Movie Review: Moana

Film Reviews


Director: John Musker, Ron Clements
In theaters: 11.23

Directors Ron Clements and John Musker have continued to pour gasoline on the animation-addiction fire with their latest production, which honors the ancestry of Hawaii and its rich culture. Ever since she was a toddler, Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) has wanted to travel beyond the reef of her island, but it is harshly forbidden by her elders. However, once a curse, unleashed by cocky demi-god Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), reaches her island, Moana decides that it is time to break tradition and find an answer. In order to restore order, Maui must return a stolen stone, and Moana must get the defiant god to the destination. The animation is gorgeous and represents the tropical region flawlessly, but what makes this adventure stand out above the rest is the music. With the gifted Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) writing the lyrics to a musical, something special is bound to surface. Honestly, I have been singing the songs in my home for the past two weeks. Cravalho, who was cast at the age of 14 and is the youngest Disney princess, has a remarkable voice—and who knew that The Rock could rap? Rather than being a damsel in distress, Moana is a fierce heroine with no love interest and only a dedication to her mission, a fantastic message for children. Once again, Clements and Musker add another wonderful title to the Disney library, and I have a feeling that, with Miranda’s help, we may be seeing this journey developed for the Broadway stage. –Jimmy Martin