Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson

Rated: PG for peril, some scary images and brief thematic elements.
Reviewed by: Matt  
Release date: November 23, 2016 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures

Moana is the next in a very long line of Disney animated films and the first "princess" movie since Frozen.  This time around we follow the daughter of a Polynesian chieftain named Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) as she begins to take over the role of chieftain from her father.  However, long ago the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) stole Te Fiti, the goddess of life's heart and put a curse of corruption upon the world.  When the corruption finally reaches Moana's island she is chosen by the ocean to sail out and find Maui and have him return the heart to it's rightful place.

I loved the story of this movie and Moana as a main character.  She is already shown to be a capable leader for her people and showed great bravery traveling the ocean despite never sailing before.  Maui is also wonderful as his story is also very fleshed out and he comes across as a well developed character.  The chemistry between these two characters is fantastic and Auli'i holds her own very well as Moana despite this being her first ever role.  Even the comic relief in the movie was good.  The chicken Heihei had me laughing more times than I could count.  The music in this film was also very well done and fit the movie perfectly.  Was the music better than Frozen's?  Not really, but it is a close second in my opinion.

If I were to make a complaint about the movie is that there is sometimes a little to much downtime between the major moments in the film.  It is understandable as they are on the ocean but some scenes did feel more like filler scenes than meaningful ones.  But that is more a nitpick as overall the movie is very solid. In the end, Moana can add it's name into the list of excellent Disney films.  With great characters, a good story and a fantastic soundtrack, Moana is definitely a movie to see with the whole family. 

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Matt Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Moana  B      B         A-      B      B+ 

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