Published On: Wed, Nov 23rd, 2016

Disney’s ‘Moana’ is great family fun

Opening November 23, 2016, the Disney Company introduces us to its first Polynesian princess, Moana.  Like all the princesses since Ariel swam across the screen in 1989, Moana Waialiki (Auli’I Cravalho) is a strong-willed, young woman who refuses to conform to what others expect of her.  Like Pocahontas, Elsa, and Merida, young Moana forges her own path with the support of a few key characters around her instead of waiting for her prince to save her.  

Dwayne JOhnson as Maui in MoanaFeeling a lifelong attraction to the sea and with a head filled with Polynesian myths, Moana is encouraged by her grandmother to rebel against her father’s rules, sail across the ocean to find the long-lost demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), and force him to return the heart he stole from Te Fiti before all the Polynesian islands and her people are overcome by “the darkness”.  Oh, and this princess’s animal sidekick is a……wait for it……a googly-eyed chicken that eats rocks.  What’s life without a little whimsy, right?

I’m a bit surprised that it took this long for a Polynesian princess to star in a Disney film.  The South Pacific has frequently been the setting of many Disney works such as George of the Jungle and Lilo and Stitch.  Walt Disney’s love of the region is also the reason the first hotel built at Disney World was the Polynesian Resort.

While the production probably won’t become a Disney classic on the level of The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast, it’s absolutely a beautiful, heart-warming film comparable to Brave and Mulan.  Audiences of all ages will enjoy the incredible computer animation and the catchy songs.  And, of course, the universal lessons of respect, commitment, problem-solving, and faith will ring true with everyone.  The 3D feature is a nice option for fans of the special effect, but it’s not necessary in order to enjoy the experience.  Take the family.  Don’t wait for the DVD.  This is definitely one worth seeing on the big screen.

Moana receives 4 out of 5 stars

Review by Debbie Sage

Auli’i Cravalho as Moana photo


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