The directors and writers of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin (John Musker and Ron Clements), teamed with the directors of Big Hero Six (Don Hall and Chris Williams) to create an amazing tale of self-discovery and heroism set against legends pulled from Polynesian mythology in the new animated feature Disney’s Moana.
Moana is the name of the young woman for the film is named. Moana is the daughter of the chief for her people on an island in the islands of Oceania. As a child Moana was drawn to the sea, best illustrated in an early scene in the film where Baby Moana plays with the sea. In Moana the sea is a character itself. The sea has emotional reactions, intelligent non-verbal conversations with people, and even saves Moana a few times. The sea is Moana’s friend and helps guide her to her destiny, but as the daughter to the chief, Moana has a responsibility to her people. As Moana grows to young womanhood, she never loses her love and curiosity for the sea, but focuses more on becoming the future leader of her people. Destiny intervenes when it becomes difficult for her people to grow and find food. Moana’s grandmother informs Moana of a legend that explains what is causing the decline in their natural resources as well as the nearly forgotten history of their people. Armed with this inspiring knowledge, Moana sets off on a journey comparable to “The Odyssey” as she faces dangers from vast storms, killer pirates the size of coconuts, the realm of monsters, a lava demon, and the stubborn demigod Maui.
In today’s filmmaking communities, Disney is a studio that is known for its ability to provide quality entertainment by using the most state of the art equipment and assembling the best talent. In Moana, a Disney Animated Musical, original songs were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and multiple Tony-winning creator of “Hamilton”). I’m calling it now by saying that Moana will take away the Oscar for best original song; the only debate is whether it will be for “We Know the Way” or “How Far I’ll Go.”
The most recognized star voicing the film is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Fast & Furious 6, San Andreas) as the demigod Maui. Staring as the voice of the story’s hero Moana is talented new-comer Auli’i Cravhalo. Auli’I Cravhalo was discovered by a casting director who saw her sing on a video for a talent show and called her in to audition.
From that moment, on Ms. Cravhalo is the soul of Moana and really bring the character to life. Another very recognizable voice is Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords, Muppets Most Wanted) who voices a giant monster crab named Tamatoa. And even new Disney good luck charm Alan Tudyk (Frozen, Wreck-it-Ralph) lends his voice to the not-so-intelligent rooster Heihei.
Moana is an inspiring journey of self-discovery with humor and musical numbers set as fantasy adventure.
What more could you want from an animated feature this holiday season?
MOANA is in theatres everywhere now!