After already dominating the year of 2016 full of huge blockbuster films and brilliant critical reviews, Disney are continuing to add to their already incredible year. Moana is Disney’s 56th animated feature and the studio isn’t losing their touch. Keeping in touch with their roots, Moana has the making of a classic animated film already. Full of original and incredibly catchy songs, brilliant characters and a heart-warming story make Moana one of the more soul touching animated films in recent times for Disney. The film tells the story of Moana, a daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe who sets out on a journey to return a relic to a goddess to save the island and the people on it. Knowing she is the only one who can leave the island, Moana decides she needs the help of demigod Maui to help her on the journey.
Auli’I Cravalho, the unknown behind the voice of Moana stars in her first film role. Her energy and incredible singing ability propels Moana to be one of the more interesting and dynamic Disney leading ladies in their animated features. Not following in the footsteps of your typical Disney princess, Moana is a strong, independent and vocal character. Not having a love interest also shows how female animated characters are changing on-screen, too. This is probably one of the first animated Disney princesses not to have a love interest, and that alone was a breath of fresh air. Alongside Moana, we have demigod Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson. Stepping into a role that isn’t in his typical stereotypical roles has to be given huge respect to branch out to different genres. Not only has he switched from one genre to another, he sings and uses his voice to bring a character to life. Incredibly, he absolutely smashes it as the cocky demi-god! When he sings, he somehow makes it incredibly fun and entertaining. Not only that, but voice work has always been said to be the hardest role for an actor, but Dwayne Johnson shows that he does have some dynamic to his acting abilities.
Incredibly, Disney consistently improves on their animation. Just when you think they have hit the peak of animation, they continue to amaze you. It’s the little things that made the film feel incredibly real. The water and the surrounding environment make Moana one of the better visual Disney animated features ever. Obviously, you would expect that from their latest animated film. But their visuals are making the films even more relatable as it feels more real. Even the soundtrack for the film is fantastic. The original songs that are performed by the voice cast are making me listen to the songs over and over again. Catchy, short and sweet, Moana has made me listen to the soundtrack non-stop recently.
Overall, Moana was an absolute joy to watch. Disney continues to make brilliant animated features full of catchy songs and brilliant characters. It’s not Disney’s best film to date, but it’s by far one of the more unique. I enjoyed every single moment, if it wasn’t Maui acting arrogant, its Moana’s determination to save her island, and when they aren’t on screen, we are treated to a brilliant cameo by a chicken. Yes, a chicken. Probably one of the stupidest chickens you’ll ever see in a film, that character breaks up the film brilliantly by being the side comedic act of the movie. If you won’t fall in love with the characters, you’ll most certainly fall in love with the original songs. 4 out of 5 stars.