Disney has crafted yet another beautiful, inspiring musical treat that will entertain generations young and old for many years to come with "Moana." While it tells a rather typical Disney tale, it has enough to make it original despite hitting every expected story beat. We have a plucky princess to be that thinks outside the box, a conservative father, an all-knowing grandmother, a wacky animal sidekick, and comic relief in the form of a demigod named Maui (Dwayne Johnson).
Nothing truly surprising happens from here out, but what makes it all so entertaining are the spins on the classic Disney storytelling and the blatant moments where the writers actually call out how Disney films progressed in the past. Furthermore, this is the first Disney Princess movie without a requisite love interest. All of this moves the Disney lexicon in a positive direction, although you can feel the strains of the writers as they make sure to create a politically-correct princess for a new generation. Props to Disney for doing that. It's needed and important. But it sometimes smacks a little like agenda rather than a story.
The songs by "Hamilton" mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hawaiian musician Foa' are catchy and purposeful making all of this go down easily, even if it never reaches the heights of "Frozen."
Special Features are plenty as is typical for a Disney animated release:Theatrical Short Film: Inner Workings: A behind the scenes look at the making of the included Disney short "Inner Workings."A Maui Mini-Movie: Gone Fishing Voice of the Islands: The filmmakers talk about going to the Pacific Islands and how it inspired how they worked on the film. Things You Didn't Know About... : Ron, John, Auli'i & Dwayne and Mark, Opetaia, & Lin-Manuel: Fun Q&As with the cast and filmmakers.Island Fashion: Costume designer Neysa Bové discusses the challenges of costuming animated characters. The Elements Of...: A four-part featurette regarding various animation elements including, Mini-Maui, Water, Lava, and Hair They Know the Way: Making the Music of Moana: A 12-minute featuette on the film's songs and score. Deleted Song: "Warrior Face" with Introduction by Songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda: A deleted song using minimal animation. Fishing for Easter Eggs: Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson talk about the film's hidden secrets. Deleted Scenes: 25 minutes of deleted scenes with optional introductions by the directors. "How Far I'll Go" Performed by Alessia Cara music video."How Far I'll Go" Around the World: The song performed in multiple languages. Audio Commentary: Directors John Musker and Ron Clements discuss a litany of different aspects of the film that is a must-hear for Disney fans and fans of the film.
Blu-ray /DVD / Digital Copy
Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.