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Film Review: Moana
By Rouén Robinson
Nov 25, 2016 - 9:09:06 AM

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The Ocean Is Calling...

The adventurous daughter of a Chieftain is chosen by the Ocean to find a lost demigod and help him on his quest to return a magical item to its rightful place so a curse may be lifted. On her journey to set things right she will encounter obstacles of different kinds and in many forms as she discovers her own identity sailing on the high seas against insurmountable odds.

Moana Waialiki is the impetuous daughter of Chief Tui of the village on the island of Motunui, who for years has had a yearning to sail beyond the reef that surrounds their island, but has been stopped every time by her overprotective dad. Maui is a demigod of legend who stole the heart of the island goddess Te Fiti and lost it with his magical fishhook upon encountering the lava monster Te Ka. Gramma Tala is Moana’s grandmother who shares her love of the sea and encourages her to uncover the truth about the past of the people of the island in hopes that it will help her discover her destiny. Tamatoa is a giant coconut crab from Lalotai, the realm of monsters, who Maui believes has added his magical fishhook to his collection of scavenged artifacts lost in the vast sea.

Moana is a strong example, in every regard, of what Disney does best when it comes to family friendly movies. The animation is beautiful and the use of color shows some true creative flare that we have come to expect from a Disney animated film. As usual the voice cast is excellent with new comer Auli’i Cravalho holding her own as Moana with the likes of Dwayne Johnson as Maui. Ron Clements & John Musker's direction on this movie is fantastic and lets us see why they are behind some of Disney Animation’s most talked about films. The screenplay by Jared Bush is interesting, but you can tell that it came from a story credited to 7 people by the shift in tone in certain parts. Opetaia Foa’i, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mark Mancina do an amazing job as the songs in this movie are fun and the score is wonderful. I enjoyed the obvious visual homages to other motion pictures that this animated feature seamlessly blended into its narrative from The Abyss to Waterworld to Mad Max: Fury Road to Whale Rider among others. This film is a theatrical experience with a message of accepting yourself and finding your way that is relevant for anyone at any age in any part of the world. I rate this movie a rating of 4 out of 5.

This is a movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios so get there early so you can see the excellent animated short film Inner Workings and just like in Frozen I suggest you stay in your seat for a funny scene after the credits.

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