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Pure magic: Review of Moana by Rashid Irani

The first Disney feature with a Polynesian heroine, Moana is vibrant and fun, but also has a powerful message about altruism, courage and the ecology.

movie reviews Updated: Dec 02, 2016 17:31 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Brimming with gorgeous visuals and quirky characters, Moana tells the story of an adventurous South Pacific Islander and a shape-shifting demigod.


Direction: John Musker and Ron Clements

Voices: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson

Rating: 4 / 5

Aloha! Veteran Disney animators John Musker and Ron Clements (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) have crafted a joyous ode to ancient Polynesian culture with their rollicking new musical adventure.

Brimming with gorgeous visuals, enchanting tunes and a captivating narrative, Moana chronicles the life-changing story of the eponymous South Pacific Islander.

Descended from a long line of navigators, the spirited youngster (dubbed by native Hawaiian newcomer Auli’i Cravalho) defies her father’s wishes and boldly embarks on a quest across the ocean in order to save her people from an ecological disaster.

En route, she encounters a shape-shifting demigod (Dwayne Johnson, delivering a pitch-perfect vocal performance). Joining forces, the unlikely duo strives to overcome impossible odds on their action-packed high-seas voyage.

Moana is brisk, breezy fun fuelled by plenty of good humour and top-notch animation. Expect to met adorably supporting characters that include a pig, a self-absorbed crab and a stowaway chicken.

Warding off pint-sized coconut-clad pirates as well as gargantuan demons of the deep, Moana is intent on fulfilling her dream of becoming a master wayfinder.

The first Disney feature to have a Polynesian heroine at its centre, the film renders the oceanic setting in vibrant colours.

Punctuated by several memorable songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and the Samoan composer Opetaia Foa’i, the script also relays a powerful message about altruism, courage and environmental issues.

The bewitching cast of supporting characters includes a self-absorbed crab (Jemaine Clement), the protagonist’s strong-willed grandmother (Rachel House), and a memorable stowaway chicken (Alan Tudyk).

The film is fuelled by plenty of good humour and top-notch animation. Moana is brisk, breezy fun. Go ahead and watch it.

Watch the trailer for Moana here

First Published: Dec 02, 2016 17:31 IST