Rating: PG, 103 minutes
In a Nutshell: Disney brings us another animated film that is simply gorgeous. Each frame in the movie could be a postcard. The animation is stellar and absolutely breathtaking. The hair, sand, water, feathers, fabric and textures are done so well you feel you could reach out and touch them.
It has everything you want in a family-friendly film: solid characters, adventure, memorable music, a positive lesson for kids to learn, a good role model, comedy, peril, and touching family moments.
Before the movie begins, another Disney short entitled “Inner Workings” plays that reminds us to live our lives with meaning and joy. Adorable.
You need to have heart.
“Find happiness right where you are.” – lyrics in one of the songs
“That voice inside is who you are.” – Grandma Tala
Sometimes our strengths lie beneath the surface.” – Moana
“The things you have learned will change you. The people you love will guide you.” - Grandma Tala
Your weaknesses don’t define you.
Things I liked:
Some of the song were written by writer and star of the Broadway smash hit Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) [Explicit], Lin Manuel Miranda. The lyrics are powerful and meaningful.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson recently earned the title as “Sexiest Man Alive”. Now we get to hear him sing! He has great comedic and dramatic timing in everything he does.
Auli’I Cravalho does a fantastic job voicing Moana. The character even looks like her.
Hei Hei, the stupid chicken, got lots of laughs from the audience. I adore Alan Tudyk and was tickled to learn that it was his voice that brings the chicken to life. Pua, the cute pig, was just that…cute, but didn’t grab the audience’s attention nearly as much.
Maui’s tattoos interact with Maui and even the audience.
Clever use of tapa bark cloth prints to set up the story in the beginning.
I love a good romance in a movie; however, I love that there is no prince or hero in this one...Moana is the hero. Moana’s future is determined by her own efforts and leadership. She is a strong role model for your daughters. You go, girl!
This movie will make you want to go on vacation to Hawaii or some other Polynesian destination. If you’re in Hawaii, be sure to visit the famous Polynesian Cultural Center where you can get a taste of Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand and more!
Stay seated until the very end of the rolling credits for a funny moment with the crab.
While watching the credits, you’ll notice a long list of babies who were born during production. Cute.
I loved it when baby Moana helps a baby turtle find its way to the ocean. I got to participate in a turtle release in Cabo San Lucas in November several years ago. The turtle sanctuary invited us to help them release hundreds of babies. Soooooo cool!
Who knew coconuts could be so dangerous? ha ha
The plot is pretty simple, yet Moana has a lot of interesting and creative adventures along her journey.
Things I didn’t like:
For some reason, Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) was the only character with a Polynesian accent.
You have to listen to the songs a few times to understand the clever lyrics, because sometimes they're sung so fast you can't catch everything the first time around.
“Nothing? Really? What’s a demigod gotta do?” - Maui
“Really? A blow dart in my butt cheek?” – Maui
“I’m the village crazy lady. That’s my job.” – Grandma Tala
“When you use a bird to write with, it’s called Tweeting.” – Maui
“What’s nunya?” – Moana “None of ya business.” - Maui
“The call that calls isn’t out here – it’s inside me.” - Moana
Tips for parents:
There is a theme of reincarnation you might want to talk to your kids about. Do you believe in reincarnation? Resurrection? Talk to your children about where you believe you go after this life.
There is a fiery lava monster that might scare young children.
Young children may need to be reminded that they have to be very careful in the ocean when they go to the beach.