Moana and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
Well it certainly took Disney long enough to realize Dwayne Johnson was tailor made for kids movies, but then again he hasn’t had a very strong track record with those which is kind of baffling. His previous Disney outings include the Race to Witch Mountain Remake as well as The Game Plan (ugh…) and the only other animated film he’s done is that awful Planet 51 where he played the whitest of white dudes mugging his ass off. Hopefully being a part of one of Disney’s biggest films of the year is not only gonna prove that he’s perfect for this kind of material when used correctly, but may even open up new doors for better roles in better movies aimed at a younger audience. Not only that, but it’d be nice if all of our mythological films didn’t keep circling the Greek and Norse well and that we can start integrating other culture’s heroes and legends into the pop culture lexicon which seems to be this films primary goal; even more so than cashing in on People Magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year! Is this movie yet another hit for the resurgent Walt Disney Animation Studios, or are we staring down the barrel of another Pocahontas level disappointment? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the legend of Maui (Dwayne Johnson); world famous demigod and creator The People’s Elbow. The guy was basically the Hercules of this culture as he had super strength and did lots of heroic deeds throughout the Polynesian Islands with the help of his giant fish hook that let him turn into any creature he wanted and was also pretty good for bashing things. , Maui takes his heroic antics one step too far and manages to steal The Heart of Te Fiti (essentially Gaia) and is attacked by some bad mo-fo lava creature which ends with him losing his magic hook and getting stranded on an island; the heart of course getting lost forever in the ocean during the confrontation. Without her heart, Te Fiti can’t control the darkness or whatever that evil stuff is called, and over time it starts to spread to all the islands; killing the crops and making the seas very unfriendly to boats. One such island is the home of Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) who’s basically Jim Carrey from the Truman Show where all she wants is to go out exploring, but her father the chief (Temuera Morrison) doesn’t want her going out on the terrible ocean and instead trains her for a life of politics as she will inherit the throne at some point. That all changes however when the darkness finally reaches their shores, and Moana’s grandma (Rachel House) reveals that she’s been holding onto the Heart of Te Fiti (basically a glowing rock) for years now as the ocean chose her and has been waiting for Moana to be ready to take on a quest to find Maui and have him return The Heart to Te Fiti. Despite her parents’ protestations against her leaving the village, she must go out and carve her own path like any good Disney protagonist and sails the oceans in search of Maui. Will Moana eventually find the island that Maui was stranded on? Okay… well that’s a given, but will they be able to work together to return the heart to its rightful owner, or will they bicker the whole journey as any good Disney pairing does for the first two thirds of their movie? Who else is after the heart and just how far are they willing to go to get it? Will these pursuers give Maui PLENTY of chances to polish his ass kicking skills after such a long hiatus!?