With just how far animation has come these days, I don’t often get very impressed at visual style. However after seeing Moana, my mind was blown. This was some of the best, most flawless animation I have ever seen. Just when I thought that animation could not get any better, it does!
The movie starts off with the ancient tale of Maui (Dwyane Johnson), a demi-god who stole a glowing rock called the heart of Te Fiti to give as a gift to humans. While attempting to escape with the heart, Maui is attacked and defeated by the lava monster Te Ka. The heart is then lost to the sea.
One thousand years later we see a small Polynesian village on an island that is slowly dying (due to the heart of Te Fiti being stolen for so long). Here we meet Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), the adventurous heir of the chief of the village, who loves to be out on the ocean. Moana’s father (Temeura Morrison) never lets her near the ocean though, stating that their people must stay on land where it is safe. However when their island begins dying and running out of food, it is up to Moana to take to the ocean, find the long lost Maui, and return the heart of Te Fiti to its rightful place.
I’ll start by mentioning the characters, because Moana and Maui are great on screen together. Dwayne Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho provided excellent voice acting and really put a lot of personality into these characters.
The story itself is very adventurous and full of heroism. I loved the experience of seeing the beautifully animated oceans and creative creatures Moana encounters. There is one scene that reminds me almost of Mad Max: Fury Road, where these little coconut monsters on giant ships hunt down Moana and Maui. Another great and adventurous scene involves a giant talking crab voiced by Jemaine Clement, who is a real character.
One of the many highlights of Moana is the soundtrack. I know the idea of Dwayne Johnson singing in a kids movie is a little disturbing, but his voice was pleasantly surprising. The soundtrack is overall very diverse and memorable, with many different singers and styles of music. It goes along great with the story told and was very enjoyable to listen to.
I would say the only problem I had with the film was shortly before the climax, where Maui does something that is pretty cliched for movies. I won’t say what it is, but it is very predictable and you know exactly whats going to happen. However this is a nitpick and doesn’t detract from how truly awesome Moana is.
As I mentioned before the animation in Moana is really magnificent. The attention to detail is so fine tuned that the animators were able to accurately capture the movements of things like water and wind to a tee. The color palette used is bright and vibrant and really helped to engross me into the film. Animation of this high quality continues to baffle me.
I strongly believe that Moana is going to go down as one of the great Disney classics. It feels like it has everything going for it. From the music, the colorful characters, to the flawless animation, Moana will dazzle audiences for years to come.
I recommend Moana to anyone who loves a good family movie. Adults can find the story charming and funny, while children can find it engaging and maintain interest in the film. So go check it out, you won’t be disappointed.