moanaMaui (Dwayne Johnson) is a demigod. Long ago, he stole the heart of Te Fiti. It was said to give the power of creation to whoever possesses it. As Maui sailed away with the heart, intending to give it to humans, he was attacked by a number of monsters. During the attacks, Maui lost his magic hook that allowed him to transform into any animal he wished. With Te Fiti missing her heart, death descended on the plants of the islands.

Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is the daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison), leader of the people on the island of Motunui. Chief Tui has warned his people never to leave the safety of the reef that surrounds the island. Moana, however, has always had a desire to sail the seas.

Realizing that Moana’s destiny is to get Maui to return the heart of Te Fiti, Moana’s grandmother, Gramma Tala (Rachel House), helps Moana uncover her past and sets her on the path to fulfilling her purpose.

Making her way across the dangerous ocean alone, Moana must find Maui, recover his magic hook, and get him to return the heart to Te Fiti. They must defeat the demons hoping to steal the heart and return it before Motunui meets the same fate as other islands.

Taking a break from bringing us new Star Wars movies, Disney gets back to doing what it does best – giving us amazing animated movies. Moana is perhaps one of the best Disney movies I have ever seen.

Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho voices the fearless Moana. Chosen by the ocean, she is determined to save her island, despite her overprotective father’s wishes. Auli’i does an excellent job voicing Moana and showing her grit and dedication to saving her people. Fighting against and alongside her is Dwayne Johnson, as the mischievous demigod, Maui. Between his performance, and his character’s animation, Johnson’s power comes through.

While Disney had a hit with Frozen and its mind-numbing songs, it takes a slight departure with Moana. With Lin-Manuel Miranda penning the score and some of the songs, it has a much better, and fewer listen until you go insane soundtrack. The songs are well-written and performed by the likes of Jermaine Clement, Hamilton star Chris Jackson, Nicole Scherzinger, and Rachel House. Many of the songs are sung using a variety of Polynesian languages, making singing along difficult. That doesn’t take away from the film at all. In fact, it ensures that your little ones won’t be singing them over and over again.

Visually, the film is a masterpiece, as to be expected from Disney. From the beautiful islands, to the raging sea, even down to Maui’s animated tattoos, everything is well-crafted. You are truly transported to the South Pacific. In 3D, the film really comes alive.

My only complaint is that it is almost 2 hours long. However, I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any sooner. It is that good. With plenty of action and lots of humor, the two hours goes by quickly enough.

If you’re looking for a good way to spend time with the family, find a theater and see Moana. You won’t be disappointed.

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