Moana Movie Review

Disclosure: My daughter and I attended a free advance screening of Moana to facilitate this review.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new film Moana hits theaters today, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new feature film “Moana” is about an adventurous teenager who, with help from demigod Maui, sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and save her people.

moana-one-sheet

Our Thoughts

My daughter and I both enjoyed Moana and we definitely recommend the movie to families this Thanksgiving and going into the holiday season.

Unlike a “Princess Movie”, Moana will appeal to both boys and girls. While the story is focused on the heroine, Moana, it is not a princess love story. There is no romance in the film. Inspired by her grandmother and to the dismay of her father, the chief, Moana ventures beyond the reef and across the ocean to restore health to her island.

Disney's Moana

MOANA is an adventurous, tenacious and compassionate 16-year-old who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. Along the way, she discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”) and featuring newcomer Auli’I Cravalho as the voice of Moana, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The demigod Maui provides a strong male influence in the movie. My daughter’s favorite part of Maui was his animated tattoos. He is a bit of trickster. Moana searches out Maui so that he can restore the heart of the goddess and return health to the Pacific islands.

Moana - Maui

MOANA – (Pictured) Maui. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

There is plenty of funny scenes in Moana. The rooster HeiHei is not very smart and provides a number of comedic moments. My daughter was also a fan of the Kakamora, a species of coconut like creatures who are pirates. 

The KAKAMORA, an intense team of crazy, coconut-armored pirates who will stop at nothing to get what they want. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The KAKAMORA, an intense team of crazy, coconut-armored pirates who will stop at nothing to get what they want. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

About Moana

Don’t miss my interview with Michigan native Amy Smeed, the head animator on Moana. At her talk and in the interview, i learned a lot about the development of Moana and background in the movie.

MOANA - (Pictured) Amy Smeed. Photo by Alex Kang. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

MOANA – (Pictured) Amy Smeed. Photo by Alex Kang. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

From Walt Disney Animation:
Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one knows exactly why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho) meets the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder. Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), and featuring music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i, “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. For more information, visit http://disney.com/moana, like us on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/disneymoana; follow us on Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/DisneyAnimation; follow us on Instagram, https://instagram.com/DisneyAnimation.

Don’t miss the trailer:

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