by Denise Holcomb. Denise attended a free Advance Screening in exchange for her honest opinion.
MOANA is a 3D animated movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures. It’s rated PG and a wonderful movie for all ages. Voiced by an all-star cast with a few new talents, it’s a story inspired by the Polynesian culture. The plot focuses on a young girl finding her place and identity in her family and culture. It’s sure to become a favorite for years to come.
It opens with the title character, Moana, as a toddler learning about her culture. Her father is the tribal chief, and she will inherit the title when she is older. Her independent streak is evident from the beginning when she wanders to the water. She feels the call of the ocean, and it’s revealed she is destined to save them in the future. She ages to a teen for the rest of the movie. As she learns her responsibilities and culture to lead in the future, her community is suffering a little at a time. She makes suggestions for a new place to grow coconuts, but when she suggests they fish beyond the reef into the open ocean, her father forbids it. No one is to go beyond the reef. She tests this, though it’s forbidden, and has a hard time combating the waves. While she decides her father was right, her grandmother, Tala, reminds her of her birthright as a descendent of voyagers to save her people by finding Maui, the demi-god whose actions years ago is the root of the problems they now face, and for him to help Moana return the heart of Te Fiti so the world can be restored.
On her deathbed, Tala encourages Moana to go right away. With the heart of Te Fiti in her possession, Moana sets sail in her journey to find Maui along with her stowaway chicken, HeiHei. Encountering Maui after a storm shipwrecks her on his island, they make a deal for her to help him find his hook in the quest to restore the heart, and Maui will teach Moana how to be a wayfinder by using the ocean currents, stars, and wind to her advantage. They find a lot of adventure on their way. And against the odds, they are able to right the wrongs of the past with the return of the heart to Te Fiti. She returns home more mature and confident to help lead her family on their next voyage.
The visual landscape of the islands was beautifully done through CGI animation. Maui’s tattoos have a life of their own and tell stories throughout his life’s adventures. The lessons of trust, friendship, and cooperation are genuine in the portrayal between the main characters. Some of the story is based on real mythological characters while remaining sensitive to the culture’s history. The original soundtrack music is amazing and enhances the storyline with Polynesian-style influence. MOANA delivers fantastic entertainment in an action-adventure movie for the whole family. MOANA is now playing in theatres everywhere!
Disney’s MOANA Trailer
Disney’s MOANA Online
Denise Holcomb, mom of three boys in the ‘Burbs of Baltimore, is an author, alpha/beta reader, copy editor, and reviewer of products, books, and movies. Follow Denise online: @momof3boysj on Twitter, Tumbler, @momof3boysj on Pinterest. Denise attended a free Advance Screening in exchange for her honest opinion.