewers. I recently heard someone say “Strong is the new pretty”, and I couldn’t agree more. This totally applies to Moana, she is written smart and brave, with no signs of depending on a love interest or the need to be rescued at all. I sure hope we will be seeing more family films featuring strong female leads like Moana, that change the world for themselves. Though Moana is the star of the story, she doesn’t carry it alone. This film features several well written, and likeable characters, such as Maui, and my favorite Moana’s Gramma Tala. There is also a chicken that provides a half dozen laugh out loud moments. The visuals are amazing in this movie. So colorful, and clear that at times it’s easy to forget you are watching animation. I can’t say that the songs in Moana are my favorite, but I know a couple of little girls that can. What I like most about this movie is it’s ability to bring the audience into a culture and life that most of us know very little about. It’s an emotional journey, and one that celebrates this amazing earth that we ALL live on and way too often take for granted. Moana is a hit with every age in our family, 2 to 17, and even 46. We’ve watched it twice at home already. The blu-ray combo is one we are happy to have added to our collection.
Continue the adventure with hours of extensive and entertaining bonus features. If you are anything like me, you will enjoy these almost as much as watching the movie.
• Theatrical Short Film: “Inner Workings” – With introduction by the filmmakers, is the story of the internal struggle between a man’s pragmatic, logical side and his free-spirited, adventurous half. Created by a small team at Walt Disney Animation Studios in a unique, fast-paced style that blends CG and traditional hand-drawn animation, the short explores the importance of finding balance in daily life.
• Maui Mini-Movie: “Gone Fishing” – When Maui decides it’s time to take charge of the ocean and catch his next meal, Moana must show him the error of his ways … with a little help from her friends!
• Voice of the Islands – An in-depth look at how Pacific Island people and cultures inspired the filmmakers to create the story of “Moana.”
• Things You Didn’t Know About …
o Meet the stars of “Moana” in this dynamic Q&A featuring Dwayne Johnson, newcomer Auli‘i Cravalho, and famed animation directors Ron and John.
o Meet the musical team behind “Moana” in this fascinating Q&A featuring Opetaia Foa‘i, Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
• Island Fashion – Find out how costume designer Neysa Bové took on the unique challenge of creating costumes using materials and techniques native to the islands of Oceania.
• They Know the Way: Making the Music of “Moana” – Musicians Opetaia Foa‘I, Marc Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda take us on a personal journey through their involvement in the movie and how it changed their lives.
• Fishing for Easter Eggs – Dive deep into the ocean and fish for the Easter Eggs hidden by the animators at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
• The Elements of – This series of four mini-docs explores the technical achievements behind some of the ground-breaking effects used in the film.
o Mini Maui – Meet “Mini Maui,” Maui’s tattoo sidekick. Animated by legendary hand-drawn animator Eric Goldberg, we explore how the 2D world collides with CG animation to bring the demigod’s tattoos to life.
o Water – In the movie, the ocean is a character. This piece explores how the water is given a personality, along with the technical feats of creating a believable ocean landscape farther than the eye can see.
o Lava – Te Ka is a creature made of lava, smoke and fire. This piece dives into the challenges of making an animated creature of massive scale brought to fiery life by character, technical and effects animators.
o Hair – One of the greatest technical achievements of the film was the animation of the beautiful, curly hair on Moana and Maui. Take a look at the hair-raising detail that goes into animating each strand, adding performance to the movie that has never been seen before.
• Deleted Song: “Warrior Face” – With introduction by songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda.
• Deleted Scenes – Ron and John introduce the following deleted scenes: Race the Wind/Ties that Bind; Discussing Moana’s Future; Under the Sea; Grandmother’s Warning/Legend of Maui; Education of Moana; Father, Daughter, Boat; and Canoe Race.
• Music Video: “How Far I’ll Go” – Performed by Alessia Cara.
• “How Far I’ll Go Around the World” – Multi-language reel of the song “How Far I’ll Go.”
• Audio Commentary – With directors Ron and John.
We have spent a lot of time enjoying this special features. I’m not sure which I enjoy more, the Voice of the Islands (a beautiful look behind the scenes that had me in tears) or Fishing for Easter Eggs (I always love Disney Easter Eggs).
Stay social with Moana and visit http://disney.com/moana, like Disney’s Moana on Facebook, https://www.
Add Moana to your home library on Blu-ray and Digital HD on 3/7/17
FTC Disclaimer: I attended an expense paid trip by Disney to press events for the home release of Moana. I was not asked or influenced to write a positive review. All opinions shared are always honest and my own. This post contains no affiliate links.