A significant change of pace from their other animated princess films, Disney’s Moana is a fresh, visually enchanting, and delightful entry into their canon of musicals, that is sure to become a future classic.
An original story taking inspiration from South Pacific and Polynesian culture, it revolves around its titular heroine Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho), the daughter of the chief of her tribe, who sets off on an adventure to save her people after their crops begin to fail as a result of a centuries’ old curse put in place by the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson). After realizing her ancestry as a navigator, Moana sets sail across the ocean to locate a legendary island that holds the key to restoring the natural balance, but not before encountering Maui himself, who is in need of finding his fishhook that grants him shape-shifting abilities.
From the directing team of Ron Clements, Don Musker, Chris Williams, and Don Hall, responsible for many other past Disney classics, Moana continues the animation studio’s recent output such as Tangled and Frozen, in putting a new spin on their traditional princess films – taking on a bold new direction that they manage to excel at in spades. It’s a very magical story, with a great message about the need for one to carve out their own path in life in order to do great things, as well as taking responsibility for your actions and making the effort to correct the wrongs of the past.
The original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame help make Moana one of Disney’s richest animated musicals in years, with ‘How Far I’ll Go’, ‘We Know The Way, and ‘You’re Welcome’ all set to become iconic staples in their own right. It would not surprise me to see the film receive multiple nominations for Best Original Song at the Oscars this year, (and if it wins, Miranda finally receiving an EGOT).
With a great story, truly whimsical animation, and fantastic songs, Moana excels in more ways than one to become a film that audiences young and old will keep returning to for decades to come.