Moana Film Review
I was busy working on getting the website launched when Monona was released back in November, so I’ll be reviewing the film as well as all of the Blu-Ray extras here in this Moana Film and DVD review.
Moana is the tale of a Polynesian Princess that must journey to save her island. It continues Disney’s string of strong and powerful female characters, such as Anna and Elsa from Frozen and Rapunzel from Tangled.
Like Tangled and Frozen, Moana is also a musical, featuring the songs of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia Foa’i. The music in this film mostly fantastic. The songs move the story along, and all have great rhythm and lyrics. The song “How Far I’ll Go, ” Moana’s “I want” song (a type of song in many Disney Princess movies), was nominated for an Academy Award. Additionally, Opetaia music brings some South Pacific authenticity to the film. The only song I did not care for was “Shiny.” Stylistically, it did not seem to fit with the rest of the songs from the film, and it didn’t do much to advance the story. This song and the character that sings it, Tamatoa, could have been removed for the film to flow a little better.
The animation in this film is some of the best I’ve ever seen as Disney seems to keep raising the bar on each film. The special effects and lighting contribute so much to the look and feel of the film, while still seeming simplistic. It’s one of those things that when it works, you don’t realize that it’s there.
The film does a good job balancing action scenes with comedy and more emotional senses to form a complete story. Some of this balance comes from the score of Mark Mancina, which sets the tone for each scene. However, much of it is due to the voice acting of Dwayne Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho and the animators that brought so much emotion to the characters.
The video and audio of this Blu-Ray release are top-notch, and I wouldn’t expect anything less. It’s available in the Blu-Ray/DVD Combo, and there’s also a 3D Combo available too. The audio comes in 7.1 Surround Sound, and it sounds fantastic.
There are some great extras on this Blu-Ray that make it worth purchasing rather than just waiting for Moana to become available on Netflix.
Director Commentary with John Musker and Ron Clements – I can’t say enough about the Director Commentary for Moana. They do an excellent job of giving the viewer a real appreciation for what goes into making an animated movie and some of the choices they had to make throughout the process of creating the film. They give many shout outs to the fantastic artists that worked on the film. They also point out some of the Easter Eggs in the movie. There’s no way that I can recap everything they covered, but one of the big takeaways was how influential John Lasseter was in so many critical moments in laying out the plot at the beginning of the film.
Voice of the Islands – This is the main behind the scenes feature on the Blu-Ray. It details the research trips that the filmmakers went on to the South Pacific Islands between 2011 and 2016 and the Oceanic Story Trust of Polynesian experts they formed to advise on the film. I’d previously heard of the level of research that put into this film, but this bonus feature shows you the level of authenticity they strived to achieve.
The Blu-Ray also includes a couple of short films: Maui Mini Movie: Gone Fishing and Inner Workings. The Maui Mini Movie is short at less than three minutes, so it doesn’t feel fully developed, but as a DVD extra, it’s okay. Inner Workings is the funny short film shown before Moana during the theatrical release.
There are also some deleted scenes and behind the scenes videos about the film and its music. Finally, there’s a feature for the fans of Easter Eggs which points out many of them in the film
We hope you hope you enjoyed this Moana film and DVD review, and it will help you in your decision to purchase the DVD or the Blu-ray.