Moana (2016)

In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain's daughter's island, she answers the Ocean's call to seek out the demigod to set things right.


Moana brings the Polynesian culture and myths to life in one of Disney's musical spectaculars, and on the basis of that feature's originality alone, the film would be a winner. It's gorgeous, and presents a world Western audiences know little about, whether real or magical. But then it's also full of memorable songs and a strong theme of following your inner voice despite parental and social expectations (so not original in that sense, but it works). The casting is on point, every character played by someone from the Oceanic region, including a certain New Zealander who represents half of the country's fourth most popular folk parody duo ;-). I wasn't always sure the movie ought to be so self-aware, but the sidekick fake-outs and some of the jokes did work on that score. I think I just resented anything that pulled me out of what was otherwise a lovely immersive experience, beautiful enough to make me weep openly.

4 years ago


Absolutely wonderful. The animation made my jaw drop at times. Excellent Polynesian-inspired music, memorable characters, deeply meaningful story.

My only "but" might be that Disney heroines are starting to blend into each other in terms of personality (not unlike the classic ones did), but it took such enormous steps on creating a story about human relationships that the experience is ultimately refreshing nonetheless. For my money's worth, better than Zootopia, and that movie was already incredible.

5 years ago


Doesn't stray far from typical children's movie territory, but it's a fun ride with some decent songs.

3.5 stars out of 5

4 years ago

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