Moana Blu-ray Review
“Moana” is a fun Disney animated-musical.
In “Moana,” the titular young Polynesian girl finds her call to adventure after she comes across the long lost heart stone belonging to the island goddess Te Fiti. The stone (which the shapeshifting demigod Maui stole and promptly lost) has been proving to have ill effects on the environment and Moana’s own community and needs to be returned to where it belonged. Coaxed by her late grandmother Tala, Moana and her dopey pet rooster Heihei embark on a quest to do so. Moana’s quest leads to meeting Maui on a deserted island. Moana wants Maui to return the stone to repair the damage that has been done, but the egotistical Maui is more concerned with finding his magical fishhook (which he also lost). Eventually, Moana convinces Maui to do the right thing, but their journey doesn’t exactly go as planned as they encounter giant creatures (including a crab), coconut pirates, a lava monster, and other conflicts.
Alongside the underrated “The Little Prince,” “Moana” was the best 2016 animated film for me. In an era dominated by remakes, sequels, and fairy tale reboots, it was refreshing to see an original female centric Disney animated film that explored a different culture. Obviously, “Moana” contains many tropes from past Disney and adventure films, but so what? What matters most here is that “Moana” boasts a positive, poignant and layered story about destiny, exploration, growth, redemption, fear and finding yourself. The movie has a lot to say in a short amount of time and that is all you can really ask of it.
Of course, one of the other reasons “Moana” has garnered so much attention is the soundtrack. Between Mark Mancina’s music and the catchy tunes by Opetaia Foa’I and the beloved Lin-Manuel Miranda (of “Hamilton” fame), this soundtrack is easily one of Disney’s best of recent years along with “Frozen.” I dare you not to get “You’re Welcome” stuck in your head.
The voice acting on display here is also quite noteworthy. Auli’I Cravalho (who portrays Moana) certainly has a bright future ahead of her as evidenced by her performance in this film and at the Oscars. Dwayne Johnson may be everywhere you look these days, but there’s no denying that he is talented entertainer. He simply steals the show as Maui. Who knew he could sing too? Having long been a fan of the underutilized Temuera Morrison, I was very happy to see him in this as Moana’s father Tui. Get that man more roles! Finally, Jermaine Clement shines as the giant crab Tamatoa who also happens to have his own musical number.
Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? Between the sparkling ocean and the lifelike sand, the vibrant colors look positively breathtaking in hi-def. A perfect transfer.
Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? It should come as no surprise that this 7.1 track is lively. The music, voice acting, sound f/x and so forth are brimming with life.
* DVD copy and Digital copy.
* A music video for Alessia Cara’s rendition of “How Far I’ll Go.”
* Disney trailers.
* “Gone Fishing”- A goofy animated “Moana” mini-movie in which Maui goes fishing.
* “Inner Workings”- A animated short film about a man looking to have fun in his life. A brief intro by the filmmakers is also included. While certainly reminiscent of “Inside Out,” it is still a charming short.
* “Voice Of The Islands”- The filmmakers and crew members talk about traveling to Pacific Island countries, what they learned and saw, and the island cultures and environments. An enlightening extra to be sure.
* “Things You Didn’t Know About..”- A 2 part extra in which you learn factoids about 7 cast and crew members.
* “Island Fashion”- A featurette on the animated costume design work in the film.
* “The Elements Of…”- A 4 part extra that covers the animation work on Mini-Maui, Water, Lava, and Hair.
* “They Know The Way: Making The Music Of Moana”- A behind-the-scenes featurette on the collaborative effort that went into making the score and songs.
* A deleted song (“Warrior Face”) with an intro by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
* 7 deleted scenes with optional intros by directors John Musker and Ron Clements.
*”Fishing For Eater Eggs”- A look at the Disney easter eggs featured in “Moana.”
* “How Far I’ll Go Around The World”- The song “How Far I’ll Go” sung in different languages.
* A fun commentary by directors John Musker and Ron Clements. This track is loaded with behind-the-scenes info, facts, easter eggs point outs, and more.
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