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Moana 2016  9+ out of 10

Disney has done it yet again. While the another Animation Studios are making a bunch of crap like Trolls or Sing, Disney is making classics.   Ever since John Lasseter got into a position of power with Disney’s purchase of Pixar –Disney animation has risen back to the heights of its 2-D animation heyday.

Visuals:

Moana is a visual marvel.    This movie is a nearly perfect piece of animation.  The visuals are so good that you wish you could book a vacation to the islands while you are watching the film.  The Islands look incredible.  If you have ever been lucky enough to visit places like Bora Bora that is exactly what the animators have captured on-screen.  The movie is just absolutely gorgeous to look at on screen.  Paradise would definitely be the words I would use.

The Characters:

The characters in Moana are wonderful.   Moana is the lead character who is the daughter of the King of the Island.   She is voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho.  This is such a strong and inspiring character.  She truly is a heroic character that all girls can look up too.   Muai (played by Dwayne the Rock Johnson) is an absolute blast.   I loved his character.  He is a Polynesian demigod that has definitely let his fame and acclaim go to his head –which makes for a terrific conflict with Moana.  Hei Hei the clueless chicken is great comic relief and made me think of a new expression.   When someone is acting stupid  just say “Don’t be a Hei Hei”.

The Story:  (Spoilers)

The story is the classic  mythic Hero’s journey.   Like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Moana must leave her home on a hero’s quest.   Moana is faced with being chosen for this epic journey against all the odds to find Maui and restore the Heart of Tafiti to save her people.  The story is inspiring and filled with adventure.   The adventure is exciting and again is reminiscent of other hero quests like those of Myth.  With the reluctant help of Maui she must have monsters like Kakamora which look like vicious little Coconut creatures.  This scene is one of the most exciting scenes in the film and is a nod to Mad Max.   She then must literally go into the underworld to find Maui magical Fish Hook and face yet another monster (voiced by Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Chonchords fame).    Moana must succeed in her task against heavy odds and the ending is fantastic.

The Music:

This is a Disney movie so I’m sure you are wondering about the music and whether that is good as well.    The soundtrack is by Lin Manuel Miranda…..you may have heard of him.  He is the one responsible for Hamilton.  So yes the soundtrack is also great. I loved the song sung by The Rock.     I’m a big Flight of the Chonchords fan as well so the song by Jermaine Clement was a pleasant surprise.

In Summary:

This is a fantastic movie…If for some reason you were on the fence about seeing it definitely check it out.  The kids will love it.   The quality of recent Disney and Pixar films this year has been incredible.   From the amazing surprise that was Zootopia, Finding Dory and now Moana —Disney can do no wrong right now.