Moana (2016)

Review by CJ


Ron Clements, John Musker

Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House

Other notable appearances:
Alan Tudyk, Jemaine Clement, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Scherzinger, Sven the Reindeer

Running time:
107 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Frozen, Hercules, Zootopia, BraveThe Little MermaidTangled


When demigod Maui (Johnson) steals the goddess Te Fiti’s heart, he unleashes a curse on the world that is destined to destroy the planet. A thousand years later, the curse reaches the island of Motunui where the chieftain’s daughter Moana (Cravalho) is chosen by the ocean to find Maui and return Te Fiti’s heart.

As a lifelong Disney fan, I went into Moana with high expectations. It exceeded every. single. one.

The plot is thoroughly enjoyable. Moana shows viewers a tale of adventure, self-discovery, independence and compassion. It is everything a modern Disney Princess film should be and so much more.

In addition to its enjoyable plot, Moana is visually impressive. Gorgeous CGI animation brings to life the world of Moana. The ocean and its creatures, the islands, the characters — all of them are beautifully created.

Moana is a very funny film with humour that will appeal to kids and adults alike. From mild toilet humour to slapstick comedy and just good solid wisecracks.

I knew prior to seeing Moana that Alan Tudyk voiced Heihei the chicken. Knowing that while watching the performance on screen made it infinitely more enjoyable. Every time Heihei let out a particularly loud squawk, I pictured the actor who went to Juilliard.

Chicken aside, the entire cast of Moana, while small, is perfect. Auli’i Cravalho’s talent far surpasses her young age as she portrays Moana with the perfect combination of strength and vulnerability to reflect each situation. Dwayne Johnson impresses with a stellar performance as the demigod Maui. Rachel House plays Moana’s grandmother beautifully and portrays real humour and emotion through her performance.

The soundtrack to Moana is enthralling. The songs featured in Moana are uplifting and inspiring. The soaring melodies and vocals of ‘How Far I’ll Go’ and ‘I Am Moana’. The fun and catchy ‘You’re Welcome’ and ‘Shiny’. The hauntingly beautiful ‘Know Who You Are’. The funky, upbeat ‘Where You Are’. I was particularly impressed by the vocal talents of Auli’i Cravalho, whose voice is powerful and expertly controlled, and Dwayne Johnson, who I didn’t really expect to be such a great singer and able to convey so much personality through song.

Overall, if you enjoy Disney films — particularly of the Princess variety — then you must see Moana. With a great plot, a generous helping of heart and a sprinkling of humour, outstanding cast and fantastic soundtrack Moana is a wonderful addition to the Disney film family.

5 Stars

“I am not a princess.”
“If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.”


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