Movie Review: Moana (2016)

Synopsis: The daughter of a Polynesian chieftain travels the ocean in search of the demigod Maui to force him to return the mystical stone he stole from the goddess Te Fiti and stop the darkness that is starting to invade her island.

Who's in it? The animated movie uses voices from Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk, Rachel House and Temuera Morrison.

Review: I took off from work yesterday afternoon so I could get the lawn mowed. Since I had some extra time in the evening as a result, we ended up having a family movie night and picked this film because it was on Netflix.

I've seen previews of this movie but, other than some of the music (we heard one of the songs during my daughters' recent ice shows), didn't know much about it and, as a result of that, wasn't really sure what to expect when we started watching it. As it turns out, it was a pretty awesome movie.

One thing I found I really loved about this movie was the uniqueness it offered when compared to many of the other films we've watched. This is both because of the overall story (from a culture that isn't really discussed all that often) and the fun characters.

The title character, Moana (Cravalho) was very memorable for me because, in many ways, she reminded me a lot of my own daughters (especially the way her hair kept flying into her face) with the way she managed to be stubborn and insist on doing things for herself even when she was in over her head.

I also thought the demigod Maui (Johnson) was fantastic. I loved how the filmmakers managed to slip in Johnson's trademark raised eyebrow as well as some other movements to make sure we knew it was him providing the voice. I also liked how the character got much more of a backstory than I was expecting to hear (including a bit about his human childhood), something that made his personality make much more sense.

I'm not normally a big fan of animated musicals because, more often than not, the songs are more of a nuisance than anything. However, the music in this movie was very catchy. Let's put it this way, if my daughters were to insist on listening to the soundtrack to this movie while on a long road trip, I wouldn't complain.

Final Opinion: I had some doubts when we started watching this. But, it turned out to be a fun movie with an interesting story, good music and a good mix of action and comedy. It's one I would recommend as a result.

My Grade: A


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