We are currently seeing a revival for Walt Disney Animation Studios after creating some of the best animated movies, heck best movies, of this decade. ‘Tangled’, ‘Wreck-It Ralph’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Big Hero 6’ and ‘Zootopia’, the studio just keeps on churning out hit after hit after hit, and with the release of their latest film ‘Moana’, that long streak of excellence continues with this film. Walt Disney Animation Studios continues to set the benchmark for animation.

Marking the first time since 2002 for Walt Disney Animation Studios to release two films in the same year, sharing this year with the enormously popular ‘Zootopia’, ‘Moana’ is released just in time for the festive New Year.

The film explores a small Polynesian village named Motunui, where Moana learns how to take charge of the island as her father is the chief of the island. When darkness pursues, food, like fish, is becoming scarce, and Moana insists to explore beyond the reef. However, her father continues to look the other way as it is much too dangerous, leaving Moana to sail away and explore beyond the reef herself in the search of demigod Maui.

The music in ‘Moana’ is very good, being enjoyable to listen to and serving the story perfectly, moving them forward for a nicely paced film. The songs are definitely more balanced out and spread out, unlike ‘Frozen’. Obviously, the stand out is “How Far I’ll Go” which has not one, but two reprises, and every time this song is played, I was constantly tapping my feet to the beat of the song. It fits perfectly for the character of Moana as she learns the strengths and weakness of herself and her dream for exploring the ocean, while discovering who she is as a person in the second reprise. You will get this song stuck in your head, just like I have. Other songs that I really enjoyed are “Where You Are”, “We Know the Way” and “You’re Welcome” – with the latter being a great character introduction for Dwayne Johnson’s character Maui.

The voice acting are great, especially from its two main leads of Auli’i Cravaiho who makes her acting debut and Dwayne Johnson who has had little voice acting before this movie. The characters of Moana and Maui are really interesting with their constant bickering and the growth of their relationship between the two. I also really loved a bunch of coconut pirates which pays a homage to 2015’s much talked about film ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. However, as a character I didn’t particularly enjoy one scene in the movie involving a hermit crab, although the scene isn’t very long.

‘Moana’ is a visually beautiful and pleasing movie, offering a high stakes story while also balancing out character and songs. ‘Moana’ is one of the year’s very best and one of the best animated movie of 2016.

‘Moana’ is the best musical movie since ‘Frozen’.

4.5

 

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