Release Date: 23 November 2016
Director: Ron Clements and John Musker
The latest Disney offering is a delightful combination of Polynesian folklore with gorgeous visuals and musical numbers. Moana, the heir to a line of chieftains of her island, must save her people from blight and disaster by seeking the demigod Maui and have him return the heart he stole from the goddess Te Fiti. The movie has a lot of great humor and tells a story of friendship and finding confidence within oneself, with support from those who love you. And since representation matters, it is great to have a story with a girl protagonist, who is not a princess (even if she has a dress and an animal sidekick) and does not have a romantic subplot, be the hero of the story. Highlights of the movie are the dumb but heroic chicken Heihei, Maui’s tattoo with a conscience, Moana’s eccentric Gramma Tala, and a musical number by the crab Tamatoa that is an homage to David Bowie but also clearly the work of Lin-Manuel Miranda. I loved it, but opinions vary. My five-year-old thought it was scary at parts. My nine-year-old thought it was okay.