Moana is a 2016 New Zealand-American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, and co-directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. The film features music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina. Featuring the voices of Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger and Alan Tudyk, the film tells the story of Moana, the strong-willed daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe, who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess. When a blight strikes her island, Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod, in the hope of saving her people.
Moana is a cute toddler when we see that she is drawn to the ocean as she is collecting seashells. As the movie explains, in the beginning, there was only ocean. Then Te Fiti, an island goddess, emerged. Te Fiti’s heart, a small pounamu stone, possessed the power to create life. It was stolen by the demigod Maui, who was planning to give it to humanity as a gift. But the lava demon Te K? confronted him, causing the heart to become lost in the ocean along with Maui’s magical fishhook. Moana’s destiny is to retrieve the heart, find Maui and confront Te Ka, bringing the heart back to Te Fiti. Her overprotective father, chief on the small Polynesian island of Motunui, forbids her and his people from venturing out beyond the reef. Chief Tui, insists the island provides everything the villagers might need, but when fish become scarce, coconuts begin to spoil, and the island’s vegetation begins to die, Moana proposes going beyond the reef to find more fish. Tui angrily rejects her request, as sailing beyond the reef is forbidden. Moana’s mother Sina confesses Tui fears the ocean because he lost his best friend when he attempted to sail beyond the reef.
Tui’s mother, Tala, who encourages her granddaughter despite a failed attempt at sailing, takes her to a secret closed cave where Moana learns off the island’s ancestors who were seafaring voyagers. Tala gives Moana the heart of Te Fiti, and soon falls ill while Tui and Moana are having an argument. With her dying breath Tala tells Moana to go and so reluctantly the young teen takes one of the sailing canoes and sets off to find Maui, with her pet rooster Heihei, who has accidentally stowed away on the sailboat. Moana follows a constellation that looks like Maui’s fishhook, but a huge wave caused by a typhoon flips her sailboat and knocks her unconscious. She wakes up the next morning on a small island inhabited by Maui, who distracts Moana by boasting of his exploits, traps her in a cave and steals her sailboat. After escaping the cave, Moana tries to convince Maui to return the heart, but Maui refuses, fearing other dark creatures will be attracted to its power. They must soon fight of pygmy pirates Maui agrees to help bring the heart back to Te Fiti, but in order to do so, he needs his hook, which is hidden in the Realm of Monsters and held by a giant coconut crab named Tamatoa.
They trick the giant crab and retrieve the hook Maui teaches Moana how to sail and to navigate by the stars and, with Moana’s encouragement, reacquaints himself with the transformational powers of his magical hook. Moana learns that Maui was a human raised by gods after being abandoned by his parents. at Te Fiti, where Te K? appears and tries to destroy them. Maui tries to fight back, but Te K? is too strong and he tells Moana to turn back. She ignores him, believing that they can use Te K?’s aversion to water to their advantage, and Te K? severely damages Maui’s hook and repels their boat out to sea. Maui leaves Moana stranded, fearing that going back to fight Te K? will permanently destroy his hook. He tells her that the ocean chose the wrong person to save her people. Moana is distraught and she begs the ocean to take the heart and find another person. Tala’s spirit appears to her and encourages Moana to find her true self.
Moana gets the heart back and returns to Te Fiti, and gets past Te K? to return the heart. Maui, having had a change of heart, returns to distract Te K?, though his hook is destroyed in the battle. Moana, reaching the top of the mountain, realizes that the island is gone and that Te K? is actually Te Fiti without her heart. Moana asks the ocean to clear a path so Te K? can approach her. Moana restores her heart, and Te Fiti returns. In gratitude, Te Fiti gifts Moana a new canoe and Maui a new hook before slumbering at peace. Maui and Moana bid each other a fond farewell. Moana returns to her island and later sets sail with the rest of the villagers in search of new islands as Maui accompanies them in his hawk form.
Fun to watch and throughly enjoyable. I have never been to an animation movie in a theatre before and certainly did not like the 3D but it was a good film to watch and the songs were fun. 8 outta 10!