Film Review: ‘Moana’ is Walt Disney Pictures at its Breezy Best

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CHICAGO – “Moana” is a solid example of the time honored Disney musical. It is exactly the sort of sun drenched warm weather beacon we residents of cold weather climes can enjoy as the holiday season approaches, and it a refreshing change from another spin of Mele Kalikimaka.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

In many ways “Moana” is more fun than this season’s other relentlessly upbeat musical “Trolls.” It goes without saying that a Disney film is going to look terrific, but Moana’s blue waters, beautifully lush landscapes, and splashes of inventive flights of fancy are so inviting I wanted to just dive right in without giving your eye socket a cavity. There are catchy songs courtesy of “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, an appealingly spunky heroine and the Rock. And…this just might be my daughter’s favorite movie of the year.

The story centers on Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho), a slightly new spin on the old Disney princess. She’s the plucky daughter of the chief, destined to rule, but who stubbornly wants to go her own way, and that way is out on the ocean. Her overprotective father forbids her from exploring the great waters beyond the reef of their island. It turns out that a demigod named Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) stole the heart of the island goddess, and now a blackness is taking over the ocean, and will continue until the heart is replaced. So when the blackness begins to infect her own island, Moana must defy her father’s orders and set out on her own to find Maui and get him to replace the heart.

“Moana” opens everywhere on November 23rd in 3D and regular screenings. See local listings for 3D theaters and show times. Featuring the voices of Auli’i Carvalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Tudyk. Screenplay by Jared Bush. Directed by Ron Clement and John Musker. Co-directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Spike Walter’s full review of “Moana”

Moana1
Maui and the Title Character Ready for Adventure in ‘Moana’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures

StarContinue reading for Spike Walter’s full review of “Moana”

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