It’s great to see a film which such originality and style.

by Martin Hafer

Moana is the latest full length animated film from Disney and it’s a worthy successor to its last CGI success, Zootopia. While the film isn’t perfect, it is very enjoyable and original.

The story in Moana is based very loosely on Polynesian folklore…in particular, their trickster demigod, Maui (Dwayne Johnson). Because of Maui’s actions, nature is very slowly dying off and ruin is coming for Moana and her people. However, Moana’s father, the Chief, is afraid of what lies beyond their island and forbids Moana from leaving on a journey to try to restore the lost heart to the Island Mother. Using pluck and determination, and with a bit of help from Maui, Moana makes this journey.

This synopsis might sound very strange and confusing…and it’s best you just see the film for yourself. Suffice to say, it is a real crowd pleaser due to an interesting, stunning computer animation and very original story as well as some interesting characters. I particularly liked Moana as she was strong and likable…and not someone needing rescuing.

Directed by
Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House
Release Date
23 November 2016
Martin’s Grade: A-

But she also wasn’t harsh or stereotypical…just determined. I also loved her pet sidekick, as this chicken is nothing like any Disney sidekick…and you’ll soon realize this animal is possibly the dumbest in Disney history…as well as very funny.. As for Dwayne Johnson (‘The Rock’) he was also very good…and I was surprised that he had a decent singing voice in the film. As for the singing in general, however, this is the weakest aspect of the film. While most of the songs are enjoyable, a few are quite forgettable and none have that singability you look for in a full-length Disney cartoon. You’ll almost certainly not be singing or humming the tunes once the film has concluded.

Finally, I’d like to point out that I really loved the look of the film. I’ve visited the South Pacific and New Zealand and the movie really does a great job of capturing the look and spirit of this part of the world. It’s also nice that kids in this part of the world now finally have their own Disney princess…one who isn’t a carbon copy of other Disney females.