In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the ocean’s call to seek out the demigod and set things right, freeing her people from their self-imposed isolation, and the troubles that are becoming more prevalent in their island.
Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho), the chief’s daughter, is young and is being groomed to one day take over her father’s important position; charged with making the critical decisions that could see crops fail, fishing stock dwindle, and the island’s people go hungry.
Disregarding her father’s advice, orders and wishes, Moana sails past the reef, which no-one has crossed for many years, to seek out the demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson – San Andreas, Furious 7) and have him return the Heart of Te Fiti from whence he removed it so long ago.
In the typical style of Disney, the main story is an intelligent one, with a lesson at the end. While devoid of any major plot twists, it is sure to appeal to both young and old. And what would such an animated film be without a few characters sent to provide some cuteness or comic relief. We have Gramma Tala (Rachel House), the chief’s mother, who may seem a little crazy, but always has a few wise-words to impart to the young Moana as she surges forward on her quest. Maui himself is worth a few laughs, but it is his tattoos who upstage him, stealing his thunder with their humour and to-the-point retorts.
So as not to disappoint, and veer too far away from tradition, there are a few musical numbers, and what is bound to be the next song that audiences will have stuck in their collective heads for the foreseeable future, including a number by local South African Lira performing “How Far I’ll Go”.
Moana is a delight. it’s funny, with a great story, wholesome characters and toe-tapping musical numbers. It is sure to leave audiences delighted and exuding joy by the time the end credits roll.
Moana opens 2 December 2016 in South African cinemas. Don’t miss it.