Moana (2016)

Moana (2016)

Director: Roy Clements, John Musker
Starring: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House

The daughter of an island chieftain is chosen by the ocean to return the heart of Te Fiti, stolen by the demigod Maui, and restore order to Nature.

I'll admit to only having tepid interest in this film. The trailers I saw had Maui mugging the camera a little too much for my taste and I thought it was a bad decision for Disney to release two animated features in one year. However, this is a solid entry in the Disney animated canon featuring a setting and mythology we don't see that often. On a technical level, it impresses as you'd expect, particularly with fluid and hair dynamics as well as Maui's animated tatoos. There are some rather visually impressive setpieces, particularly the confrontation with Tamatoa, set to the catchy villain song "Shiny", and the final battle with Te Kā. The eponymous Moana is a spunky heroine who has a good dynamic with the roguish Maui, whose boisterous facade masks a fairly complex character. If you're a fan of Disney's animated films and/or want a glimpse at Polynesian culture, this is certainly worth watching.

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